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Private Schools for Expats in India

Submitted: September 2013

Private schools in India are reputed for the quality holistic education, and it is the common perception of many that children make better educational progress in private schools. Private schools are known to offer small class sizes, proper infrastructure and facilities and the use of modern teaching methods. Simply put, private schools on a whole tend to be better than most state-run schools; however, most charge high fees making them accessible only to more affluent families. In India, there has been a recent rise in the number of low-cost private schools in rural and urban areas to help counter this problem for lower income families.

Essentially, there are three types of private school options available to you in India at the primary, middle and secondary levels, these are:

  • Privately aided schools – these schools are privately managed, but have teachers’ salaries and other expenses funded by the government. The government has control over the assigned teaching body rather than the school.
  • Privately unaided recognised – these schools operate entirely on fee-revenues and have no government interference in matters such as teacher recruitment. These must meet certain conditions outlined by the government, such as owning a building to be given their recognition status.
  • Privately unaided unrecognised – these schools also operate on fee-revenues but have failed to meet the conditions required for recognition, or have not applied. You should note that students from these schools are restricted from all state and central examinations and are not included in census data.

Private schools are not managed by the state and as such are not required to follow the National Curriculum, with the exception of those which are government-aided. However, most private schools will prepare students for public examinations based on one of the following curricula with instructions delivered in English:

  • Council for Indian School Certificate Examination – this is a private non-governmental board. It conducts two main public examinations which are mostly taken by children in private schools.
  • Central Board of Secondary Education – this is one of the main governing bodies for education in India and serves both public and private schools. They conduct two main examinations, alongside several others for specialised college entry.

Private schools have complete autonomy over who they select, excluding the twenty-five per-cent from lower income families they are required to enrol in accordance with the Right to Education Act. The admission process usually takes place at least six months prior to June, which is the start of the academic year, and is notoriously competitive as some elite schools receive thousands of applications for just over a hundred places. Documents which are commonly required include a formal application form, your child’s birth certificate, and transcript from previous school (if applicable). You should note that schools do not conduct entrance examinations because of central government guidelines. Some schools admit students based on preferential criteria such as having a sibling who is already enrolled. Having the economic resources to pay for private tuition is no guarantee that your child will be accepted as it is not uncommon for schools to select based on other criteria.

Additionally, tuition fees range from a monthly payment of Rs 1,500 to Rs 4,000 for most private schools located in the city, while admission fees range from between Rs 25,000 to over Rs 100,000. In addition to these fees, there may also be additional expenses such as uniforms, books and transport.

Though private schools are high-esteemed, school environments are incredibly competitive as children are pushed to perform by their parents and society. Academics, especially mathematics and sciences are emphasized, with rote learning and many examinations being standardised. Some international students are often not used to these pressures and might find these schools challenging resulting in feelings of insecurity or frustration. You should be mindful to your child’s emotional development as you transition him/her to Indian schooling. However, many have succeeded in private schools in India and also benefit from the diverse multicultural environment.

For a comprehensive list of private schools, please click here.

 

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