charankanya on September 5th, 2008

Before I moved to Pune two years ago, I did a lot of research in trying to find the “best” ICSE school.  I called so many people (many whom I didn’t even know….was referred to by someone who knew them), in order to find the right school for my kids.  Based on all that information, we made a decision to go with the “best” school….(l’m not going to name it).  However, when we finally got here I realised that all the “information” I had got was actually just “opinions”.  There was very little factual information.  As I found out, almost no one had just factual information…..they just had “stories” they had heard, things that they think happened, etc..  Enough to say, that I had to find another school for my kids, and I had to find it fast.  I ended up visiting almost every school there was in Pune at the time (within a certain radius), in order to get the information I wanted.  I met with every Principal (without any previous appointments), and took a tour of the school before making my choice. (I must say that many a receptionist and watchman were surprised by the concept that I wanted to interview the prinicipal and see the school before I decided to choose it.  I guess they are more used to it being the other way around.)

Here are my recommended steps on how to choose the right school for your child:

  • Decide the curriculum/board/affiliation that you want: ICSE, SSC, CBSE, IB, IGCSE (Only if this is important to you, and  you are quite clear on what you want. Otherwise, skip this step for now).
  • Decide what are the requirements you want in a school:  Fees, Infrastructure, Student-Teacher Ratio, Philosophy of teaching, Structure of Homework and Exams, Medical Policies, Bus facilities, Distance from home, etc.  Make a list of these in order of priorities.  Many schools may automatically be ruled out based on your most important priority.
  • Make a list of schools that meet your most important criteria.
  • Call the school, and try to get an appointment to see the facilities as well as to meet with the principal.  Make it very clear that you are not seeking admission, you just want to get information.  Sometimes the principal will not meet with you if they think you are trying to get admission especially if admissions are closed.  If you are not able to get an appointment don’t worry.
  • Visit the schools.  If you haven’t had any luck getting an appointment, don’t give up on the school.  Don’t give up even if you have had a bad telephone experience with them (no one here believes in customer service….but that’s a topic for another day). If you haven’t got an appointment, convince the watchman into letting you in. Once you’re in the gate, convince the receptionist into letting you meet with either the principal or vice-principal or head mistress.  Once again, emphasise that you don’t want admission, just information.

Basically, do your own research.  Don’t listen to what other well-meaning friends/relatives have to say.  Most of them do not have facts, even if their own kids go to that school.  I had met a father who believed his son’s school to have maximum 20 kids to a classroom.  When I visited that school, I counted 50 children in each classroom.  Many other parents told me that a certain well-known school, gave admission only based on “donation”.  I was able to get admission to that school without any donation, instead I had to give a letter stating that I had not asked for any donation.  Yet another parent had a story about “improper touching” and other “bad stuff” that happened at another school….turned out it was some teacher who was concerned with one incident, and was asked to leave more than 15 years ago.  The list goes on….  You really must do your own research.  Good Luck. Feel free to email me or to post any questions you have.

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62 Responses to “Choosing a School”

  1. Hi, we are moving to pune in 2009,my daughter is in 7th right now. we are thinking of getting her admitted in 8th grade cbse board. will it be harder for her to get adjusted in cbse or we should opt for ib school? ib schools are too expensive. another question is here is usa term ends in may but i have to move in march because cbse schools starts in april first week i guess. we are thinking of bg acadamy, gurukul school (not vishwashanti gurukul), dav schools in and around senapati bapat marg or aundh, so which school would be a good choice? can you give me any idea about admission process because we are not able to travel to india before march and is it ok to skip the term here in half here and attend the session there from the begining? I would be grateful if you could give me some information.

    Thanks
    Ashwini Dhule
    USA

  2. Hi Ashwini,
    Whether CBSE will be hard for her to adjust to or not, I do not know. I talked to a few of my friends here in Pune, and the general opinion was that the hardest part would be the language - Hindi. Hindi in CBSE is definitely at a very high level. Also, the general opinion was that CBSE does not give exemption from Hindi to any person of Indian origin, even if she is a US Passport holder. I do not know if this is true, so you might want to find out more about that.

    Whether it’s ok for her to leave the US without completing grade 7: From the point of view of making friends, she should definitely be here at the start of the school year.
    From the point of view of being able to cope with a different style of teaching and examinations, it is better for her to be here from the start of the academic year over here. It would be very difficult for her to catch up with all the curriculum she had missed….while trying to adjust to everything else that will be new for her. (Even if she has visited India every year, it’s very different when you are actually living here).
    From the point of view of admissions: Check with the school here. All schools here require a school leaving certificate and/or a transfer certificate, as well as a certification saying that the student has met all the requirements of (in your case) Grade 7, and is promoted to Grade 8.When I moved, the public school in US my kids went to, were not aware of either of these documents. They were kind enough to give me a letter on school letterhead, with the wordings that were required by the school here. I had to have this letter attested by the Indian Consulate in New York. In order for them to attest it, it had to first be notarized. Next, it needed the County Clerk’s official stamp and seal, certifying that the notary is indeed a notary. (All the red-tape made no sense to me….but I guess red-tape is not supposed to make sense).
    From the point of view of just sheer academics: Find out what part of the curriculum she would miss if she didn’t complete grade 7. Determine whether that curriculum is a crucial pre-requisite to grade 8 level course work. See if you would be able to teach that to her before you get here.

    Ok, now coming to which school would be a good choice. I don’t have any first hand experience with any of these schools. Though I did talk to some people, and the following is their opinion:
    BG Academy: Definitely avoid. The Principal who started this school (in whom many parents belived in) has quit to start another school called Sanskruti. If you choose BGA, you might as well choose just any school.
    DAV Schools: Class size is huge, about 70 kids per class. Not recommended by my friends.
    Gurukul: They have attempted alternative teaching methods in a traditional setting. Has many happy parents. Many kids who have graduated from here are also happy and doing well. Would be the best option from amonst these three. The only drawback is the really long day: 8:30am - 5:30 pm. It’s geared towards working parents.
    Once again, the above info is what some friends have given me. Definitely do your own research.

    There is another very good CBSE school in the Aundh area: The Orchid School. Next academic year they will go up to Grade 7. You might want to consider your daughter repeating a year, and doing her 7th grade again for a couple of reasons:
    1. She can go to Orchid…is definitely an excellent school.
    2. Orchid starts their academic year in June.
    3. While she is adjusting to a new school, new teaching methods, new examination methods, making friends, other adjustments etc.., she would not have to worry too much on the academic front. It might make the transition easier for her.
    Regarding the admission process….each school has their own different procedures. Your best bet would be to contact the school directly either via email or phone. Here are some of their websites:
    BG Academy, DAV Schools, The Orchid School
    Phone number for Gurukul School: +91 20 2553 7421 or +91 20 2553 0951.

    Hope this helps you. Good luck with your decisions….I know it’s very hard. Good luck with your move as well. Please feel free to ask other questions …. will try to help out.

  3. Hi charankanya thanks a lot for your quick reply never expected this.
    I am so happy i could get some information. we are going to call the schools in November/December accordingly we are going to plan our departure. I wanted to know weather the schools have any area or locality restrictions. Obviously we are coming there will try for the admission and then the apartment. so please let me know.
    Another thing is my daughter will be completing her 13 yr before leaving america so getting the admission in 7th grade is out of question, at least the last option. so I will try for 8th grade then will think. My younger daughter is in 1st right now will be going to 2nd in india so i can go for orchid school for her but i will try to put them in same school so that elder can support younger in case of any emergency. What about ur kids are they in higher classs now or primary?
    Let me know their experience if possible.
    sometime i am really worried how they will copeup with all the changes. I am concerned about their safety. They cant judge people and how they are going to adjust in our society. Unwanted teasing touching etc etc. other things are ok . We are not expecting any luxurious leaving. please share your experiences. I am also contacting so many unknown people but to my surprise everybody is ready to help in one or the other way. Thanks.

    What about driving a car in pune did u able to drive ? what are the options if not driving? Is aundh area good with plenty of autorikshaws or city buses? we used to stay in vimannager 8 yrs back. Autowalas were never ready to come to vimannagar from the city area. How is the situation in aundh? Thanks for sharing the valuable informaion with me.
    Please do write. Ashwini

  4. By the way I couldnt find gurukuls website for admission information do you know anything about it?

  5. Hi Ashwini:
    *There are no area or locality restrictions for attending a particular school. Though you would want to consider the travel time.

    *In general, kids (of all ages) tend to adjust a lot quicker than grown-ups. Actually, you may have a harder time adjusting back then your kids. Don’t worry too much about unwanted teasing, etc… children generally are the same anywhere in the world. You will probably have the class bully…..but then again in “good” schools, especially those with small student-teacher ratios, the teachers are able to maintain good discipline. Also, my personal opinion is that children tend to retain their “childhood” longer here than in the US. In the US I feel they tend to “mature” much earlier.

    *Driving in Pune requires a lot of patience. It is absolutely do-able. Other options are getting a driver (highly recommended - takes care of the parking), or using auto-rickshaws. There are also public buses, but I don’t know how good the connections are.

    *Aundh area is very well developed. Lots of restuarants, shops and housing. No problems finding auto-rickshaws.

    * Couldn’t find Gurukul’s website either.

  6. Pretty practical suggestions I would say. I would also add - get a list of “reputed schools” (and throw that before your point three).

    It is in general pretty challenging to get good information about various schools. A bunch of us (parents) who faced similar challenges joined together and formed Zeeksha in order to enable parents to exchange notes and share experiences. One should be able to suggest new schools to add and also write about their experiences and reviews.

    We would appreciate if you can check it out and add your thoughts and experiences (especially schools in Pune).

    Thanks

    -Zeeksha Team

  7. Hi Zeeksha Team, (http://www.zeeksha.com)

    I did check out your website, and it has some really great information on there. Thanks for your suggestion of putting up a list of “reputed” schools. Will definitely do that.

    CK.

  8. Hi Charankanya,

    Thanks for your insightful inputs here. I want to enquire on my daughter’s schooling. She is already in 4th Std (Finals) in one of the good ICSE school in Pune Camp. We plan to shift towards Wakad, Pune and looking for some of the best schools that side irrespective of the board. It would be nice if you could help me.

    regards

  9. Hi Ritu,
    Which school is the “best” school depends a lot on what it is you want in a school. Some of the “good” schools on that side of town are:
    Mercedes Benz International School and The Orchid School. Other schools there are Vidya Valley, DAV International, and BG Academy.
    CK

  10. Hi Charankanya,

    First and foremost thank you for sharing your experience and guidance about the schools in Pune. I have applied to St. Mary’s school for my daughter who will be going to 2nd grade in June. I will highly appreciate if you can share your experience or someone you know of regarding admissions after 1st grade (for eg. the process & timeline). I have two niece going to that school and I agree with you that it is one of the best schools in Pune.

    Thanks for your help in advance.

    Jaya

  11. Hi Jaya,

    Sorry….don’t know of anyone’s experience with the admission process at St. Mary’s after 1st grade. I do hear that it’s very tough to get in. Good luck with your admissions.

    CK.

  12. Santoshi Chavan
    May 11th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Charankanya,

    I am currently staying in Brunei(near singapore). My son will be 5 in December. He is currently in Jr. KG here as here the 1st standard starts only when u are 6 years old. Academic year over here is Jan-Dec. We are planning to get him next year in May. I was thinking of continuing his schooling till next may(i.e. 6 months in Sr. KG). and try for 1st standard admission next year in June either in CBSE or ICSE school. I would be really grateful to you if you can provide some information on this matter. Can i take admission for my son in 1st standard by preparing him here with the sr. KG curriculum? Also which is a better option ICSE of CBSE(I know it sound too general question, but I myself and my husband both have studies SSC syllabus. SO I don’t have any idea about both these). Also which are good schools for each syllabus in and around Ghatkopar?

    Thanks in advance.
    -Santoshi

  13. Hi Charankanya,

    I have done endless reading online on different forums, school websites and other sources and narrowed down the school choice. I plan to visit Pune in Oct to visit the schools that I shortlisted (Orchids, Gurukul at Ashoknagar,…). If you do not mind, could you share the school where your kids go and what is your experience with the school so far?

    Thanks,
    Jay

  14. Hi Charankanya,

    My daughter’s kindergarden we did in usa, and in India did her 1st to 3rd grade in DAV public CBSE school. But we went to Boston for 1yr their she did 4rth grade.unfortunately my mother in law was very sick so we went back to Inida in july after her school over here.I did lot of struggle ,words will be less to express, anyway, but took admission in City international school near sahakar nagar. younger one in kg. Our Green card was in process so husband stayed back with his project commitments.Mother in law recoverd.We received green card , so we travelled to USA in Diwali vacation now took admission in Californias good school. and market condition wise job problems going on but my husband have job now.My concern is now she is in 5gh grade and if we will have to get cityzen ship we will have to wait till her 10th grade to complete here. my younger one is US citizen and we thought that it will be good to have option for older one, for higher education.
    but looking at middle and high school problems(culture) here I am confuse which time will be right decision to go back to India.
    any views,considerable difference,lack, in Indian studies and American studies in middle school.and high school.?
    my both daughers are enjoying school here but I am concern about homework and extra enrichment programme. As she says other childerens in school mostly not bringing homework.and teacher not saying anything to them.here there is no challenge, comptition for her to motivate for studies. please reply me your views.

  15. Hi Santoshi,

    Even in the U.S., most schools require the child to be 6 years old (by the cut off date) to start first grade. The school year in the US typically runs from Sept to June, and the cut-off is generally one or two months into the school year. The point I’m trying to make, is that around the world the general guideline is to have completed 6 years for first grade. A lot of Indian parents do try to push their children into higher grades earlier. However, I believe that only puts unnecessary pressure on the child. 1 year at the age of 5 and 6 years is almost 20% of the child’s life. To be the youngest in the class has definite disadvantages, whereas being the oldest in the class has definite advantages.
    Also, in order to cope with ICSE or CBSE curriculum in 1st grade, your son should be able to read fluently, and be able to write many many paragraphs accurately and speedily. 12 months will make a big difference in his capabilities and abilites. If you don’t mind waiting, I would suggest to wait till he’s 6 1/2 for first grade, and to put him in Sr. Kg. when you arrive here.

    Regarding ICSE v/s CBSE, I suggest you read this article: http://www.survivorsguideindia.....e-vs-cbse/ It is a very personal choice, and it depends a lot on what you want for your chid.

    I don’t know about schools around Ghatkopar, but you can try and check out http://www.zeeksha.com.

    Hope this helps.

    CK.

  16. Hi Surekha,

    I’m not sure what your question is. Are you asking when is a good time to move to India? Or are you asking, whether it’s better to bring up children in India or the U.S.?

    If it’s the first question, then my opinion is the sooner the better. The longer you wait, it’s not fair to your older daughter to uproot her from her friends & life and ask her to make a whole set of new friends. Of course, it would be ok if she too desires to move back to India, but you should take her opinion on that.

    If it’s the second question….hmmm….I don’t have a straight forward answer. It is a huge dilemma, and everyone has their own opinions on it. In fact, it would be a big help to many if all you readers could share/contribute your opinion on this: The Advantages of Raising Children in India v/s The advantages of Raising Children in the U.S.

    Here’s a question for you, Surekha: If you are sure you want to move back to India, why pursue a U.S. Citizenship? You made it to the U.S. without a citizenship, so can your daughter is she so desires when older. Also, if you want a U.S. Citizenship for your daughter, then why move her back to India?

    CK.

  17. Hi Jay,

    Thanks for your comment. It seems like you have done your research quite thoroughly, and are all set to come and see the schools you have shortlisted. That is wonderful, and is definitely the way to go about choosing a school you would be happy with. Many parents and I are quite happy with the school my kids go to, but there are many parents who are not happy with the same school. The best bet is to evaluate each school based on your own criteria, and making an informed decision. Good Luck.

    CK.

  18. Hi CK,

    Do you know why is Orchids on a different academic calendar (starting in June)whereas DPS and BG Academy that are also CBSE schools start the school year in 1st week of April? Aren’t the exams conducted by the same board? I am not sure at this point when Gurukul’s academic year starts. Thanks for your help.

    Jay

  19. Hi Jay,
    DPS has it’s final exams during early March, following which they give the rest of March as holidays. School (and the new academic year) resumes again early April, and continues till early May, after which they break for summer vacation. Summer vacation ends sometime in mid-June. The CBSE board exams are held at the same time in all schools. Why DPS chooses this model, I don’t know. Other schools probably break for summer after finals, and start the new academic year in June.

    Just FYI, DPS has a reputation of not being child-centric. I would strongly suggest you talk to a lot of parents before you choose DPS. Orchids however, is very child-centric.

    CK.

  20. Hi CK,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. Appreciate it!

    Jay

  21. surekha patole / California
    May 23rd, 2009 at 3:28 am

    Hi charankanya,

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
    I was very depressed, and tensed due to many reasons but your few lines of information gave me a booster.
    I am very much concern about girls growing in US culture and education system.
    Reasons I worry about :
    1. Ratio of Indians in one class , and problem is other kids get comfortable with their groups. and most of the time our kid will be left out.
    2. Child gets comments on lunch tiffin (Indian food spices fragrance)?
    3. 5th 6th graders mind well about there dress code and branded clothes .( or they will be called nud)
    4. Hair style, language Pronunciation,color difference matters.
    5. Song,Dance,music,sports, movie, selection and difference in group.
    6. Festivals, different “day’s” Celebration procedure,difference of importance and reasons, compair to Indian traditional ways and reasons.
    7. If you are sudden sick you will have to wait for appointment which will be one week later.. by the time one can get serious, and in emergency,wait for hours and hours for Doctor’s visit,costly dental treatment.
    8. To Provide extra enrichment programmes to kids are highly costly, to balance on one man’s salary.
    9. Kids get more attracted to fashion and style. instead of focusing studies.
    10. Teachers can not force students, teacher does not get respect from other kids some time. Mostly child do not get encouragement for competitions as teacher say’s its up to you. and others do not show much interest due to lack of parents support from home . This environment affects on sincere students too.
    11. On H4 visa can not get job. On L2 visa can work but will have to spend money on courses to get good job.which are very high fees.
    12. Day care’s are costly and virus container.

    Incidence :
    1. In PTA function, there also all other parents make their own group. We tried to talk but that was just formal talk and then again we were left out.As others we did not had fun,sport,TV talk show gossip topics to enjoy but we tried our best.
    2. In California my daughter is only Indian in class. she faces group problem.bad experiance, she tried to make her friends but others do trouble.(lot of incidents) she took long time to adjust.her teacher was good.
    3. My friends went for bally class in school. There in school premises 13 -14 years students were openly doing romance.My friend with kids was waiting outside the restroom but few teen age studen’s went before them inside restroom and didn’t came out for long and after long time they came out screaming and was doing hi 5 to their out side friends. Small kids watching this was shame.

    There may be more things other parents also experiencing.

    Reasons we compair in US are:
    1. Husband has good Job,Salary, carrier,opportunity,development, appreciation and value of hard work.
    2. Kids are small so good and adjustable flexible time to accept changes of place as per software project work.
    3. Can visit international places and wonders of world.
    4. Comfortable immediate reliable social service.(police,Fire fighter,Animal rescue,Hospitals)
    5. Source of Books,Library.
    6. Beautiful, maintained parks,Road,public premises.
    7. Technology ideas. Science practical developments.
    8. volunteer option in many field, to learn awareness of social work’s importance and implement discipline.
    9. I did medical assistants part time job in boston, hard work was appreciated, It was good 5 months experience. but faced problems too.
    10. Freedom of many thing , as no Gender difference for many work responsibilities.with no conditions.

    All parents pl share your smart tips and ideas? how we can make our kids understand about Indian Values which we always care about And Culture which we want our kids should feel proud of.
    I would like to know now for 6th grade onwards How different is study patterns in India compare to US?
    Which is right place for kids to get more exposure to studies. with
    balancing above mentioned problems?

    Reason to think about US citizenship/go back to Inida is :
    Many parents says Higher education is very good in US. and great value and appreciation for hard work, less population no kick- back’s for degree’s.
    Now more % of immigrants from all over shifting to US for better education, and citizenship.
    In my case Now we have opportunity to stay and get citizen ship. For citizen’s education fees are comparatively less.I am not sure how other way it is beneficial.

    My daughter she wants to stay here just because here they have more PE hours and no study stress,practical way of learning,interesting Out door ED programme. (she is uncertain).
    Me and my husband always liked in India as our parents,friends,relatives are there and we have good identity there.we would like to live our senior citizenship there.
    But Just to make our kids way easy from discomfort, struggle,competition,corruption,unsecured,unreliable,kind of problems in India.
    We think atleast when they will be matured they will have option in front of them.

    So we thought that my husband can continue Job in US to keep his GC valid. and then he can apply for citizenship after conditioned years of stay in US. and I can stay in India and continue kids school, take care of grandparents. and can travel in between years to US with kids only in Indian summer vacation.
    We are gathering more information about this situation will work or not. if you know please let us know.
    If you would have same problem what will be your opinion and decision?.

  22. Hi CK,

    Enjoyed reading your blog. We are relocating to Hyd in a week after staying 7 years out of the country. I am mentally preparing myself to face the lack for customer service and work ethics.

    Wanted to know how active the PTO is in the school that your kids go to? Has the school been open to suggestions or is there a lot of red tape? Do they let you volunteer in school? Have you come across any school that has the gifted child program like in the US schools?

    Keep writing.

    ~Mohana

  23. Hi Mohana,
    Thanks for encouraging words.
    The PTO is not very active in my school. However, the school has been very receptive to constructive suggestions. There isn’t a lot of red tape. No, volunteerism is not encouraged by the school at all. The only school that I know of, that one could say has something similar to a gifted program is the Orchid school. However, I’m not too familiar with how their program runs, but I’m pretty sure it is not called a gifted program.
    One of the big differences between schools here and the public schools in the US, is that the schools (that most of us would put our kids in) here are private schools. As a result, they have enough funds. They don’t need volunteers, and actively discourage it, since a lot of parents start interfering in the schools.
    Another outcome of the schools being private schools, is that the role of the PTO becomes very different. The PTO of the public school my kids went to in the US, mainly raised funds, to take kids on field trips and to have other kids activities in the school year. Here, the schools (flush with funds) orgainse their own activities, and do not require parents to organise the parties/field trips. The PTO then becomes more of a “complaint” body, to liasion grievances/suggestions between the parent-body and the school. Some schools encourage this, whereas some schools like to actively discourage such group movements.
    It would be wonderful to see programs for gifted & talented children in the schools here. However, in my opinion the schools invariably start catering to the lowest common denominator. No matter how “modern” a school in its approach, in the end an ICSE/CBSE school has its yearly curriculum to finish…which is fairly vast. In the bargain, the gifted children are invariably overlooked. Sometimes, if you’re lucky your child will have that rare teacher who will encourage your child to go that extra mile.

    Good luck with your move to Hyderabad. Would love to hear from you on how your move went, and how you are coping with your “stages of adjustment”. Any tips on moving that would help others are most welcome.

    CK.

  24. Santoshi Chavan
    May 27th, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Thanks Charankaya. It has definitely changes my point of view regarding the age at 1st standard. Thank you so much for your reply. :)

  25. Surekha,

    The problems you have stated , even though they are all real and the conclusions you have drawn from it, I think, a lot depends on where in US you live.
    I see that you live in california. Not sure which area. But my experience is very different. We live in an area where there are decent number of Indians. In school class room too, one can find 2/3 Asian kids. My kid is still in KG so I won’t be able to advice you on the 6th grade situation. But till now my son is ok. So any asian face in the classroom is not a big thing here for the other American kids. My son mostly eat in school cafeteria , so no issues with school lunch box. And if you are having issues with school lunch boxes, may be you can try send food items liek bread, sandwitch etc. May be among the girls, the things are different.
    Also regarding the homework, a lot depends on the school too. Good schools generally encourage lot of involvement from parents regarding the homework etc. In my kids school, the homework is also graded and they have to complete the homework else they get the “oops sheet” at home after 3 oops sheet I think they are punished. A lot many thigs that you have stated depends on school too.
    You mentioned that you have GC and you also mentioned that with one man’s salary it’s difficult to pursue lot of extra curricular activities. If you can find some par time job , that may help a little bit.
    I do agree with your decision of staying back for the daughter’s citizenship. Now a days the immegration rules are becoming tugher and tougher, so it’s always better to secure the citizenship, who knows what will happen in future! It will always keep the doors open for your elder daughter. and I believe life is not that harsh for a girl in USA. They have lot of opportunities here.Not that India doesn’t have any!
    Even though the US schools stress more on craftwork till the 1st or second grade, from 4/5 th grade onwords , they become more serious on the study front and have lot of homework. I have friends whose kids are now in Highschool and middle school. One is in 2nd year college. From all the their experience, we found the US schooling system very neat! In India lot of stress is given on writting skills, here it’s opposite. They give equal importance to study and extra curricular activities, that makes you a complete student participating in sports,music and study too!
    In high school, you can earn extra creadits!The facilities provided by the schools and colleges to the students are amazing! you can not imagine those in India.

    So I would say you are right on your decision with staying back in US for citizenship reason. Is it possible for your husband to find some job .where there are decent number of Indians or within california you can look for schools which has decent number of asians. The place where I live, we have a website which states all the schools in that area and we can compare the number of whites,blacks and asian students in the school. We can alo compare the school results for the last 5 years. How the overall % of the school rating. When we were looking for the house, we did all the reaserch and based on that found good school and then decided on the area where we want to look for the house.I can say that those efforts were worth it for my son’s sake! don’t you have something like this in california!

  26. Hi Charankanya,

    Can you please provide your positive and negative feedback on the following schools.

    1. DPS
    2. Hutchings high school
    3. Bishops Camp
    4. Bishops Kalyaninagar
    5. Bishops Undri
    6. St. Marys

    We are looking at putting our child in a good CBSE or ICSE school. I’m looking at schools which grooms overally development in child. Academics, sports and extracurricular. Also that school should have had atleast 1 or 2 batches of outgoing 12 std students-preferably cent percent academic results for the board exams.

  27. Hi NJ,

    Positive or Negative feedback depends entirely on the perspective and priorities of the parents. DPS, Mary’s and Bishops definitely have very large class sizes. Don’t know about Hutchings. Mary’s is definitely one of the best schools in Pune for academics. Bishops is very strong with regards to sports.

    If you are trying to choose a school for your child, I would suggest to figure out what is the most important set of criteria for you. Based on this, shortlist your schools (by visiting them and talking to them). There is NO perfect school in Pune. All new schools have some issues or the other, and all established schools are very traditional. All depends on what it is that you’re willing to compromise on.

    You can check out http://www.madhuriesingh.com and http://www.zeeksha.com to read reviews of schools by other parents.

  28. Hi CK,

    Thanks for ur information. I am searching school for my daughter, i want to teach her a proper english, actually my husband is from marathi medium, he wont able to speak proper english, i am from english medium, in my school there was not complasion about language, so everybody was speaking hindi n marathi. Thats y i am searching a school, in which all teachers n students r speaking english. some schools r there but v cant affrod donation n fees of that schools. Will u pls suggest me which schools r nice in pune. And Which Pattern should i select ICSE or CBSE.

  29. We are planning to move to Pune in March. I have two kids both study in US (home schooling) one is in 5th standard and the other is in 4th standard. Our concern what kind of test is given at the time of admission. and Would they be considered to the next standard or the same standard if they get an admission.

  30. HI CK,
    WHICH IS THE BEST ICSE SCHOOL IN PUNE?

  31. hello charankanya,
    my son is in JK Singhania school in THANE.
    we are shifting to pune this april 2010.standard 4
    I am confused about the schools in pune (icse board).
    what about vidyavalley school ?
    please help me to choose the better one for my kid!

  32. HI CHARANKANYA;

    MY daughter is in now hk;so we shifting to banglore this may 2010 she is now international school with ib syllabus in p-2 means 2nd standered
    i am totally confused about which syllabus is useful for her icse/cbse
    & most imp thing i totally don’t know kannada language

    so plse help me to choose the better one for my kid!

    plse reply early bz i have not enough time

    thanks to yr help

    pooja.

  33. On IB Schools,
    * IB diploma does not have direct recognition in India (and many other countries too) for professional courses.
    * IB exams are scored on grade and then for admissions to universities or for competitive exams etc a percentage need to be calculated and that comes much lower to cbse/state boards.
    * Give me one example of a IB diploma holder getting admission to a engineering or a medical or any other professional degrees.
    * Many schools claim IB accreditation and charge a lot of fees where as only 3 schools from Pune are listed on ibo.org as affiliated schools. So be careful.

    On DPS,
    * Very rude people. Definitely not child-centric. Will not even answer phone if admission process is over or will speak 2 words and keep phone down ‘admission over’ that’s it. Somebody should teach them manners.
    * The principal is not at all accessible. I called at least 10 times to speak to the principal neelam chakrabarty and I could never speak to her. I could speak to her PA (hmmm!!) once only and she said she is busy.
    * DPS in undri does not have good teachers as well as good students enrolled.
    * They are earning crores via bus service…and hence compulsory.

    ICSE board
    Remember ICSE is not an Indian syllabus. It uses the university of cambridge certificate of secondary education.

    Rgds!
    Mr. Kiran

  34. Recently I have promoted to Pune and residing at Pimpri area. In which board shall i take admission for my daughter in III rd standerd? Further, she had completed 2nd standard in convent school from Rahuri, Ahmednagar.
    Please giude me

  35. Hi,

    We are relocating to Pune. We did some research and short listed few of the schools. But few of the schools are asking us to certify the school leaving certificate from US or Indian Embassy. In my opinion, no embassay will sign and put a stamp on orignial leaving certificate to indicate that school is registered or approved school. Do you have any knowledge from where i can certify the leaving certificate.
    Thanks
    Hemant

  36. hi

    i am confused about which booard to choose whether i choose igse board or icse for my son he is in srkg

  37. Hi there
    i m mother of 4+girl child and planning to move to usa this august as my husband has been offered a great oppurtunity there,but i m in confusing state like will my child get adjusted there in the enviorment.will she be able to cope up with the studies back in india after 3-4 yres plz help me to get out of the trauma

    regards
    aastha rathi

  38. my son is in mid of 6th standard in Mumbai icsc
    we are shifting our work to baramati and now it will be at two location baramati and mumbai. looking to settledown in pune. i am open with any option for schooling, the only thing that i want is the best. can you please suggest.

  39. Hi Charankanya - We are moving to Kharadi Pune in Feb 2011. My son is 9 years old and needs to be admitted to the 5th grade. I have heard a lot of opinions on international school versus Indian school and this has only confused me. We are planning to stay in India for a long time. I have two questions - what is your opinion on international schools versus regular schools, and which schools would you suggest near Kharadi?
    Also, since we will not be in Pune before February, is this going to create an issue for us in getting admissions?

    Thanks
    Rita

  40. HI
    MY DAUGHTER IS 4YRS 8 MON ON JUNE 1ST NOW I AM IN BIG CONFUSION THAT WHETHER I SHOULD SEND HER TO CBSC BY LOOSING 1YR BECAUSE AS PER CBSC SHE SHOULD BE 4YRS 10 MONTHS SHORT BY 2MONTHS AND ACCORDING TO ICSE 3YRS 6 MONTHS SHE CAN TAKE ADMISSION FOR UKG BUT WHICH IS THE BEST FOR MY KID IS CBSC OR ICSE PLEASE REPLY

    THANKING YOU

    DR GURURAJ MURGOD

  41. Hello CK,

    I read all the postings. Majorly based on yours knowledge in education field, I found all discussions worth to be understood. please keep writing to share the knowledge to seekers. In fact my question will be addressed to people who have some fair idea about schools in Hyderabad. /we are going to shift very soon there (probably another 15 days. my daughter is born in june’2008, now 2 n half yr old. currently going to Playschool at Roots to wings (a very good Kinder-garden, pre-school). Her next move is in Nursery. So, humble request to to you to guide me better and help me in making a worth decision for my daughter’s school in Hyderabad. i’m looking for a school where she can complete her schooling till plus 2.

    Regards,
    Vandana.

  42. Vandana: I’m not at all familiar with Hyderabad schools. Someone recently mentioned a school called “Future Kids” in Hyderabad, and said that they were very happy with the school. That the principal is excellent, and very involved with the kids. (Again: This is an opinion I heard from someone). You might want to check it out. CK.

    Dr. Gururaj: In my opinion, losing a year at this age is no big deal at all. Think back to your school years, and figure out whether it would matter much to you today if you started UKG at age 4 or age 5. ICSE or CBSE: Please read my post on this http://www.survivorsguideindia.....e-vs-cbse/

    Rita: International schools v/s Regular schools - that depends entirely on what YOU as a parent want for your child. Figure out what kind of schooling system you will be happy with, because only then will you be happy with the school you choose. By the time your child finishes 10th standard, he would have attained roughly the same knowledge no matter whether it was an International school or a Regular school.

  43. Hi CK,

    Me and my husband both are IT professionals. We are thinking of taking admission in CBSC board.

    We have heard of Gurukul school which is well reputed day boarding school which is taking all the activities within school itself including their homework, sports & doesn’t allow student to carry their school bags at home.

    Do you have any feedback of that school which will help up in shortlisting process?

    -
    Gauri

  44. Excellent work!! We do live in Pune since past 5 years (never had to choose a school yet) and will agree with most observations/experiences you have narrated in your blogs.

    I am very glad that most parents are becoming aware and more importantly *demanding* for their kid’s education environment. This will definitely improve the levels of service, (’customer service’ experience) and pull-up the school environment even if just 1-2% of parents actually meet-up (read ‘interview’) the Principals, Vice Principals or Head Mistresses. In fact if we as a community are more selective for the right environment, right products, right services for other matters (and not only schools), those services/institutes would improve as well.

    A generic suggestion to readers on the selection process would be:
    1) Discover the options
    2) Evaluate the options - as per your customized rating system developed during the discovery process.
    3) Expect the best and choose the best (If people are looking hard enough for *it*, *it* generally exists; if under a rare occurrence *it* does not, *it* will! - soon enough than you expect - just keep looking hard enough)

  45. Hi,

    Came through your article when pondering for which school should I admit my son to!!

    I stay in Pune.
    I have already taken his admission for Nursery in Podar Jumbo Kids, Aundh.

    However, was thinking of choosing some good CBSE school from Std I onwards.

    Do you have any idea about Podar CBSE school at Chinchwad & City International School at Aundh??

    If yes, kindly let me know.

    Thanks again,
    Gita.

  46. Hi,need to know which board is better for medical career perspective,CBSE or ICSE?

  47. Hi again,

    Sadly I cam across your blog a little too late. Richer than the blog is the discussion on the topic. I think there are several factors that parents need to consider when choosing a school. starting with

    - board of education (CBSE / ICSE / IB etc)
    - medium of education (English / Hindi / Others)
    - timing (day boarding / boarding / day school)
    - facilities (sports / extra curricular / music etc)
    - age of school (new vs old established school)
    - distance from home (close to home vs far off)
    - quality parameters (teacher student ratio, board performance, …)
    These choices are not so obvious to understand and neither easy to assess. I found some of the articles on choosing a good school at http://www.schoolcountry.com/sc/blog very informative and useful.

  48. Hi, CK

    I am from Kolkata, I read your article, this is really great and it will help all the parents like me, my son age is now 3 plus and I have decided to give him admission in 2012 session from lower nursery in a good boy’s school.

    My first choice is best boys school & second is ICSE board & third is CBSE board. Can you suggest me good boy’s school in Kolkata. If school is central or north Kolkata or Salt lake then it will be good for me. Thanks in advance, please send a reply in my mail also.

  49. Hi Sir,

    I stay in Mumbai(Virar) and i have to take admission of my daughter in school. I have two options ICSE Board and CBSE Board,i m confused in which board is better hence request you to please guide me and help me in selecting the board.

    Awaiting for your positive reply.

    Swati

  50. hi,
    am a Nigerian currently residing in Pune. my son is studying in Nigeria but is a bit weak. could you advise on the best IB schools in Pune. thanks

  51. Dear Charankanya

    I have some points, if you can through some lights on the same.

    1) Which is better medium of instruction, English or Mother Tongue? I am from Gujarat and here people are rushing after English Medium schools like anything.

    2) In the present scenario we are stressing upon finding the right school and we do lot of research but don’t you think that ultimately the child’s capacity and potential plays an important role in his/her future ?

    Thanks in advance. [I have seen many articles on rating school, selecting the schools but have never commented because I never felt so, but after reading you points I thought you will be able to justify your point of view without any prejudice. I must congratulate you for writing such a beautiful article]

  52. Hi,

    I have read your some of the post & liked it very much thats why i am asking very basic question.
    Which board should i select for my Daughter, i am basically from mumbai, mostly not going to leave mumbai….as i am in IT sector so cant say what will happened tomm.

    But mainly i would like to know the difference between all the boards… please if you can help me out for the same…

    Thanks
    Bhavesh

  53. I am a punieti (puneri). The blog is fantastic but still specific information can be placed well.
    Is it possible to have a tabular form and mention all the points to choose the school / board / area and so on…….

    Also in this blog percentage wise information provided is for the parents /kids travelling from abroad to India. what about we localities no much information is provided.

    Like for example what about St.Vincent / Symbiosis / Vidya Bhavan / …..

    prashant

  54. Thnx alot for all the inputs.I am in Ahmedabad,Gujarat and My 9 years old son is studying in DPS.However due to large class size and lots of sections for each standard ,the education imparted is not child oriented and even teachers are always stressed out which reflects negatively on the students.So I m deciding to shift my child to RIVERSIDE which is the best school in GUJARAT but has only one drawback and that is it offers IGCSE curriculum from grade 8 to 12.I think that will limit our chances to access the premier colleges in India.SO I am confused what to do.Please help as I have no clue about admissions in good colleges in India(on the basis of merit) after 12th IGCSE

  55. Hi,

    My kid is 3 yrs old and I wish to enroll him for IGCSE or CBSE.I stay in Mumbai.

    Which one is better.The school has got the grant for IGCSE for the 1st time.

    Please suggest.

  56. The Orchid school baner, BIG talks and small work.

    Lousy academics – teachers are rude and non caring.They dont care whether students complete classwork or not…They just want to relax and throw the burden on kids.
    Students development is just for name sake.

    Most of the parents have now started realizing this and are preparing a massive withdrawal in the coming session, once again, like last year.

    The management just wants to earn money from children and pull more and more money.

    The Blue ridge school has got its present strength from Ex Orchid unsatisfied students & parents.

    Dear All please dont be surprised if 2 years ahead The Orchid School will be called as Orchid Hotel..The way they behave with parents and students Im sure they will be forced to shut shop with hardly any students around.

  57. Hi Charankanya,
    We moved to India from US last year. Currently my 9yr old goes to ICSE school in mumbai. We are planning to move to Pune next year. Currently I am in a process of finding out good ICSE schools in either Aundh/Baner area or kalyani nagar. The criteria for good schools would be.
    1) good facilities like big playground, emphasis on extra curricular activities.
    2) students teacher ratio. There are 30 kids in her class in her school now.
    3) teacher/principle should be easily approchable. That’s the best thing about her existing school.
    Your input would be very helpful in deciding the right school for my kid.
    Thanks,
    Sonali

  58. We are planning to shift to Kothrud Pune from Chicago in April 2012. I have two boys aged 6 and 8. They will be going into grade 1 and grade 4. I would like for them to enroll into SSC curriculum.

    We are intersted in Milleniun National School. However we will know of any vacancies only after Jan. 16, 2012. In the meantime, we are looking for other English medium schools in Kothrud area.

    Do you have any feedback on Millenium or any other school in the area? Please inform.

    Thanks

    Anjana

  59. hi,
    i live in pubjab, patiala, i have shortlisted two schools for my child, but i am confused now.
    one schools is with icse , reputed, running since 1948.
    another one is with cbse, with smart class. newly opened, located in outskirts of our town. could u please guide me which would be the best option.
    thanks.

  60. you mentioned several criteria while selecting a school such as Fees, Infrastructure, Student-Teacher Ratio, Philosophy of teaching, Structure of Homework and Exams, Medical Policies, Bus facilities, Distance from home, etc.

    I wanted to know your logic behind omitting academic performance and performance of students/alumni in leading a successful life as criteria. Dont’ you think these are important too ?

  61. Hi Charankanya
    I really appreciate your analysis and help provided to the parents !!! Information provided by you is with facts and having profession touch

    Good Work !!!

    I have my sweet baby girl in Sr.Kg in Spring dale Singhgad road with CBCS Pattern this year.Till Jr.Kg she was in another english Medium school .

    I found at this age she bored with school,homework along with teachers attention and attitude.One class have 60 students along with 1 or 2 class teachers.

    I found in last 4 month she lost her cheerfulness/playfulness along with confidence.She come home along with lots of homework and engaged a remaining time in that only rather to play .

    I wish to change to school their should not be any home work after school timing.

    Please help me to choose right school with right curriculum to stay my kid healthy and playful.

    Regards
    Ravi

  62. people,
    you should see this ICSE school
    its one of the few schools in India that offer alternative education,
    it is based on the teachings of jiddu Krishnamurty
    I am an allumini from here
    http://www.sahyadrischool.org

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  1. How To Choose Between ICSE And CBSE Curriculums | Survivor's Guide to India

    [...] I would recommend to focus more on the school than on the curriculum.  (Read my post: Choosing A School).  At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what curriculum your child studies in.  [...]

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