The Indian fascination with foreign education is apparently not limited to pursuing higher studies abroad; it has prompted a large number of schools that brand themselves ‘international’ to crop up in various parts of the city, promising curricula that are not score-intensive, allow for freedom to choose a combination of subjects and a focus on the overall developments of students.
A high number of upwardly-mobile and deep-pocketed families, who have made Bengaluru home, are opting to send their children to these international schools, many of which have fees that run into lakhs of rupees per annum.
Only on Tuesday, a 460-year-old school from Britain announced that Bengaluru was their pick to start an offshore campus. Predictably, the city’s south-east, which already houses a large number of international schools, will house the new school as well.Growing popularity
But what is driving the growing preference for international schools? Aloysius D’Mello, Principal, Greenwood High International School said that the popularity of international schools was being seen across the country. “International education is becoming more popular in India, especially in Bengaluru, owing to the influx of non-resident Indians and expats who prefer an international enquiry-based curriculum that is in sync with their mindsets. Most international schools are situated on the outskirts because their curricula promote education both of the mind and body which necessitates large outdoor facilities,” he said.Shifting boards
There have also been instances of students studying under central syllabi such as the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) shifting to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
Pratap Kumar (name changed), an employee with an IT firm, is among those who decided to shift his son in the eighth grade from a well-known CBSE school to an international school near Whitefield.
“My son was doing well in his studies but not enjoying his education. He expressed an interest in concentrating on mathematics and history, while also wishing to study music. The Indian education system does not offer the opportunity to make those kinds of choices. So we shifted him to an international school,” he said. His son is now in grade 10 and is likely to complete an IB Diploma before applying abroad for further studies.
The difference in cost as a result of the transition was huge – over six times, in Mr. Kumar’s words. “We pay around Rs. 6 lakh per year. With or without boarding doesn’t make a big difference. There are additional costs too. Yes, the difference is big. But unlike our parents, we can afford this for our children today,” he said.