Snehlata at EBD Since 1971

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Schools of Doon

Sandeep Dutt's compilation, Guide to Good Schools of India*, now in its seventh edition, is a useful handbook. It is useful, of course, to parents, at whom it is primarily directed. Education-and when I say education in this context, I mean private education-is booming in India. Drive through any small to big town or city in India, and you will see evidence of the boom. From paper leaflets to huge billboards, the advertising of new schools is relentless. Some people are offended by this. I must admit to a degree of discomfort at the way that we are assailed by the arrival of a new school. Yet, what is undeniable and heartening is that this is evidence of the boom in education-and in the long run that can only be good. More schools mean more opportunities and choices for India's children and parents.

How, though, should parents choose amongst the array of schools available? Should they opt for an old, established school? Should they instead try out a new, innovative school? Is a day school or a residential school better for their child and their family? What kind of fees should they expect to pay for what kind of facilities? Is a co-educational school suited to them or a single-sex school? This book does not answer all these important and challenging questions, but it does lead us towards some answers by giving us data on a whole range of residential schools.

Dutt's Guide to Good Schools of India is not just a useful handbook for parents. It is also a good starting point for education professionals-teachers, principals, school management, and officials and other policy makers-and the general public that might be interested in such matters. I looked through the pages of the volume with a fair degree of curiosity: who were these other good (residential) schools of India apart from the ones that quickly come to mind? What do the old and new schools offer? How much are we all the same, and how much do we differ? Dutt has not written a Ph.D. thesis on these issues; but he has given education professionals a tantalising peak into the fast-changing world of residential schools.

We in India are not very good at producing handbooks and simple, informative material for consumers. Sandeep Dutt has pioneered the effort for schools. I hope he continues to provide this service, indeed to improve it with each edition.
Kanti Bajpai
Former Headmaster of The Doon School, Dehra Dun, India

Visit the website for the book

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