How to choose the school for kids in Bangalore after returning from USA
In this blog, I will talk about the school we chose for our kids when we returned from USA to India. I will talk about St Patricks Academy were we are sending our kids and also mention few other good schools in Bangalore.
A lot of Indians return from USA and other countries to India every year. One of the hot destinations in India for the NRIs is Bangalore (Bengaluru). Like many other returning NRIs, we chose Bangalore as our short term destination for few reasons, which I will discuss in another post. One of the most important reasons we chose Bangalore was Kids Education.
Bangalore has a lot of good schools. Yes I mean "a lot". I don't think any other city in India has this many choices for school education. If you take a short walk in the Sarjapur Road area of Bangalore, you will see hundreds of yellow color schools buses everywhere. Almost all schools in Bangalore start before 8:30am before the crowd going for work hit the roads.
You need to consider several factors before deciding which school to send your kids. Some of the deciding factors are:
1. Your work location
Bangalore is a very crowded place. On an average, it will take 8 to 10 minutes to travel 1 km during the peak hours. Until the Bangalore Metro ("Namma Metro") becomes a reality and all flyover construction is over, this situation is not expected to change.
So, first find your work place. Then look for a school within 10 km from the work place (consider the distance from your home as well).
If you don't have a job yet, then it is a good idea to look for schools in Sarjapur Road area. You can find lot of apartments in that area and there are lot of good schools there. The best attraction for Sarjapur Road is, it is easy to reach both Electronic City or White Field from there. Both places are less than 10km. By living in Sarjapur Road, you can commute to White Field or Electronic City for job and send kids to any good schools in Sarjapur Road.
2. Location of your residence
If you own a house and plan to live there, then you should choose a school near your home. Even though the school buses can pickup and drop the kids from anywhere, it is not a good idea to choose a school more than 15km from your house.
3. Decide the syllabus
Each of the schools follow one of the following syllabus:
The above list is ordered based on my preference. I prefer CBSE syllabus for NRIs because they are relatively easier compared to ICSE. Kids studied in countries like USA will have a tough time following ICSE syllabus.
ICSE is considered to be a good option for talented students. There is a lot to study and they do give a lot of home work. The work load for kids depends a lot on the school itself, but overall, ICSE is considered to be tough syllabus.
State Syllabus is a good choice, but unfortunately, all private schools will choose one of the other syllabuses. In general, only government schools and some old schools in Bangalore follow State Syllabus.
International Syllabus is very light and resembles a lot like the education system in countries like USA and UK. Obviously, this was not a choice for us because we did not bring our kids from USA to India to give US education. We wanted them to learn like Indians and wanted them to be competitive with the rest of the Indians when they grow up.
Kids following international syllabus will have a tough time appearing competitive exams when they grow up. This is a choice for you only if you are in India for a while and plan to return abroad in future. Moreover, schools with International Syllabus are targeting the foreigners and NRIs only. So, obviously they offer a lot more comfort for kids and they charge a heavy fees accordingly.
We chose an ICSE school for our kids primarily because eh school we chose was an ICSE school. If we had a choice, we would have gone for a CBSE school, only to reduce the work load for kids.
4. Fees structure of schools in Bangalore
For most people, fees structure of the schools is a deciding factor in choosing the school. The Fees in most schools in Bangalore varies between Rs 25,000 to Rs 10 lacs per year. A reasonably good school in Bangalore would charge a Fees of Rs 40,000+ per year along with several other fees which can be anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 per year.
Does higher fees mean higher quality of education
In my opinion, annual fees of Rs 1 lac or less is reasonable, depending on the infrastructure and facilities offered by the school. If the school charge higher fees, in general it means they offer much more comfort to the kids and not a better education. The extra comfort offered by the schools could include:
- Air conditioned school bus
- Air conditioned class rooms
- Indoor playgrounds
- Swimming pools
- Chairs with cushion in the class rooms
But think your selves - do the kids need all of them? If they get so much comfort in the schools, how are they going to survive in India? None of the colleges in India offer such comfort and so are the work places in India. So how would the kids survive when the grow up?
If you belong to the ELITE class, one of the advantages you would get from such schools is, your kids will get to deal with kids from similar social status.
Does low fees means low quality education in Bangalore?
One of the misunderstandings I had when we started looking for schools in Bangalore was, low fees means low quality of school. So, we started looking for schools with the fees between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lac per year. We short listed a lot of schools. Most of those schools have a donation of Rs 1 lac to Rs 2 lacs.
During our search for the best schools in Bangalore, we learnt an important lesson. Low Fees do not necessarily mean Low quality. There are several non profit schools in Bangalore which charge a very low fees but offer high standards of education.
We found several good schools including:
1. Sophia school
2. Bishop Cotton school
They don't have a very high fees structure, but offer excellent value based education. However, it was almost impossible to get admission in those schools when it comes to joining the classes after LKG. Usually, no kids will leave those schools, so there will be no vacancies for classes after LKG.
St Patrick's Academy, Bangalore
At some point in time, we switched our attention to value based education, preferably Christian management schools. Do you know where ended up finally? St Patricks Academy, Bangalore which is an excellent school combining the benefits of
- Very reasonable fees
- Value based education
- Christian education (valuable for us, but may not be for all)
- Strict discipline
- No extra comfort or cushions for kids
- No air conditioned school bus and class rooms
- Excellent infrastructure
- Attention to personal hygiene of kids
- Care for character formation
2 of my kids are now going to St Patrick's Academy, Bangalore. I will write a detailed review of St Patricks Academy in another post soon.
Hi,I could say your survery will surely help many young parents who are looking for Schools.But can you even suggest some schools on Mysore road bcoz their is Global village there.But no good schools.
Some suggestions please.