Education and Schools in Delhi
Most expats prefer to have their children attend one of the international schools in New Delhi or in the surrounding National Capital Region (NCR), as the curricula and environments are familiar to foreign students. There are plenty of these options on offer, along with a healthy selection of private schools that use English teaching language and an Indian or international curriculum.
Delhi and NCR schools are known to be some of the best in the country, so expats may find that the more popular institutions are flooded with applicants, and that admission is, therefore, difficult.
Parents should consider the travel time from home or work to the child's school when making their school choice. Traffic is congested in Delhi and the NCR, and making it from one area to the other can take over an hour, each way. Try and choose a school, for young students in particular, in close proximity to the home, or a home in close proximity to the school.
In Delhi and the NCR, the academic calendar year begins anywhere from April to August; the enrolment period begins around 1 September for some schools, and 1 November for other schools. Internationally mobile families are usually allowed mid-year admission; however, there may be a waiting list and there is no guarantee of acceptance.
Private schools in New Delhi
Delhi has always been the education hub of India, and its private schools have a track record of producing great talent. One major advantage of living in Delhi is that private schools with Indian students are often taught in English.
Integrating expat students into Indian private schools can be a good opportunity for children to bypass the segregation that comes with enrolment in international schools, and instead, to learn about the culture, languages and people of Delhi.
The disadvantages to Indian private schools are the limited number of available seats and the tedious admission process. For most parents, trying to get a seat into a prominent Indian school is a huge struggle, as typically, there will be 1,500 applicants for every 200 seats.
The criteria for admission are also not very transparent. There is no system in place to ensure schools are accountable to uniform admission requirements and, as a result, every year there are allegations of irregularities in the admission process and hints of schools asking for financial donations (bribes). That said, most Indian private schools have a quota for foreign students, so an expat's chances are usually better than a good percent of the locals.
There is often little information available about tuition for private Indian schools, and sometimes fees are only divulged once the registration process is started. Expat parents should note, however, that courses can be rigorous in Indian schools, and expat students are sometimes not as accustomed as Indian children to dealing with the relentless pressure to succeed.
International schools in New Delhi
One of the most pronounced advantages of international schools in New Delhi is that they maintain an expat's respective home country teaching language and curriculum. This provides students who are geographically mobile with seamless continuity in their studies. The top-rated schools are often very difficult to gain admission into, especially in South Delhi, where most of the top schools are located. In the NCR region, which has grown drastically in the past decade, the chances for admission are usually better.
The first preference for most expats is usually the embassy schools. The two most popular are The British School and the American Embassy School, which are located in central Delhi. Alongside these options, though, there are many other good embassy and international schools in Delhi and in its surrounding NCR region.
The range in tuition for international schools in Delhi varies widely, so it is best to visit the individual school websites for this information. Fees can be high, so expat parents lured abroad by an attractive employment package should try and negotiate an education allowance in their contract.
The availability of seats is limited in all schools, so it is best to start the admission process as soon as possible.