Education and Schools in India
It comes as no surprise that a strong emphasis on education in India is one of the driving forces behind its emerging economy. Indian schools constantly challenge their students to do better – but expats will find that this doesn't necessarily apply to the suffering public school system.
Most people who can afford it send their children to private or international schools, but choosing a school that's right for their children is another decision altogether. The curricula, learning environments and teaching philosophies at these institutions vary widely, and expat parents will need to select a school that aligns with their budget and expectations.
That said, it's best to secure a place as early as possible, and expats moving for business should try and get help from their employer. The admissions process is extremely competitive and waiting lists at popular schools can be extremely long.
Public schools in India
Public schools in India won't meet most expats' standards. Class sizes exceed international norms; facilities may be mediocre at best; and administrative and budgetary issues are far too common.
Some public schools in India teach in English but many don't, which creates a language barrier that expat children struggle to overcome.
Private schools in India
Indian private schools have a good reputation but the emphasis on results and rote learning can be challenging for expat students.
Students are incredibly competitive and are pushed to perform by their families, and society in general. Children start taking exams as early as pre-school and the stringent series of tests doesn't let up until graduation.
International students are often unaccustomed to this pressure and, as a result, many feel frustrated and insecure. That said, many students rise to the occasion and benefit greatly from learning in a multicultural environment. It is also a great option for expats who plan on remaining in India in the long-term and who want their children to have a more integrated experience with the opportunity to mix with local children while receiving a high standard of education.
International schools in India
International schools are ideal for expats who want their children to continue with their home-country curriculum. They also maintain their home country's primary teaching language and tend to employ familiar methods of instruction.
American and British international schools are well-represented across India and a number of schools representing other countries have opened in larger cities.
Expats should note, however, that international schools are among the most expensive. So if hired to work in India on a lucrative employment package expats should ensure that a sizeable allowance is included to accommodate for school fees.