Letters | Dec 24, 2001
  • Men and Matters of the Alma Mater
    Dec 24, 2001

    My daughter studies in Mother’s International and I always knew there was something special about this school. Your cover story Bearers of the Standards (December 10) put into words what we feel. Whether it’s the joy on the children’s faces, the happy sounds of a bustling, vibrant school, the politeness of its teachers and unobtrusive methods of feedback at ptms or just the serene atmosphere of the sprawling Aurobindo Ashram where it’s situated, Mother’s is different.
    Vanita Naval, Gurgaon

    Good job. Rating public utilities is a good idea. This promotes healthy competition among them.
    A.K. Gangwar, on e-mail

    Ten best B-Schools, 10 best restaurants, now 10 best schools.... If you continue this way I’m afraid you may not be around in the best 10 magazines.
    P.R. Venkateswaran, on e-mail

    I greatly enjoyed reading your cover story. Its most significant part was Soma Wadhwa’s feature, Flawed Cause, since it highlighted the disparity in our education system. So even though I was elated that my alma mater Doon made it to the top of the boarding schools, the fact that 110 million children "continue to languish outside the classroom" put things in perspective. I think that institutions that find themselves feted in this issue should strive towards instilling the notion of "social responsibility" among their pupils. It will help create a class of responsible citizens aware of the value of their own education and realising the need for effecting a change in the lives of others.
    Rishabh Bhandari, University of Oxford

    What a delight! I am a person of Indian origin, currently enrolled in Teachers College (Faculty of Education) in Buffalo, New York. Having been brought up in the Indian school system, I was especially delighted to read the piece, Filling Unmet Needs. Never once, from K to Grade 10, did I witness any induction of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence theory, and that did make me a narrow thinker. Kudos to you!
    Namrata Dhillon, New York

    The schools you talk about are accessible to not more than 0.1 per cent of Indians, if not half this figure. They are no more than status symbols, out of the reach of the common man.
    Kiran Shenoy, on e-mail

    Now awaiting... Top 10 engineering colleges, office complexes, shopping complexes, cinema halls, psus, FIs, development authorities...
    Surendra Garg, New Delhi

    Sungrace School, in my neighbourhood in Pune, started 11 years ago with just nine kids and today has 900. Run by three unmarried sisters who have given their lives to bringing the best secular upmarket education within their means to children from the lower income group, at just Rs 100 a month. Despite their obvious disadvantages of semi-literate parents and poor socio-economic conditions, my driver’s children are as well-informed as mine, and speak English just as well. These unsung heroines have surely made a difference to the state of the world than any of the schools you’ve listed.
    Saaz Agarwal, Pune

    Your survey of the ‘finest’ schools completely ignores the fact that in most of the "modern and elite public schools" making it to the list of Delhi’s top schools, drugs, alcohol and smoking is common among students; they come to school in flashy cars, sport cellphones and walkmans, reflecting the true academic atmosphere of the school. Having passed out of one of these top Delhi schools just last year and having friends in other schools, I have a fair idea of such goings-on. Moreover, heavy donations and favours are sought in exchange for admissions to these schools, something I read about in this very magazine.
    Azeez Narain, New Delhi

    How was it that all the schools that made it to the top in your survey were essentially elitist? While they must undeniably have the best of teachers and facilities, the fact remains that students studying here are from upper economic echelons. For the average train traveller in Mumbai, it makes little sense as none of the listed schools would ever come within his economic grasp, let alone the sphere of his influence to get his child admitted there.
    Sukrit Vijayakar, Bombay

    In a survey conducted by Business India two years ago chirec Public School was rated as fifth among the top 10 schools of Hyderabad. So, it came as a surprise when chirec was conspicuous by its absence in your list, especially since we measure up admirably to each one of the parameters listed in your methodology. Could you please clarify how we were missed; it may be of some help in containing the disenchantments of our students, their parents and our teachers.
    Ratna D. Reddy, director, chirec

    As a Bombayite, I’m amazed your rankings for the city left out premier institutions like Bombay International (bis) and J.B. Petit. In parameters of infrastructure and sport, Cathedral and Bombay Scottish probably rank higher but as regards faculty, attention to students, co-curricular activities and results, there’s no way JB and bis could not be among the top 10. Not that they believe in or need your rankings, but these were the only two schools from the city to participate in the International Seeds for Peace programme.
    Radhika Gulati, Bombay

    Your survey could perhaps have mentioned the schools run by sail. These are the best schools for science and technology education and have consistently beaten schools from the metros when it comes to competitive exams like the iit-jee, pmt, pet. They also almost always have a cent per cent pass result and do not have the elitist bias some of the metro schools suffer from.
    Pandurang Katti, on e-mail

    I laughed aloud when I read that teaching at Padma Seshadri is a pleasure. These very teachers had to approach the court to get their salaries revised as per the Fifth Pay Commission—and this after the school doubled its fees citing the revised pay scale as the reason. That the same teachers are now being victimised by the management is another story.
    K.S. Balakrishnan, on e-mail

    Your story made me feel even more proud of having been a student of Little Flower High School, Hyderabad. It has encouraged me to now do my school proud.
    Amit Garrepalli, on e-mail

  • Men and Matters of the Alma Mater
    Dec 24, 2001

    I can’t talk of the education imparted at Padma Seshadri but it’s one school that’s hyped like no other. Their application forms are sold (at a premium) for a week and the day after, local dailies publish a photo of the serpentine queue. I had the misfortune of standing in that queue once from 8 am till 2 pm, and getting the form only two hours after that.A couple of weeks later I got a letter saying my child did not pass their qualifying norms (unspecified, of course). The school is famous for the sons of actors and actresses. Wonder if they stand in the same queues?
    Manoj, on e-mail

    Wish Outlook had done a survey of schools in cities other than the metros since one can easily find out about the latter. Your piece on alternative schools was excellent.
    Utpal Shah, on e-mail

    How did you leave Welham Boys out of the list of best residential schools in India?
    Rahul, on e-mail

    It’s amazing that when you should be focusing on the scores of unfortunate children who are deprived of education in this country and the lamentable state of government schools, you conduct a survey of the country’s elitist schools.
    Firoz B.F. Edava, Chennai

    I was surprised to find no mention of the Ramakrishna Mission School among Calcutta’s best, even though it is the finest school of West Bengal and has produced some of the best brains from India.
    Indranil Debnath, Chennai

    A splendid piece of research. A useful guide to parents who wish to admit their kids to the finest schools. Keep up the good work.
    Steven, on e-mail

    How come Nainital schools and especially Sherwood were given a complete miss?
    Arpan K. Dixit, on e-mail

  • The Scots Scotched
    Dec 24, 2001

    Outlook’s hatchet job on Mike Denness (Mutiny and the Bounty, December 3) has a historical precedent. In 1778, Boswell asked Dr Johnson the cause of why "subordination is badly broken down in this age"? Dr Johnson’s reply: "Why, the coming of the Scotch!" Cricket should be left to Yorkshiremen and pantheists.
    Bill Aitken, New Delhi

  • A Barb Too Many
    Dec 24, 2001

    Sagarika Ghose’s piece on Arundhati Roy, Her Red’s Sexy (Polscape, December 10), seemed like a case of sour grapes. Ms Ghose seems more inclined towards mockery rather than any serious criticism.
    Dileep, on e-mail

    Red, Ms Ghose? I thought ‘green’ was the colour of envy. That is exactly what was written all over your bitchy little piece. Now that certainly isn’t sexy.
    Milind Kandlikar, on e-mail

    What is it, Ms Ghose? Does the fact that Roy’s book did better than your own literary attempt have anything to do with your carping? Roy may have made a lot more money but perhaps that has something to do with her literary skills and ability to communicate superbly. Something you can’t boast of.
    Arun Thiruvengadam, on e-mail

    Shouldn’t a response to Arundhati involve some substance? Calling her pretty and hypocritical (by the way anyone apart from a self-sufficient hermit who criticises the market seems to be a hypocrite) is fine, but what’s wrong with her ideas?
    Lulu Kurien, on e-mail

  • Lingo Snobbery
    Dec 24, 2001

    One is appalled to read Harsha Bhogle’s obnoxious comment about the English spoken by the Bengalis. His low taste seems to match his poor knowledge of cricket. He is, however, part of a large tribe, which believes that those in their states speak the Queen’s English, while people from other states speak something unmentionable in the name of English. One can pity such servile mentality when expressed in private, but aired over the mass media, it’s time to tell such people to shut up.
    Anjan Sen, Chennai

  • It’s a Duck, Sir
    Dec 24, 2001

    Apropos his Delhi Diary (December 10), Vinod Mehta, when he comes out of his Ivory Tower, will discover that all ladies in India are addressed as Madams and his reminder regarding its US and European usages only sounds crass and snobbish.
    Prasad V.V., Hyderabad

  • The Perfect Cure
    Dec 24, 2001

    If as per In Sickness and in Health (December 3), we accept that hardly 20 per cent of the population seeks government opd services, we must also accept that it’s their deficiencies which turns people to private clinics. And unless the efficiency improves, raising health investment will be unwise. Indeed, it’s advisable to hand over existing health infrastructure to private agencies and utilise the health budget in ensuring these agencies give proper services to people.
    Dr Wishvas Rane, Pune

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