Thursday, Dec 09, 2021
Outlook.com
cover story

Riding The Riverdale High

From sprawling luxuries to crummy edu-shops, schools are becoming big business, and spoiling parents for choice

Riding The Riverdale High
Gireesh G.V.
Riding The Riverdale High
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Somewhere along the drab, dusty monotony of the Delhi-Jaipur highway, a milk-and-cream Greco-Roman style building makes a stunningly sudden and absurdly anomalous appearance. The discovery that it's not a luxury motel, but a school—the Starex International School, village Binola, district Gurgaon, Haryana—is even more staggering. Who would send their child to this strangely located "day, week and full boarding" school? Well, in what is its first academic year, Starex already has 167 students, each paying up to Rs 1.9 lakh a year. This, for promised international and cbse affiliations, air-conditioned hostels and transport, tennis, golf and horse-riding facilities, gymnasium, a 20,000-seater cricket stadium, and state-of-the-art all-weather swimming pools. The school has cost its promoter and chairman Mohinder Singh Rs 50 crore, and the astute Germany-based businessman is convinced he will recover it. In fact, he has just taken over five more schools in Delhi: "They'll be feeders to my boarding school, we'll get the numbers. Indian parents have long been waiting for superior schools. It's a demand crying to be met."

Hundreds of education entrepreneurs wholeheartedly agree with Singh. The Great Indian School Bazaar is booming as never before. In a country where demand for good schools has traditionally outstripped supply, and a new generation of upwardly mobile parents want to give their children only the best, businessmen of every hue—realtors, traders, hoteliers, industrialists, nris, franchisee chains—are setting up schools. For, interestingly, though government policy and a landmark 1993 Supreme Court ruling prohibit profiteering in education, schools are permitted to make an "excess of income over expenditure": "excess" that is expected to be used towards further development of the school. In practice, school promoters often charge for consultation, management, catering, special coaching facilities and other such services, and eat up the "excess".

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Bipin Rawat Chopper Crash | A Nation Mourns

Bipin Rawat Chopper Crash | A Nation Mourns

The IAF helicopter which crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, was flying from Sulur Airbase to Wellington with 14 personnel including senior officials on board.

Obituary | CDS General Bipin Rawat - A Saga Of Valour And Excellence

Obituary | CDS General Bipin Rawat - A Saga Of Valour And Excellence

General Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat held the status of a four star general of the Indian Army. He took over as the 27th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on December 17, 2016.

Rohit Sharma Completes Indian Cricket's Limited-Overs Takeover

Rohit Sharma Completes Indian Cricket's Limited-Overs Takeover

The BCCI on Wednesday appointed Rohit Sharma as the captain of India's ODI team ahead of the upcoming tour of South Africa. Rohit was already T20 skipper.

IAF’s Mi-17V5: All About The Helicopter That Crashed Carrying India First CDS Bipin Rawat

IAF’s Mi-17V5: All About The Helicopter That Crashed Carrying India First CDS Bipin Rawat

IAF’s Mi-17V5 helicopter is one of the most advanced military aircrafts equipped with advanced technology to help it to traverse adverse climatic and war situations.