"We encourage all our students to believe they are stakeholders in the school. They are groomed to participate in the business of life working in a community," says headmaster John Mason. It’s not surprising therefore to find a student waking up a housemaster for a midnight snack.
Handling so many adolescent boys is a challenging proposition and the housemasters, matrons and the tutors double up as guides, focusing on the various facets of personal development. Moreover, a discreet counselling service also delves into personal or inter-personal dynamics of living in residence.
The personal interaction—be it in the classroom or in the dinning room or even on the cricket field—nurtures the student-teacher relationship. Every class has a maximum of 24 students which makes it easier for the teacher to personally monitor individuals. "We prepare hand-written notes on each of the boys and invite parental feedback... It’s like an extended family," says deputy headmaster Jayant Lal.
It’s only after Class 6 that a child can get admission to Doon after a national-level written test and interview. Failing which you get a chance to sit for an exam again at Class 7 level. Annual fees amount to a little over Rs 1 lakh. The school’s management also spends Rs 35 lakh annually on need-based scholarships from a Rs 4-crore corpus to make it accessible to all and is now also keen to look beyond scholastics and admit budding talents of the performing arts.
It has been a long endeavour to produce a youthful corps d’elite—from Rajiv Gandhi, Karan Singh, Vikram Seth, Arun Bharatram to Suman Dubey, Prannoy Roy and Roshan Seth. Doon is now chalking out a blueprint for the future with its most ambitious aim: to carve a place among the 10 best schools of the world.