Gurgaon is a well-established education hub in the National capital region. It has a plethora of schools offering various curriculums of education. The millennium city being located in the close proximity of the Indira Gandhi International airport New Delhi and housing multiple corporations is attracting a lot of foreign nationals and NRIs. Today, with the number of foreign nationals and non-resident Indians wanting to move in to India the education for their children is of prime concern. Let us have a look at a bit of history to how all this started and then understand the education scene for foreign national and NRI kids coming in to Gurgaon.
Gurgaon being a corporate city witnesses a lot of foreign nationals and expats moving in with their children
It all started off when the two automobile giants Suzuki and Honda set up collaboration plants in and around Gurgaon. With the success of these plants other Multinational corporations came in hordes to set up plants in Gurgaon and multiple industrial belts along the NH8 (National Highway 8 connects Delhi to Jaipur and passes through Gurgaon). Thus, there was an influx of foreign nationals and expatriates from all over the world into Gurgaon. As their work requirements grew to longer time frames of stay they started to move in with their families. Also a number of non-resident Indians or NRIs have started taking interest in the fast growing economy and the business opportunities here in India. Many MNCs offer the NRIs with India postings while there are other NRIs who want to make a comeback.
Gurgaon provides for a diverse choices of education curriculums
Till sometime back the only availability was of schools following India’s national curriculum - CBSE with very few CISCE board schools sprayed scarcely that offered the Indianised version of the overseas Cambridge School Certificate Examination. While some NRIs expats may understand what these boards may have to offer, the foreign nationals do not. Sensing this needs, many schools following internationally followed curriculums have mushroomed in this decade. The IGCSE and IB boards being the most popular imports in Gurgaon’s educational setup. In summary, today there are mainly 4 types of curriculums that are offered in the top schools of Gurgaon:
1. CBSE (Central Boards of Secondary Education) that is Indian national curriculum
2. CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination) adapted from the Cambridge School Certificate Examination
3. IB (International Baccalaureate) from Geneva, Switzerland
4. IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) and A Level of the University of Cambridge
Establishing International Curriculums in Gurgaon
Many of the International schools in the city with suitably trained personnel along with the required infrastructure have managed to secure authorizations from their International curriculum governing bodies to run primary, middle and senior school programs.
Suitability of the curriculums on offer
Both the IGCSE and IB curriculums are hugely popular curriculums worldwide offering high degree of transferability for students moving across countries. The NRIs and foreign nationals moving to Gurgaon get a near seamless transition for their children who were earlier studying in another country to continue with the same or similar curriculum in India. For the child also it is less stresswith little break or adaptation required. It is like moving from one school to another with the same methodology of study and course content, but a tad more multicultural.
A different school of thought also exists, mostly applicable for NRIs returning to India to settle, that considers the Indian curriculums such as CBSE or CISCE as more suited for students that may eventually seek traditional careers in India. There are a number of NRI parents who have studied in a CBSE and ICSE school while growing up and appreciate its credibility and acceptability within the country for higher studies.
IGCSE and IB are also expensive curriculums and the schools that offers these structure their fee accordingly. Given the fact that most NRIs and foreign nationals moving to Gurgaon are used to such expenses on their child’s ‘private school’ education in their home currency, the fee structure of the Gurgaon International schools may not come as a shocker and the Indian currency conversion may just be a sweetener for some. This may not be true for the parents looking to transfer their children from state schools abroad that usually offer free education to the inherently expensive international schools in the Gurgaon.
English as the medium of instructions at Schools in Gurgaon
The medium of teaching is English across all International schools and top CBSE and CISCE schools in Gurgaon. This auger well for the people whose native language is English. If your child is coming from a non-English speaking countries or is not fluent with English the school environment may be a bit more challenging when they first start school in Gurgaon. A lot of International schools anticipate this and offer English support classes for non-English speaking children. While the parent may find it difficult to learn English, but the children are usually quick to pick up the language by virtue of their learning age. The added benefit of fluency in an internationally accepted language is unstated but an undisputable benefit.
Diversity at Gurgaon schools
While most of the highly ranked traditional schools in Gurgaon lack an internationally diverse student and teacher population, the international schools by virtue of its purpose provide a more inclusive environment. Many of these International schools have a mix of students and faculty which hail from many countries across the globe. The traditional schools do try to make it up by expanding their International student exchange programs.
The Gurgaon package for the foreign nationals and expats moving into Gurgaon is complete as far as their child’s education is concerned. With quite a few schools choices that Gurgaon has to offer it is up to the expat and foreign national parents moving to Gurgaon to review their preferences for making the right choice for their kids. I hope my article gives you a good overview for a start.