Posted on May 16, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
All major boarding schools in India have institutional legacies and historical contexts. Some of them are accredited by international associations like Round Square and Middle Schools Association while several of them are members of Indian Public School Conference (IPSC).
There are residential schools affiliated to every educational board including the CBSE, CISCE, state boards and International Organizations like IB and Cambridge. There are institutions with resident students run by trusts like Sri Aurobindo and Ramakrishna Mission. Then there are international schools that are established for the expat pupil and are recognized by the educational boards of their respective countries. What’s notable is that the boarding schools are not just exceptionally relevant for development of youth but constitute a league of their own. Almost every school that houses its students aims to live up to an express ideology moulding its students in accord with the institutional spirit.
As far as boarding schools are concerned, academics, though central, shares priority with the objective of the institution. Sainik schools, Military schools, and Rashtriya Indian Military College have an objective to send officers in Indian Defense forces, Navodaya Vidyalaya’s and Eklavya Model Residential Schools have stated objective to uplift the masses and level the urban-rural divide whereas International Schools aspire for international standards and organize activities like ‘model UN’ to that end, so on and so forth.
There are boys or girls’ exclusive boarding schools while some are co-educational institutions with separate lodgings for boys and girls.
Eduprenurs choosing to start a private residential school must live up to the expectations and standards of fine residential schools. The level of engagement of the staff with the students in these schools is naturally higher than day schools. The student-teacher ratio is 1:12, on an average.
It is vital to have a clear and socio-culturally resonant vision for the school that validates the perceived need for lodging students 24/7. It must have a mission that signifies the difference it is going to make by turning day scholars into boarders.
It is obvious that the land and an infrastructural requirement for a residential school would be several times higher (at least 15-20 acres) than a day school, given all other aspects are same. This translates into a much higher investment which warrants a much aggressive and effective positioning and communications strategy.
It is important to understand the motivation and beliefs of the parents who choose to send their children to boarding schools, the children that are usually teenagers or sometimes even younger. Parents believe that close mentoring would inculcate discipline in their children while making them independent. The expectation for assurance of homely, safe and age-appropriate environment is a given.
There is more scope of individual attention in the scenario of the boarding educational set up and that adds to its desirability. Higher quality of infrastructure and greater conduciveness for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities also factors in while making a choice in favor of a residential school.
Important steps in the course of setting up a boarding school include:
The recruitment strategy has to be highly structured and uncompromising. The line of differentiation between Non- Academic staff and academic staff, in the case of a residential school environment, tends to blur as teachers have to oversee other aspects of the daily routine of the borders.
Repositories like educatorone.com can be used for recruitment of staff for both girls and boys boarding schools.
Students mess and canteen is a critical aspect and health certification must be acquired for running it. Its maintenance must be regular and quality, uncompromised.
The autonomy of the school management committee is extremely important as there arise occasions when quick and resolute decisions must be made with regard to the hostel management. A disciplinary committee and proctor’s office with clearly laid guidelines must be established.
It is a statement of the obvious to say that the process of establishing a residential school is tremendously taxing and demanding with respect to several resources and time. The process can be made timely and cost-effective with the assistance of the best school consultants. At this point, it must be said that it certainly seems convenient to opt for a franchise but it certainly is not the best choice if one values one’s autonomy and independence of vision.