NRI and expats make a beeline for Mumbai's international schools

Aug 12, 2014, 07:21 IST | Shreya Bhandary

With foreign nationals moving to Mumbai from across the globe, the demand for schools with international curriculums is on the rise

Gone are the days when expats in the city with young children had to run pillar to post to get their kids admitted to the handful of international schools in Mumbai. With more and more schools cropping up every year, parents are now spoilt for choice.

Schools plans ice-breakers and team-bonding exercises to make the transition smooth for new students
Schools plans ice-breakers and team-bonding exercises to make the transition smooth for new students

While the demand for state board schools has been dwindling every year, schools with central as well as international curriculums seem to be attracting most applications. Many international schools in the city have noticed a rise of applications for expat kids.

“With the Indian markets doing very well, many foreign nationals are moving to Mumbai from different parts of the world, with their families. The first thing they look for is a school that provides an international curriculum,” said Manju Yagnik, vice chairperson of the Nahar Group that heads the Nahar International School in Chandivli.

In its first year, the school has admitted ten foreign nationals from countries like France, Italy, Russia, Indonesia and America. While the expectations of foreign nationals are no different from other parents, authorities of international schools think it is their similarity with the syllabi and routines of schools abroad that attract these expat parents the most.

“Parents are already aware of the curriculum, but what they do inquire frequently about are the co-curricular activities. Their queries are more about the physical and emotional security of the child,” added Yagnik. The school has received applications from parents even in the middle of the academic year.


Case in point
French national Raphael Petit, a senior employee at an MNC bank in Mumbai and father of seven-year-old Hugo Petit, who studies in Nahar International School, said that he researched well before zeroing in on a school in the city.

“Since Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city, we never had problems adjusting. We chose a school with an international curriculum affiliated with the Cambridge Board and following Cambridge International Examination curriculum, so that our child receives education on par with a school in any of the advanced European cities,” said Petit.

Schools Speak

Lots of MNCs have started their offices in Mumbai and many NRIs have chosen to come back to India for work. Thankfully, the international schools here have also raised their standards and are at par with many other schools in the world. This is why many expats find it comfortable to send their children to a school affiliated with to an international board. - Vandana Lulla, principal of the Podar International School

We are very conscious about integrating the children and making sure that they are comfortable. Learners are oriented when a new child joins. Carefully planned ice-breakers and team-bonding exercises are adopted to make the transition smooth. ‘Buddies’ are assigned to make sure the new entrant has a ‘friend’ from day one. - Fatima Agarkar, founder and trustee of the JBCN International School

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