Bombay Scottish School
Established as an orphanage for females by a group of Scottish philanthropists serving in the armed forces in 1847, the co-ed Bombay Scottish School is now routinely ranked among Mumbai’s best
|Bombay Scottish: impeccable maintenance|
Ranked Mumbai’s no. 1 primary-cum-secondary school in the Delhi-based Outlook weekly’s survey of schools across the country (December 16, 2002), Bombay Scottish School (BSS) has come a long way since it was established as the Scottish Female Orphanage in 1847. Then sited in Byculla, south Mumbai, the girls orphanage was promoted by a group of Scottish philanthropists serving in the armed forces. In 1855, a parallel institution was promoted for male orphans and in 1859 the two elementary schools were amalgamated under the name and style of The Bombay Male and Female Orphanage. Four years later the amalgamated institution was abbreviated to Bombay Scottish Orphanage. The first general meeting of subscribers to the Bombay Scottish Orphanage Trust was held on February 18, 1867 when the Bombay Scottish Orphanage Society, as it is known today, was established with its own constitution and rules.
A decade later in 1878, BSS moved to its present premises on the Mahim sea face. The impeccably maintained, period stone buildings comprise 60 classrooms, three well-equipped science laboratories and a large library containing 20,000 volumes. The school’s supportive infrastructure includes three assembly halls with a cumulative capacity of 1,000, a boardroom with advanced multimedia learning systems, well-maintained gardens as well as sprawling grounds with excellent sports facilities, including a basketball court of international standards. Currently the aggregate enrollment of this highly-rated school which follows the syllabus of the Delhi-based Council of Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), is 2,772 students of both sexes instructed by a faculty of 100.
Though essentially a Christian school, which subscribes to Christian values, BSS offers contemporary, liberal kindergarten-class XII education to children of all religious persuasions and denominations. "We have thrown open our doors to children of all communities, though we reserve a variable percentage of our annual intake for children from the minority Christian community. Within this framework our prime objective is the comprehensive development — physical, mental, social, emotional, moral and spiritual — of our students. The school’s programmes and activities are planned in terms of attaining these holistic education goals," says D.P.N. Prasad, a history and education alumnus of Madras and Annamalai universities who served as principal of St. Johns Higher Secondary School, Tiruchirapalli (Tamil Nadu) for five years before taking charge of BSS in 1999.
|Prasad (right): holistic education goals|
According to prasad, teaching methodologies at BSS have been designed in accordance with the capabilities of children of different age groups, beginning with informal fun-oriented lesson plans at the pre-school stage, followed by semi-formal pedagogies in early primary school and progressively more formal academic education in middle and senior school. "The use of contemporary infotech and computer technologies is integrated into the school’s curriculum," says Prasad.
This gradualist education system has quite evidently served BSS well, judging by the school’s consistently high performance in the ICSE board exams. "Our class X performance is of a very high standard. In the ICSE exams held in March 2004, 19 students from the total 188 who wrote the exams averaged more than 90 percent, while 86 averaged more than 80 percent. Of course everyone passed," says Prasad.
Moreover, in keeping with the BSS management’s emphasis on non-academic education as well, its students have distinguished themselves in swimming, badminton, karate and table tennis among other sports. Says Prasad: "Academics apart, we try to give our students maximum exposure to the environment in which they live. With this objective in mind, project work beyond routine classroom situations is encouraged, and students are given opportunities to make site visits and include outdoor activities in the learning process. For instance, the school arranges for standard IX pupils to visit municipal ward offices to acquire first- hand insights into the working of local self-government institutions in urban areas."
Extra-curricular education apart, BSS is equally focused on co-curricular activities. The school boasts 13 clubs to nurture the diverse interests of its students. Popular among them are the Nature Club, which received the runners-up trophy in 2003 from the World Wild Life Fund and the Adventure Club which organises excursions, camping, rifle shooting and aeromodelling.
Prasad takes particular pride in emphasising that BSS’ brilliant record in the all-India class X board exams has been consistently attained without resorting to the ubiquitous practice of expelling less-than-brilliant students. "We get to the root of the problem and address it," he says. "We have nurtured an experienced pool of remedial counsellors and volunteer parents to help slow learners. Moreover we believe in getting the parents involved in school activities as much as possible. In fact the PTA (parent teacher association) is really the heart and soul of the school."
With the demand for admissions into BSS rising every year, in 1997 the management promoted a new branch in the far-flung suburb of Powai. Today BSS (Powai) has 1,500 students on its muster roll, while plans for further expansion of the Bombay Scottish group are in a formative stage. "We hope to set up a new higher secondary school within the next few years which will offer the syllabus of the Geneva-based Interna-tional Baccalaureate Organisation. And given the continuous pressure for admissions, we might well promote another kindergarten-class XII school in the future. Therefore we are examining the possibilities of establishing a residential school somewhere between Mumbai and Pune, with an IB curriculum at an affordable price," says Prasad.
Admission & fees
The school academic year begins in June. Application forms are issued in October. There are no interviews or tests for admission. The forms are segregated according to the following norms:
Preferance is given to Anglo Indians, Christians, siblings of current students and children of past students.
Tuition fee: Rs.15,000 per annum
Admission fee: Rs.1,000
For the remaining seats, preferance is given to children of professionals, especially civil servants. Acceptance and rejection letters are sent out to all who apply.
For further information contact the principal, Bombay Scottish School, Veer Savarkar Marg, Mahim, Mumbai 400 016. Ph: 244 534 60; E-mail: bomscottish155@ hotmail.com; website: www.bombayscottish.com.
Gaver Chatterjee (Mumbai)
Bond University, Australia
Founded in 1987 by maverick business tycoon Alan Bond, this eponymous institution of higher education is Oz’s first and only privately funded independent university
Situated on a scenic campus on the Gold Coast, an hour’s drive from Brisbane — capital of Queensland — Bond University is Australia’s first and only privately funded, independent varsity. It comprises five faculties: business; health sciences and medicine; humanities and social sciences; information technology, and law. In particular Bond’s law and business degree programmes have been assessed among the best in Australia by the Graduate Careers Council, as have several degree courses within the school of humanities and social sciences and school of information technology. Not surprisingly this independent university attracts students from around the world. Half of its 2,000 students are from 60 countries.
|Bond overview: aesthetic blend|
"At Bond University you will find a culture of teaching and learning in which traditional scholastic values are complemented by innovative programmes. Our low student/ faculty ratio provides students with personalised tuition and ensures easy access to academic staff at all levels. All staff at Bond University is selected with care, and student welfare and progress are paramount. Unlike most universities in Australia, we work three semesters in each academic year. This allows the completion of all degrees, both undergraduate and postgraduate, in minimal time, with no loss of quality in teaching or learning," says Dr. Robert Stable, vice-chancellor of Bond.
Accordingly Bond offers three 14-week semesters each year, starting in January, May and September and students can enroll in most courses in any semester. Most Bond students acquire a bachelor’s degree in just two years. Also a number of three-semester coursework Masters programmes can be completed in 12 months.
Founded in 1987 by billionaire maverick business tycoon Alan Bond and given university status by the State of Queensland’s Bond University Act in 1988, the original joint venture partners, Bond Corp and EIE (International), negotiated purchase of the land, construction of the sandstone buildings, and development of the campus. Teaching on the campus began in May 1989 and currently Bond is a fully accredited member of the Australian Vice-chancellors Committee (AVCC), the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and is recognised as a degree awarding university by the Australian government.
Gold Coast. Bond University is located on the Gold Coast, 70 km from Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. Situated contiguously to Lake Orr in the Burleigh Forest area, the Bond campus is less than three km inland from the spectacularly unspoilt beaches of Burleigh Heads and Miami on the Gold Coast. The richly-vegetated rainforest of the hinterland is only a further four km inland and the domestic airport at Coolangatta is a mere 20 minutes by car, while the international airport at Brisbane is an hour’s drive.
With its famous surf beaches and scenic hinterland, the Gold Coast is a popular tourist destination for visitors from around the world. Inevitably it boasts a wide range of restaurants, coffee shops, shopping centres, entertainment and sporting facilities and attractions such as Sea World, Warner Brothers Movieworld and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Most of these establishments are open seven days a week, with public transport easily available.
The local climate is sub-tropical with temperatures varying between 17oC and 28oC during the day. There is plenty of sunshine which makes surfing the most popular local sport with water temperatures between 19-21oC all year round.
Campus facilities. Situated on the shores of Lake Orr, the Bond campus is an aesthetic blend of natural beauty and modern well-equipped buildings. The campus was designed by Australian master planner, Daryl Jackson to highlight its natural environment and location, and its sandstone structures are not only eye-catching but also designed to stand the test of time.
The University Centre is the focal point of the campus and comprises lecture theatres, case study and seminar rooms. The university library offers over 230,000 volumes and 1,800 journal titles in print, as well as hundreds of DVDs, CD ROMs and audio cassettes. Access is provided both on and off campus to over 22,000 full-text electronic journals and more than 100 online databases via the internet.
In sports-crazy Oz it’s inevitable that Bond’s state-of-the-art Fitness Centre includes a gymnasium, basketball stadium, tennis and squash courts, sauna, a soccer field and a football (rugby) oval as well as a heated outdoor Olympic size swimming pool with spa and a beach volleyball court.
All supplementary facilities such as food outlets, bookshop and post office, printing and photocopying service units, and a physiotherapy practice room are within easy walking distances.
Accommodation. Bond offers students two types of on-campus accommo-dation: single rooms in the halls of residence and single or twin share rooms in the Towers. Weekly boarding priced at Aus $273-334 (Rs.7,644-9,352) includes 14 meals. Each single room includes a telephone, desk and chair, single bed, wardrobe, bookshelves and bedside drawers, with some offering air-conditioning. Towers rooms are single or twin share and offer similar facilities.
Students living off campus rent houses or apartments. Rents vary from Aus $150-500 (Rs.4,200-14,000) per week depending on size, location and number of bedrooms. Homestay is also a popular choice for English language students and those looking for a more family-orientated lifestyle.
Admission. The minimum eligibility criterion for admission into Bond’s undergraduate programmes is successful completion of the All India Secondary School Certificate (CBSE) or the Indian School Certificate (CISCE) or an equivalent Plus Two examination. In addition applicants need to satisfy the university’s English language require-ments. A minimum score of 7.0 in the IELTS exam or a TOEFL score of 627 is accepted as proof of English language proficiency.
For further information contact the Office of Academic Services, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland, 4229, Australia. E-mail: admissions@bond. edu.au. Website: www.bond.edu.au.
Degree programmes. Bond University offers a wide range of innovative undergrad degree programmes in the faculties of business, health sciences, humanities and social sciences, information technology and law (see box). Every undergrad student irrespective of her major has to complete studying at least one subject from each of the following four core discipline clusters: communication (subjects: communications or public speaking); information technology, values (cultural and ethical values or contemporary issues in law and society); and organisations (strategic management or entrepreneurship).
According to a university spokes-person the objective of the core curriculum is "to produce graduates with strong practical skills and understanding of important ideas and values which are central both to successful undergraduate study and to professional performance after graduation".
Scholastic options at Bond
Bond University offers a wide range of undergrad and postgrad diplomas and degrees across five major faculties. They include:
Humanities and Social Sciences. Applied psychology, arts, communication, film and television, international relations, social sciences
Health Sciences. Biomedical sciences, health sciences — counselling, sports coaching, sports management, behaviour management, childcare, retirement and ageing
Business. Business administration, commerce, electronic commerce, finance, international business
Information Technology. Information systems and information technology
Law. Business law, jurisprudence, law
Tuition fee (annual): AUS$ 20,400-27,200
Living expenses including accommodation: AUS$ 10,000-12,000