What are the right fees to pay for a premium school? 04 Apr 2022 Sandy Hooda, Co-Founder, Vega Schools

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Gurugram is a city with a large number of good quality premium schools. Premium schools fees range from around ten thousand rupees per month to seven lacs rupees per month. Premium schools can be both traditional schools and progressive schools. And then there are schools that are in between.

Parents are confused and have so many questions: How does a parent decide which school to pick? How much should parents stretch their pockets? Are there going to be any hidden costs? What will be the cost of tuition later as my child grows older?

Rising real estate costs

The city of Gurugram is known for expensive real estate. The real estate comes with baseline costs. A school that is built on a decent land area and needs to provide high quality infrastructure will have no option but to charge a certain minimum threshold of fees.

Boards

As a thumb rule, CBSE/ICSE schools will be more economical, Cambridge schools will be more expensive and IB schools will be the most expensive. CBSE/ICSE schools that are more progressive will be more expensive than traditional ones.

Teaching methods

Schools deploying traditional or standard teaching methods require less resources, lower levels of teacher ability and teacher training, hence should generally be more economical. Schools that use more progressive teaching methods such as experiential learning, inquiry based learning, project based learning or problem based learning tend to require more resources, trained and capable teachers. These schools offer more value hence will always be more expensive.

Teacher costs

Teachers that are progressive, well trained, creative and collaborative need to be paid more. The best teachers are also quickly poached hence need to be retained. Retention requires annual salary increments, training retreats and investments in work culture - all of which require monetary resources. These costs substantially raise the cost of tuition.

School Leaders costs

The Best School Principals are expensive. The best leaders are exceptional and are experts in empowering teachers, who in turn empower students. They ensure high levels of learning outcomes, with less pressure on learners. There are very few exceptional school leaders in the market and schools need to invest in this valuable resource. Consequently parents need to invest more in tuition fees in schools that have such leaders.

Costs of facilities

Indoor and outdoor sports facilities, auditoriums, amphitheaters, safety features (CCTV, GPS in buses, police verified support staff, etc), Air conditioning, Power backup, Pollution Air Filters, WHO compiled COVID safety features - all require huge investments, which eventually raise the composite school fees. Parents, based on their pockets, can opt in or out of these features.

Teacher student ratio

Schools with a teacher student ratio that is better than 1:15 require almost double the resources than those with a 1:30 ratio. Parents who want their children to learn effectively will need to consider this all important factor. All children learn differently therefore it is essential that learners are taught in small groups and are also provided individual attention. These methods require more teachers per learner. This investment ultimately pays off with better learning outcomes, and reduced need for tuitions and remedial classes as children get older.

All round development

Schools providing holistic education and all round development require additional resources and facilities, and will generally be more expensive. These schools develop learners for academic achievement and also for all the real world skills that they will require in the future. All round development with the right school culture leads to less pressure and more learning. Children who feel less pressure will generally be more motivated to learn and will take more ownership of their learning, making the parents' role easier too.

International education/global exchanges

Schools that have partnerships with schools across the world, teacher and student exchange programs, and virtual classes require additional resources which will cost parents more. The long term benefits for their children will be global understanding and relationships, which will give them an edge in a world where everyone will work (both physically and virtually) in a globally connected world.

Teacher training

Excellent teacher training programs require experts from all around the world to regularly come and train teachers. Travel costs and costs of the best trainers are high, however these should never be compromised on. The world of teaching and learning is evolving and new methods and techniques are being developed which can enormously benefit the quality of learning, and benefit our children.

Resources

Prohgressive learning methods require additional resources in the form of regular field trips, expert visits/interactions, kits, computers, tablets, 3D printers, maker spaces, etc. Ideally these should be built into the tuition fees so that there are no hidden costs for parents. Incorporating them in the tuition fees means incrementally higher fees compared to schools that either will not invest in these or will present them as hidden costs in the future.

Conclusion

Given all the above factors, it may be correct assume that parents who want a holistic education for their child at a CBSE/ICSE school in a good location and with excellent infrastructure, a low teacher- learner ratio, with international collaborations, high quality of well paid teachers, capable school leaders, investment in resources and high level of teacher training will need to pay between Rs. 14000-Rs.19000 in monthly tuition fees.

IB Schools offering all the above facilities would need to charge monthly tuition fees of Rs. 20000-Rs. 30000 per month.

Fees are only one criteria while selecting a school. Once parents find a school fitting in the above fee brackets, they need to visit the school campus to physically validate their claims. Parents should also speak to existing parents of the school to ensure the school is ‘actually’ investing in providing the above facilities.

The Best schools in Gurgaon will ensure they do not hold back on providing the best for their learners. The Top 10 schools in Gurgaon will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that all the above facilities are delivered with a high level of excellence. Learners entering a school at any level, be it kindergarten, pre-primary or nursery school, deserve the best facilities from the very beginning.

School education should never be treated as an expense, it should be treated as an investment that, if done right, will lead to the greatest payoff.

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