Widening access to IB programmes
In India, access to IB programmes is extremely limited because almost the only schools offering them are privately and commercially funded. Fees for IB programmes in these private schools are beyond the reach of common people. IB programmes are further out of reach because of distance and social stratification. Elite, private schools are built in the outskirts of cities, requiring students to travel for 2-3 hours each day.
Our school seeks to widen access to IB programmes in several ways. First, our fee structure is such that large numbers of common people can afford the costs. We set our fees after extensive study of the population and fee structure of nearby schools.
Second, our school is located in the heart of the city of Hyderabad and is designed as a neighbourhood school to which children can walk instead of traveling for hours. Geography is becoming a greater barrier because of poor traffic and road conditions within the city. Although our school cannot offer the expansive grounds that suburban schools have, we make alternative arrangements with nearby municipal playgrounds and cultural institutions.
Third, our school is a coeducational and secular school that invites students of all backgrounds. Students do not feel excluded by religious affiliation, language, disability, or gender. In the old city of Hyderabad, these are significant barriers to access because most schools are either religiously affiliated or dominated by a single religious or linguistic community. Commercial schools systematically exclude children with learning and other disabilities because they might lower the school’s overall performance. We, on the other hand, admit and support students with a variety of disabilities, including partial blindness, effects of premature birth, and dyslexia. Although we have not achieved the level of linguistic or religious diversity that we had hoped, we have made a beginning and expect authorization by IB would increase the diversity of our student body tremendously.