Friday, June 30, 2023

School gate

This was early on a Saturday morning in May. Just after 7 AM. It was not the earliness of the hour. It was May, the season of school holidays and the reason for this space being largely vehicle-free. 

For the gate you see over there is the entrance to the Chettinad Vidyashram, one of Chennai's sought-after schools. It was founded much after my school days were over, so I am not able to bring up a school-boy's perspective of the kind of school it was. But I remember hearing about how it encouraged a whole lot of activities, within and outside the curriculum. There were horse-riding classes as well, probably channelling the connection the Chettinad royals have with turf clubs. The one thing that stood out about this school was that it had a large number of students (and staff, too) - almost in 5-digits, though I have not been able to validate that. 

The other aspect that is striking about the school is that it does not seem to be overly concerned about preparing students for the typical career paths (at least among its comparator schools) of engineering and medicine. The school does have special coaching streams for the IIT-JEEs and the NEET, but it seems more happy to let the children discover what they are good at and follow that lead. So much so that a list of the school's notable alumni has a larger proportion of actors, musicians and sportspeople than usual. Maybe that's the best indicator of the school's motto: "The Golden Mean" being put into practice!


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