A batch of 30 students from the city spent a week at the US Space and Rocket Centre in Alabama last year, creating their own models of rockets, exploring the insides of space shuttles and discussing aerospace with local students, all as part of their academic curriculum.
Schools across the city are designing such out-of-the-box programmes to get the cutting edge over their rivals and ensure holistic development of students. The list is vast, with courses ranging from nature camps, life skills such as cooking and cleaning, professional drama workshops, industrial internships and even martial arts, all in foreign countries. Top city schools have at least one such course, which they believe is their USP.
“It is essential that students get the right kind of exposure in fields they are genuinely interested in. The idea of having such programmes is to look beyond a typical textbook approach,” said Komal Singh, teacher at Nasr School, which had organised the space camp.
Gitanjali School in Begumpet has a tie up with close to 36 US universities, which gives their students a chance to explore options for further studies abroad. “Last year, there were only nine applicants for IIT from the school, which is an indication that students are keen to explore options in fields outside the traditional choices,” said Maya Sukumaran, principal of the school.
Parents too are becoming increasingly conscious of the importance of beyond-the-book approach for their children. “While I want my child to do well in studies, I also want her to get an equal exposure in sports, theatre and arts. ,” said Aparna Chaudhary, parent of a class 11 student.
Other schools too are jumping into the fray. For instance, 20 students from the Jubilee Hills Public School participated in an exchange program with students of North Carolina University, whereby they discussed the packaging industry in their respective countries. “The packaging industry has various applications in all other industries . With the help of video chats and skype calls, both batches of students explained the status of packaging industries in their countries and shared ideas and suggestions,” said Vara Laxmi, principal of the school.
A batch of 10 students from the Chirec Public School, spent two weeks at the Theyer Academy in Massachusetts to experience the American style of living. “The students stayed with host families there. It is important for students to know that the world is wide open for them and there is no dearth of opportunities to explore,” said principal Iffat Ibrahim.