A school that's been running for 172 years and counting (by 2006), is more than just a place for grubby little kids to be polished into articles that can be presented at dinner without giving your guests a cardiac arrest. It's a tourist attraction.
At least, it should be, and it's a shame the marvellous Church that stands at the center of the various campuses of the Catholic Society is treated in a relatively cavalier fashion. The main school building is also getting squeezed a little, among buildings that have sprouted to house more and more kids and the utterly out-of-place ads for Noodles.
40 to 50 students per section and 5 sections a class means they must be doing something right.
The St. George's Grammar School is actually a clutch of 3 schools in a sprawling campus at what used to be Hyderabad's Downtown - Abids. The primary section, opposite the All Saints Church, covers the KG to the 4th Class. Girls share their area with the Women's College
, seperated from the Boys' School by a wall with a padlocked gate. Svelte young women in colorful dresses make a colorful contrast to the little ones in grey tunics who surge out of the classrooms at every break in studies. The boys' side, similarly, shares space with the junior college for Boys.
In a convincing case for communal harmony, the Honor Rolls in the charmingly archaic office building are populated with names of all religions. Though this is a school run by a religious institution, it doesn't make too much of this fact.
In fact, it doesn't make too much of the discipline thing either. And some of this has resulted in the fact that the neighboring schools run on similar lines (notable the All Saints
, Little Flower
and St. Paul's
) have stolen something of a march over St. George's.
Admission, therefore, is fairly easy. It's not like you have to cut unspeakable deals with your Maker or wait for days in the rain. The guards at the gate are friendly, as are the folks at the office. Bereft of the politically-correct niceties of the 21st century, a discussion with them can take you decades down memory lane.
To admit your kids, you need to take along 2 passport sized photos (of each kid, of course), 100 bucks for the registration form, and a bona fide
certificate from the current school. Remember, the Transfer Certificate's needed when the kid joins the school, but the bona fide
is required for registration.
Interviews and tests are usually in the 1st week of April, though there's nothing hard and fast about this. Term starts in mid-June, and admissions in the middle of the year are tolerated, though not encouraged.
The admission fees is about Rs. 10,000 - of which Rs. 2,000 or so is a refundable "caution deposit". Monthly fees are a remarkably low Rs. 450. In fact, the bus fees are higher at 500 bucks a month!
Kids are guided - or herded, given the size of the classes - towards the ICSE at the end of their 10th. Both the ISC and the State's Intermediate exams are available for the +2 students.
A school that's been in Hyderabad so long can't but be an established part of the inter-school competitions. The large playground, which many neo schools would give their eye-teeth for, allows a variety of games, as well as other activities like the NCC, guides, debates etc. These are not compulsory, however.
St. George's is a relatively easy going school. It eschews the new-fangled, treat-the-kids-with-care approach. And not for it the cookie-cutter-competetive-exam or pass-percentages grind either. If you're looking for either of these, there are other schools that you should turn to. St. George's is a stolid, immutable edifice in more ways than one.