Calcutta International School: Benchmark of Holistic Education

Calcutta International School
Calcutta International School

Students who receive a Cambridge education are better equipped for life by fostering a lifelong love of study and an informed curiosity. A Cambridge curriculum can be customised by schools to fit the way they want their pupils to learn, guiding them as they explore new skills and a larger world. Students in Cambridge settings acquire the abilities they need to succeed in school, university, and the workplace.

Calcutta International School (CIS) has been carrying the legacy of Cambridge education in India since the early independence days.

CIS came into existence as the King’s House School when a British family started home-schooling their two sons at their bungalow in Lee Road and hired teachers to help them with their work.

Slowly word of this ‘school’ began to spread, encouraging other British families to send their children there, and soon a British teacher, Miss Mai Barth, was appointed as the principal.

When the King family returned to the UK, they left the bungalow and the school to Ms Barth and the school was officially registered in 1953.

Under her leadership, it became a full-fledged school called Miss Barth’s School.

The school soon evolved to become a reputed institution providing academic and extramural education. Miss Barth is believed to have been awarded an OBE for her relentless dedication to education.

A Thriving Learning Hub

When Miss Barth retired and returned to England, the parents of the students decided to form a Society to govern the school, which received its final name – Calcutta International School Society, in 1970. It was registered under the West Bengal Societies Regulation Act.

CIS shifted from the Lee Road premises to its present sprawling campus at Anandapur, Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, Kolkata, in 2006. Today, CIS is a thriving learning hub, with pupils from as many as 17 nationalities from local and expatriate communities. The school continues to grow in size and stature, adapting to the evolving needs of the students of the future.

By 2025 CIS will be recognised as a school that sets the benchmark in India for its learner-centric, individualised and holistic education. This will enable its students to be lifelong learners with an inclusive and socially responsible worldview who can lead themselves and others in a fast-changing world.

The mission of CIS is to impart comprehensive, student-centred education compatible with international standards. The school shall provide a welcoming, respectful, and multicultural environment, enabling superior academic accomplishment.

Ensuring Education of High Standards

The school prides itself in its role as a learning hub- with a strong cosmopolitan culture, safe and secure environment, well-trained teachers, enviable student-teacher ratio, and modern infrastructure, all geared to deliver two kinds of international curricula, adhering to the best international standards.

Its pedagogy is geared towards facilitating the self-actualisation of the students. The core values of the school rest on the curriculum framework incorporating the six principles of collaboration, critical thinking, learner agency, research skill development, and effective communication.

Strive for a Better Society

Pupils of CIS are provided with ample opportunities to grow and evolve to the best of their potential, with academics and co-curricular activities given equal weightage at every level.

The core values of CIS are empathy, responsibility, and a high happiness quotient where every member of the community is accepted, respected, and valued.

The school employs a progressive approach towards the cause of improving education in India. It constantly strives to provide a viable curricula framework that will define every learning experience that the students at the school undergo. These principles determine the focus and objective of every learning activity across all grades. This education is wholly learner-centric and inclusive, based upon a blend of the latest and time-tested best teaching practices. This ensures that students in its care receive an education that meets the best standards of national and international education.

Its students believe in the concept of each one teaching one. They engage with disadvantaged youth through various initiatives and teach them valuable skills.

Standing Tall Against Barriers

Over the course of the years, the school has faced myriad challenges but has managed to take the right measures to overcome them. Some of them are:

  • Increasing demand for seats- The school has grown in popularity over the years due to its constant striving to evolve with the times and the changing needs of students. The school policy of the student-teacher ratio, which remains at 24:1, has not been allowed to be compromised because effective teaching and learning can only happen when teachers and students are in close communion with each other.
  • Limited infrastructure – The school morphed from an informal setting into a full-fledged school over the years. This has put additional pressure on the availability of space to accommodate more subject options. The management has taken the bold decision of refurbishing the entire facility with new premises that will accommodate all the infrastructural requirements of the school.
  • Pressures from a conventional mindset regarding education – The school has often faced challenges in the form of doubts regarding its child-centric education, which offers learners greater agency in their learning. Sometimes parents, who come from conventional schooling systems, insist on the advantages of sticking to the syllabus. But this challenge has been mitigated over the years as they have come to realise the merits of a schooling system that helps create learners and not mould clones.

The school offers a definitive programme of ECA which is compulsory from grades 3 to 8. These activities include Robotics, Western Dance, Photography, Taekwondo, Chess, Football, Basketball, Table Tennis and Cricket. Students are invited to take up one ECA of their choice and pursue its development over the course of the years.

Prioritising Holistic development

The school believes in holistic development and the great value of sports and other activities. Students who pursue extracurricular activities at an advanced level are helped to make up missed classes, thus enabling them to balance academics and ECAs.

The school is proud that many of its students are nationally ranked in various sports.

International mindedness is an important part of the school’s approach. It has students from 17 different nationalities and is a very diverse community.

The school celebrates various international festivals and the occasions, such as the 4 of July, Bastille Day, Korean Independence Day, Dia de les Muertos, etc. Parents are invited into classes to talk about the countries they come from and their cultures.

Apart from that, the school also offers several unique programmes to allow for global exposure to its students.

CIS has a dream it is currently fulfilling- that of new upgraded school premises, which will meet the challenges of the growing school in the near future.