Global Public School (GPS) Review - Ongoing Update: R2I - Schooling for Kids

Our kids completed five years at Global Public School (GPS), Chottanikkara (Kerala, India) at the end of March 2015. We considered changing schools after the second year with the idea that the kids will probably be ready to grow out of the NRI oriented Global Public School (GPS). Ultimately decided to stay put as there was no clear winner with respect to choosing a better school - Global Public School (GPS) is by no means perfect, but the alternatives just did not seem to guaranty enough of an edge to warranty another major change for the kids.

Below are things that the kids and us like about Global Public School (GPS):
  1. The staff in general are fairly accommodative of student and parent requests/needs. The service levels have gone down compared to the time when our kids joined, but they are still satisfactory. 
  2. Parent volunteering is thankfully still a foreign concept at Global Public School (GPS). There was a minor scare in this regard at the start of the 2012 school year, but it died down quickly, possibly due to lack of parent response. 
  3. Global Public School (GPS) continues to have individual teachers for each subjects. The school suffers from substantial turnover and it is not unusual for a Science teacher to end up teaching Hindi in lower grades. Even so, the approach is much better overall compared to having the same teacher for all subjects. 
  4. Covering the curriculum in the classroom is still a priority at Global Public School (GPS). With certain subjects, the teachers end-up rushing through chapters in the final months, but it is still better than not covering portions at all.

Below are things we came across over the last five years that can be considered as downsides with GPS:

  1. Quality of teaching at the higher grades (9 and above) is a concern. The vast majority of the students get by with tuition support and the teachers encourage this to some extent. Also, for Math and Science subjects specifically, a good percentage of the teachers lack expertise in the subject matter.  Note: This is not a GPS specific problem as all schools have the issue, although some are better than others.
  2. There is a certain level of favoritism so much so that kids openly discuss certain students as being favored - kids of GPS teachers and other staff, kids of well-known politicians, movie/sports personalities, highly successful businessmen, etc receive favored treatment for competitive school activities including academics. For example, it is not uncommon for a kid to come home and say they were placed first for a certain competition only to be displaced by favored kids for the first three positions when the official results are announced and prizes distributed. The same thing happens with class tests and such although the despicable activity is more subtle. Note: This again is not a GPS specific problem. All schools have this issue, although the abuse level varies. There is no real solution to this problem as money, time, and influence can buy most anything in our society and kids are getting exposed to it. In that sense, it is better that they themselves know of the problem so that they are equipped to deal with it in time. 
  3. The choice of textbooks are a concern. With CBSE, through Grade 8, the school has a choice of choosing the books to use in the classroom as long as they adhere to CBSE guidelines. For higher grades, there is a defined set from which the school can choose. GPS changes textbook vendors every year for grades below 9. The books used in the 2010 school year were pretty good but for 2011 they switched to using Exceed. There was some marketing hype surrounding that, but the books were horrible - many of the pages were verbatim copies of Wiki pages from the Internet. Thankfully they changed text books for the 2012 school year - while those textbooks were not perfect, they were fairly adequate. The pattern has continued. With each change, the price of the book package for the school year goes up substantially - 30% has been the average per year. It seems the school goes on changing books based on which publisher spins the best story for a particular year. 
  4. Door-to-door transportation was advertised as a great convenience when we joined in 2010. The service level has gone down substantially with this. Currently, our kids are picked up in front of our housing-community (a public road) and dropped off there as well. That means, they need an escort back and forth for safety reasons. At the start of the 2012 school year, they had asked us to wait at a junction 500 meters away, which was even worse, but after complaining a few times, they agreed to alter the route a little bit. 
  5. Fees have gone up at more than double the rate of inflation in the last six years. The pattern is a little disconcerting. Please see below for a comparative spreadsheet of Global Public School (GPS) fees for the six years covering 2010-11 through 2015-16 school years.
  6. Swimming is still part of the curriculum. Breakfast/Lunch is also provided as needed. Service levels for both of these have gone down - the number of swimming classes per year goes down in some years due to various avoidable reasons and the quality of the menu for breakfast and lunch has gone down as well. The children also find it irritating that portions given for students are strictly controlled and any wastage is not tolerated while the chechees ignore all kinds of abuses by teachers (gross food wastage, taking a lot more than their share of pappads, meat, fish, desserts, etc). 
  7. The two-hour optional extra-curricular activity is somewhat less useful than it sounds. Our children went for the program only in their first year. The reason had to do with the fact that the sessions are focused on giving an introductory level of training in the activities - so, to get to the next level, outside training is still necessary. 
Below is a look at fee increases at Global Public School (GPS) over the years. For the sample, middle school fees and the lowest transportation fees (up to 15KM) were used. Lower grades have marginally lower fees while higher grades have substantially higher fees:

Notes: Registration, Admission, Caution Deposit, Security Deposit, etc are additional one-time fees when a student is admitted. Please see our previous update with 2010 data for an idea. Also, for Grades 10, 11 and 12, for a day scholar, fees are quite a bit more as day boarding is compulsory for those grades.

Related Posts:

1. Global Public School (GPS) vs Bay Farm Elementary - Comparative Review: R2I - Schooling for Kids.
2. Global Public School (GPS) Review - Three Year Mark Update: R2I - Schooling for Kids.

Last Updated: 10/2015.


Jyothi said...

Hi Ive been repeatedly coming to ur site to read the reviews...thanks so much for the wonderfully detailed review...i too am on the hunt for schools..we are a mixed (inter cultural) family from bangalore and i was looking at schools where my kids wouldnt feel out of place.. a lot of people have recommended choice and global..I was keen on global since fees seemed lower than choice at first, but a closer look and, the rate of increase in global fees is alarming..and bus fees and extra curricular after regular school hours all add up to quite hefty amount... infact if you put it all together, choice fees is coming much lower (except their donation) and distance is less too...since we would be staying in kadavanthra.... between these two schools, now with your experience being in the city for three years,which school would you suggest....looking forward to your valuable reply...and thanks a million in advance..

ks said...

Hi Jyothi,

Since you are relocating from BLR, the kids won't feel out-of-place at either one of these schools - they cater beautifully to NRIs in transition.

In my opinion, none of the schools are very good for academics - Choice & Global are below average. Highschool kids generally manage with tuition & online classes.

All the best,

jyothi said...

thank you for the fast reply...thats defintely a concern that coaching is not too god in either of the schools...after all first priority is the studies...the rest are just secondary...

Debi said...

Hi ks, We are relocating to Kochi and will probably joining GPS this year. Your posts have given a realistic outlook of the school, thanks for that. Just wanted to check if anything has changed from your last post.Also how easy is it to shift to another school once the kids have adjusted to the Indian school system? Thx in advance.

ks said...

Hi Debi,

There is a lot of turnover among teachers this year. Other than that, nothing much has changed. Kids generally adjust very quickly although they tend to take cues from the parents. From the parents perspective, switching schools will involve some effort as it can be hard to get admission.

All the best,

Lakshmy said...

Hi, This blog is very informative. I have a few concerns regarding the admission procedue. Hope you will be able to help me. We are planning to relocate to Kochi next academic year 2016 June. We are currently in Canada. I was told that there is a test and interactive session.My kids go into Grade 8 and 3 respectively. Can you please suggest how to prepare for this test? And also if your children had to go through interactive session after the test, what exactly do they mean by interactive session. Is the entrance test difficult?

ks said...

Hi Lakshmy,

Your best bet is to directly contact the schools you are considering - now is the right time to start this process for 2016 academic year. Requirements vary and depending on seat availability and other factors some might be willing to forgo entry requirements such as the test and interactive session - for our kids, both were waived as we were promised a seat two years before the admission date. At the very least, you should be able to get info on how to prepare from them.

All the best,

Lakshmy said...

Thank you for your prompt reply. I contacted the school earlier and had requested if the younger one could have a skype interview. But they insisted that they appear in person. Like you said , I assume the school is in demand now .Will keep following your blog for any updates. Thanks once again.

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