52,000 students and 1,050 classrooms: inside the world’s largest school

Dec 16, 2015 by

Welcome to City Montessori school in Lucknow, India. Despite its vast size, no child is left behind, with nearly half of pupils scoring 90% or more in national tests

At 7:15am in the northern Indian city of Lucknow, a stream of children flows through the gates of the Kanpur Road campus of City Montessori school. A dozen helpers pull school bags off roof racks and direct traffic to keep things moving. Every so often a chowkidar (gatekeeper) urges a laggard along: “Chalo, Beta, chalo.” Nearly an hour later, they’re still arriving.

It’s not easy to get more than 7,500 five- to 17-year-old students into a single school building, but that’s only a small piece of the puzzle for City Montessori (or CMS) – recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest school. The institution caters to some 52,000 pre-primary, primary and secondary students distributed across 20 campuses in the city.

“I wanted to come here for a better education,” says 11-year-old Mahsum Singh, who started at the Kanpur Road campus this year. “It helps us that many students are here. We can take help from anyone.”

All of the school’s 1,050 classrooms are full to bursting, with more than 45 students to a class. But parents won’t take no for an answer. They pull in connections from business and politics to get another chair crammed in, says school president Geeta Kingdon. “Sometimes I invite them to come to the school, take them to the classroom and ask them, ‘Do you see any place for your child?’” says Kingdon, who is also the daughter of one of the school’s co-founders.

Source: 52,000 students and 1,050 classrooms: inside the world’s largest school | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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