Kolkata - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Although there are several schools listed as being acceptable, I would recommend to not bid here if you have school-aged children. If you must come here, I would encourage you to consider boarding school. Most of the other expats send their children to boarding school or leave their family at home. It’s okay if you have younger kids, but the schools once starting K-12 are not comparable to other international schools in my opinion. So that being said, here are some personal reviews of the four “International” schools in Kolkata. Due to the pandemic, schools in West Bengal are not going to open for the rest of the 2021-2022 school year, and it’s unlikely at the moment that it will open for in-person classes in the 2022-2023 school year. South City International School - Most comparable campus to international schools visited in other countries in the past. Administration was up front, helpful, and answered questions honestly. Very warm and inviting. Facilities were very nice, classroom sizes seemed comparable to US standards (~25-30 students per classroom). Very active online instruction process (during COVID). Very little international representation. At the time of writing there were maybe nine international students in the entire school. This is an international school using an international curriculum (Cambridge) until the close of elementary grades. High School grades follow an Indian curriculum and is no longer considered an international curriculum. Administration indicated that there had not been enough interest from the parents, attendees, and school management to continue the Cambridge/International curriculum into the upper grades. However, if there were enough interest and monetary support, they could begin an IB program again in the future. Calcutta International School (CIS) – Considered the most popular among expats. Unfortunately, there is very little international representation, at the time of writing there were about 15 international students (this number does not include dual passport holders such as Indian/Canadian, Indian/US, India/British, etc.). School administration is very difficult to work with in our experience, particularly during the registration process. From issues with getting a response from the registration office (for several months) to issues paying a bill (not getting a response from the accounting office). It seems very clear that the people applying are not important to the school. It is very much about keeping their "standards". It takes approximately six weeks to get children registered for school, and that is after you have contacted them via email, submitted an application, and paid the fees. There are no fewer than four in-person appointments required for parents and children in addition to individual testing. This is a parent-run school, so there are complications with that as well. This is a type of school where if you ask administration questions, you are essentially yelled at by the principals in my experience. (During Pandemic Online Schooling) While the teachers seem nice, there is very little control shown during online classes of the students and the programming. It was explained that the classes are ‘student-led’ so that’s why there was so much chatter and interruption during classes.The platform for school assignment, homework submission, and interaction with teachers is cumbersome and glitchy. All classes are in-person all the time so that results in six hours of straight sitting in a chair with a video screen on your student. The Heritage School - Very large campus with extensive sports, arts, and extracurricular facilities. Quite a distance from the consulate. Administration was up front, helpful, and answered questions honestly. Very warm and inviting. No international students as of the time of writing.This is an international school using several curriculums (IB/Cambridge/Indian) for the upper grades. The elementary grades do not prescribe to a particular curriculum, but does meet Indian standards. It was explained by administration during a campus tour that the elementary grades used various forms of instruction instead of a set curriculum. Unfortunately, this school has no slots available for incoming students at this time, but you can be placed on a waiting list. It seems to me that this school is very much focused on the extra-curricular activities. The Cambridge School - Very small campus. It is unlikely that Consulate children would be allowed to attend this school due to the physical structure of the building, lack of fire safety equipment, lack of egress in emergency situations, and overall class size versus physical room size. That being said, the administration was up front, helpful, and answered questions honestly. The administration is very warm and inviting. No international students on the rolls as of the time of writing. This school follows the Cambridge curriculum. - Aug 2021

No true international school. The two schools with international in the name are almost all local students. There have been very few mission students at the main intl school but some have done it. - Dec 2020

There are two international schools that American diplomats have used: South City International and Calcutta International. They are really international only in name. The curriculum, calendar, and most of the students are Indian. Calcutta International appears to have more international kids but its facilities are not as modern as South City's. Parents should decide where to send their children after seeing both schools. Be warned the level of academics in Kolkata is high even by Indian standards so kids from the U.S. may be behind when they arrive. - Sep 2015

Calcutta International School is average. There is no American school. - Dec 2010

No children for me; rumor has it that the on-compound one-room school is adequate for the lower grades. The CIS is mostly wealthy indians with some expat and diplomatic kids. The Overseas school people do not consider it adequate. - Jun 2009

I have no kids. However, the schools are considered pitiful. The Delhi American school has a small satellite school started to get bidders here. It is one room, and can accomodate only about 8 kids. However I am told that the quality of teaching is high, but the rest is lacking, as in a playground, extra-cirricular activities, etc. There are a couple of other schools that expats use, the Heritage School and CIS but both are considered well below US standards. I'm not sure I would bring school aged kids here. - Mar 2009

The American School opened in August 2007 with 5 kids, K-4. The Calcutta International School has K-12, but focuses on an Indian curriculum and has a predominantly Indian student body. - May 2008

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