Darjeeling: Mountainous Schools

Darjeeling and surrounding areas are dotted with prestigious schools that mimic the British Public School tradition.
Beautifully groomed children swarm through Darjeeling streets at various times of the day in a kaleidoscope of brightly colour blazers, pants, dresses and scarves.

To my eye, their faces - male or female - seem far more beautiful than my experience of Australian children.
Indicators of their affluence range from beautifully spoken English, through ubiquitous fiddling with data phones to queuing for the ATM.

The town is full of advertising for scholastic coaches, especially as December is the month of entrance exams.
For the area towns, the 10000 or so boarders bring huge benefits in terms of consumption of everything that an affluent student needs during and after school, as well as labour and materials needed by the school itself.
One on the most prestigious, that we peered into, was St. Joseph's.

Just down the hill from Darjeeling, on the north point of the town, this magnificent school is locked away from public access, delivering Jesuit education to 800 students.
The reason that this industry exists and mimics British upper class educational style and standards is another legacy of the British Raj.
The reason that Darjeeling benefits so much from this market harks back to the exclusive schools that were established to educate the children of the British rulers who lived here for a significant portion of the year.
Rich modern post-colonial Indian parents still believe that the highest standards of education are those that follow a British tradition - and are exclusive.
There are of course separate state schools for local children.

Hill schools face pupil flight

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