Life at School in Delhi

With the exception of the American Embassy School, which is more or less like a plush version of a US high school, life in Indian schools is quite different than in the West. Students generally are expected to wear uniforms (including ties and uniform shoes) and may even have special uniforms for sports activities. Lockers are not common, so children have to carry books with them all day. Lunch is usually provided in a canteen (normally vegetarian Indian food) and some schools require children to eat at the canteen rather than bring packed lunches. Snacks are usually also available. Normally, there’s one break of about half an hour in the middle of the day for recess, although this varies greatly from school to school and international schools tend to have more breaks. Indian lunch timings are later than in the West, and most people eat lunch around 2 or 3 PM, so it’s not unusual for children to have only a snack during their break and then come home to eat a proper meal.

Most schools have buses although not all neighbourhoods are covered. Most children take the bus, so tardiness is not usually an issue (unless they miss the bus). If a student is absent, he or she must bring a note from home the following day. If the student falls ill during school hours, he or she will be sent to the school nurse and possibly sent home.

The parent-student relationship in India is a bit more formal than in some countries, and students are expected to stand up when the teacher enters the classroom. Students are often addressed by their last names or as Mr/Miss plus their first name. Teachers must be called Sir or Ma’am and speaking back to a teacher is grounds for punishment.