Complaining about the traffic (and the school run, in particular) is a hot topic, for all city dwellers, but the inhabitants of other global megacities are neophytes compared to the expats in Bangalore.
Naturally, the quality of schooling is of the first importance when choosing where to educate your child – except, possibly, in Bangalore! Here the first consideration is ‘will I actually be able to get my child to the school alive, through the madness on the roads’? Of course, this is an exaggeration, but the total chaos, made up of cars, buses, lorries, bicycles, auto rickshaws, pedestrians and random animals, including the ‘must avoid at all costs’ cows can make the school run (even with a driver) a harrowing experience.
For this reason, living within reasonable distance of your child’s school is a huge bonus and expats are naturally drawn to the suburban areas, where getting to work or school is a chore rather than a nerve-wracking adventure. The traditional spots, chosen ,by expats have tended to be either to the east or north of the centre but the explosive growth of, the aptly named, Electronic City, in the south, has added another potential area for families (particularly if attached to a tech executive), to settle down in.
The names given to the various districts, especially when chosen by former expats, are directly linked to the historical past or to popular ideals of the moment. Thus, we have Richmond Town, home to the British when India was under British rule, along with South Parade, which swiftly morphed into Mahatma Gandhi Road in 1948. Amongst the 21st century offerings are the Prestige Monte Carlo Apartments along with Palm Villas, Prestige Ozone and Sobha Lotus, names all presumably chosen, to indicate the glamorous (and laid-back) lifestyle, they are hoping to promote.
The international schools have, naturally, landed in areas that are relatively easy to reach, but a few of them offer the boarding option, possibly to save parents’ sanity as well as their children’s welfare. The oldest member of this group is the Canadian International School, followed by the International School of Bangalore, Treamis World School and the relative newcomer, Candor International School, opened in 2010. In terms of proximity, Canadian International and Stonehill International School are less than 15 minutes’ drive from the popular expat suburb of Yelahanka and Treamis World School is only about 10 minutes from Electronic City. Otherwise, it’s a question of getting in the car, telling the driver to go and shutting your eyes (or, at least, telling your children to do so) from anything between 20 minutes to over an hour.
The attractive alternative is the school bus service, which almost all the international schools provide, but, at an additional cost, on top of the already breath-taking fees.
The British may have finally left over 70 years ago but there are still traces of their legacy in the school curricula in the international schools and almost all teach IGCSEs, whilst three (Bangalore International School, Inventure Acadamy and Treamis World School), still have A Levels as one of their leaving qualifications. Oakridge International School and Stonehill International follow the IB route from kindergarten to graduation, the difference in syllabus being that Oakridge fits in the IGCSE exams on top. The remainder offer adapted Indian, Cambridge or International Baccalaureate programmes, leading up to the IB Diploma.
For more information on these schools, please go to each school’s individual entry on the GSGI database or The GSGI article 'Best schools in Bangalore considered by expats'.
State and private local schools
State schools in Bangalore are not usually considered by expats and although there are local private schools, most of which teach in English, the fact that it is compulsory to learn Hindi and/or Kannada (the official local language) is a major disincentive for expats.
No worries about practising your faith in Bangalore, as religious options abound including, 1,000 Hindu temples, 4,000 Masjids, 100 Christian churches, three Sikh Gundwaras and two Buddhist Viharas. On the other hand, international schools are less plentiful, particularly ones close to where you live, and Bangalore International School is the only one to offer the American High School Diploma.