There are 360 boarding students in the school, aged 8 to 17, studying in classes 4 to 12. These students are drawn from all over India and several countries abroad. Admission is highly selective, and only about 12% of the applicants are accepted. Students are chosen for character and talent, in addition to academic promise.
Educational Programme and Facilities:
The twelve years of schooling are divided into the Junior School which includes preparatory classes for campus children and classes 4 and 5, the Middle School which includes classes 6 to 8, and the Senior School which includes classes 9 to 12.
Classroom spaces and other facilities in each section of the school are suited to the needs of the students and staff at that level. The Senior School facilities include an excellent library (with audio listening stations), well-equipped science laboratories, an audio-visual room with an extensive collection of video tapes, and an actively used computer centre. The Junior and Middle Schools occupy a separate complex which has recently been extended to include new and larger classrooms, an open assembly space, a mathematics curriculum-cum-activity room, and a junior science laboratory. There is also a well-stocked library for the Junior and Middle Schools, and computer facilities are available for Middle School students. In non-academic areas, the facilities include provisions for all major sports; an arts and crafts department with a range of activities such as carpentry, pottery, weaving, batik and fine art; and special interest clubs for topics such as photography, mathematics, electronics, current affairs, birdwatching, cookery and dramatics.
The Junior and Middle Schools:
At the Junior and Middle School levels, Rishi Valley teachers have a high degree of autonomy in deciding curriculum, teaching methods and evaluation systems. Emphasis is given to developing basic concepts in subject areas, skills of various types, and wider perspectives that incorporate the educational values of the school. A flexible curriculum, periodically reviewed and updated by the staff, has been developed keeping in mind current trends in education and the developmental level of children at each age group.
In the Junior School classes, a rich learning environment is provided. Painting, craft, music and drama are an integral part of the curriculum. Students are encouraged to pursue their interests beyond curricular learning. There is an ongoing programme to create learning materials that enhance the concrete experiences which are the basis of concept formation and skill development in languages and mathematics. The immediate natural and human environment of Rishi Valley provides the starting point for curricular themes of environmental studies. Field trips, discussions and project work help to enhance children's awareness and understanding of the world. Evaluation is based on ongoing teacher observations and classwork. Minimal homework is assigned at this stage.
In the Middle School - that is, from class 6 onwards - the curriculum is broadened to match the growing abilities of students in assimilating information and grasping abstract ideas. Specialized subjects and greater academic rigour are progressively introduced. In classes 6 and 7, students learn General Science, History and Geography, in addition to Languages and Mathematics. Subject matter and concepts are presented using audio-visual media, teacher-designed worksheets, visits to the laboratory and mathematics room, project work in the library, and field trips and excursions to surrounding areas. Students are encouraged to participate in classroom discussions, think for themselves, and develop an enquiring attitude. Written assignments, oral presentations and homework exercises are a regular part of the learning and evaluation process at this stage. In class 8 - which is a transition class into the Senior School - the specialized science disciplines of Physics, Chemistry and Biology are introduced and a beginning is made towards teaching the class 10 examination syllabus. Periodic tests, conducted at the discretion of the subject teachers, are now a regular part of the evaluation process.
The medium of instruction is English. In addition, all students study Hindi and Telugu until class 8. One among these two is the second language, and the other, the third language. (The second language is studied in greater depth). The study of the second language is continued up to class 10.
The Senior School:
At the Senior School level, instruction is offered in the Sciences, the Humanities, Art, Commerce, Accounting, and Hindi and Telugu literature. The educational programme is oriented towards preparing the students for the ICSE (class 10) and ISC (class 12) examinations. At the end of class 9, students take final examinations for the first time.
The academic curriculum is balanced by dramatics, sports and work experience which includes participation in the other activities of the Centre like rural education and afforestation.
Students of class 9 participate in a 'Project Week', during which they work exclusively on a topic of their choice Topics outside the curriculum are suggested by teachers who also guide students through library research, practical work and field visits.
The last two years at Rishi Valley School form a separate programme for which admissions are open and students of class 10 are screened anew as candidates. Each student in the 'Plus-2' course chooses four subjects in addition to English, which are then studied intensively for two years.
Students of class 11 take a programme of courses in General Studies (outside the ISC syllabus) aimed primarily at broadening the students' concerns for the human condition and for the natural environment, and bringing them into contact with contemporary issues.
For all classes, one period a week is designated as a 'culture class' where any topic of interest may be taken up for extended discussion. The aim of these classes is to enlarge students' intellectual and emotional horizons.
Between one and three periods a week are reserved for the class teacher to discuss and help solve specific problems, and to facilitate interaction between students.
Academic courses include Maths, Science, Literature in English, Hindi & Telugu, Commerce, Accounts, Economics, History, Geography, Art, Music & Computer Science.
There are 21 small hostels, each of which accomodates a number ranging from 12 to 22 students. Boys and girls belonging to classes 4 and 5 live in the same house, while older ones live in separate houses.
Members of the teaching staff, who live in staff quarters within a house, act as house parents. Life in the hostel is meant to instill the values of co-operation, self-restraint, and sharing. The interaction between teachers and students outside the classroom is considered a very important part of living and learning at Rishi Valley. The school does not have a system of house prefects; no student has authority over another.
The School Faculty:
The school has a highly qualified and dedicated staff from all parts of India, engaged in giving instruction in both academic and non- academic subjects. Most have done postgraduate work, many have doctorates and a few have engineering degrees. The student teacher ratio is about 7:1.
There is a regular teacher and student exchange programme with University College School (UCS) in London and the Krishnamurti Foundation schools - Brockwood Park in England and Oak Grove School in the United States.
We welcome as teaching faculty persons genuinely interested in education, and try to offer them an atmosphere that encourages innovative work.
We also welcome as visiting faculty, persons who would like to teach in the school for limited periods ranging from a term up to two years.