One of the most laborious and complex ordeals that every parent has to go through is deciding which school to put their child into . The evaluation of pros and cons can not merely be done on the basis of locality , crowd , faculty or the size of the school. However important these aspects maybe, there is a very critical factor that a lot of parents fail to inculcate , “the board”.
Every board has a unique value system, the priority of which varies enough to create a huge distinction to a fresh untouched mind. Although CBSE or even ICSE are the most ‘trudged on’ path, there are a few other options for those who wish to create their own path rather than walk on the same old safe worn-out road! IB and IGCSE are the ideal examples of such options.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CURRICULUM:
IB or International Baccalaureate:
It is an internationally accepted board which offers three programmes to students:
i. PYP: The Primary Years Programme (Kindergarten to Class 5).
ii. MYP: The Middle Years Programme (Class 6 to Class 10).
iii. DP: The Diploma Programme (Class 11 to Class 12).
The IB programme was founded in 1968 by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), a non-profit educational organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland. Even though its headquarters is in switzerland, IBO is an independent organisation and is not associated with any particular country. Its mission is to create knowledgeable and compassionate learners . They aim for their students to be risk takers, open minded,balanced and reflective . To achieve this, the focus of the curriculum is on Analytical skills, language, arts and humanities.The curriculum is organized according to:
The written curriculum, which explains what students will learn
The taught curriculum, which sets out how educators teach the students
The assessed curriculum, which details the principles and practice of effective assessments.
Cambridge IGCSE or International General Certificate of Secondary Education:
It is the most famously recognized International curriculum for Class 9 and 10. It is equivalent to the class 10 examination of CBSE or ICSE . Although a person qualified from IGCSE is eligible to sit in any other board for higher education, it is known to act as a precursor to the IB curriculum. It inculcates well defined 5 groups:
- Group 1: Languages (First Language, Second Language, Foreign Language, etc)
- Group 2: Humanities and Social Sciences (Geography, English Literature, History, etc)
- Group 3: Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc)
- Group 4: Mathematics (Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, etc)
- Group 5: Creative, Technical & Vocational (Accounting, Business Studies, Computer Studies, Music, etc)
Students are not just evaluated by written examinations but on the basis of various other tests like oral and listening tests etc . The student is assessed on grade-based system varying from A+ to G which does not state pass or fail in the certificate instead chooses to mention just the grade scored. Five scores of 'C' or higher indicates a student's ability to pursue +2 level qualifications, like the Class 12 CBSE, IB Diploma, Advanced Placement Diploma (US), etc.
The International Certificate of Education (ICE) is a certificate that is awarded to some IGCSE students is more prestigious than the IGCSE. Instead of the five papers needed to qualify the IGCSE, if a student attempts and passes seven or more papers, she/he is awarded the ICE.
The seven subjects must be as follows:
- Two subjects from the language group
- One from each of the other four groups
- One more from any of the five groups
ANALYSING THE POTENTIAL:
For generations, CBSE and ICSE have been placed on a very high pedestal and even though there are various justifications for such an immense level of trust, the unique and practical education system of IGCSE and IB sets them apart from the rest and even outshine them in several areas.
- Building thinkers- These boards strive to shape creative thinkers rather than followers . Their approach towards study encourage the students to 'DO' rather than 'LISTEN' . For example- They urge their students to create their own experiments and follow through to arrive to their own conclusion. Such high proximity to independence compels students to be inventive which is rarely seen in any other board.
- Unrestricted subjects- IB and IGCSE surpass the subject limitation that CBSE and ICSE seems to be bounded by . In CBSE and ICSE the future of a student gets restricted by the field they choose. However, IB and IGCSE allow an amalgamation of various subjects . Globally renowned - IB and IGCSE have an excellent international reputation which eclipses that of the rest.
- Balanced- One of the major ingredients of IB and IGCSE boards is balance. Knowledge is imparted upon students in such a way that every student is the epitome of intellectual, personal, and social balance so that he/she can trump any obstacle that might come their way.
- Languages- In CBSE or ICSE, the language seems to be on periphery of the education system and more emphasis is laid upon technical subjects. However, IB and IGCSE strive to produce multilingual students for which, a variety of languages are offered and students are encouraged to pursue those.
- Beyond The Conventions- IGCSE or IB do not follow the traditional method of going through word to word in the textbook rather, they let their students explore all the resources and decide for themselves which material suits them the best which is why IB prescribes no set textbook from which the child must gobble up the information.
OVERCOMING THE CONS:
'A wise decision is made not just by laying stress on the advantages however by evaluating the cons.' Every remarkable institution in the world has its cons but that does not mean it should be dismissed. If tried hard enough almost all of the cons can be conquered. The following are some of cons of IB and IGCSE board and suitable ways to overlook them:
- A hard nut to crack - A lot of people have a misconception that IB and IGCSE boards are for above average students due to their practical approach studies . However, it is not so. Their intent is not to polish diamonds but to make every rock a diamond. They are undeniably more challenging than the rest but children should not be deterred by hard work if they want to come out on top in the real world where an analytical approach will help them outrun the competition.
- Cost - Cost of such schools tend to be higher which is why a lot of parents avoid this method of education. But what they fail to realize is that with a higher rate of investment comes a higher return on investment too.
- Less centres- ‘One can not expect to stand apart from the crowd by following the crowd'. Besides it is not as uncommon as it may seem.The IGCSE programme has worldwide status and credibility. In India, the course is delivered in over 130 schools with the number expected to touch 600 by 2008. It is recognised by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) as being at parwith CBSE, ICSE, etc.Worldwide, it is delivered in schools in over 140 countries and is recognisedby colleges and universities everywhere, more so in the UK and other Commonwealth countries.
Some prominent IGCSE schools in India are:
- Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai -- Day school
- Ecole Mondiale World School, Mumbai -- Day school
- Ahmedabad International School, Ahmedabad -- Day School
- Riverdale International School, Pune -- Residential school
- DPS International School, Delhi -- Day school
- Pathways World School, Gurgaon -- Residential school
- Woodstock School, Mussoorie -- Residential school
- G D Goenka World School, Gurgaon -- Mixed (both Boarding and Day)
- The International School of Bangalore, Bangalore -- Mixed (both Boarding and Day)
- Good Shepherd International School, Ooty -- Residential school
- Indus International School, Bangalore -- Residential school
- Parkwood School International, Hyderabad -- Residential school
130 IB World schools currently offer one or more of four IB programmes.
PYP is offered by 63 schools, MYP by 21 schools and DP is offered by 110 schools.
At last, it can be said that the keen ideologies of IB and IGCSE are what makes these unique and a challenging way of learning . A well mapped out curriculum has been formed which provides the students with immense independence to create their own future. IGCSE and IB allow a wide variety of subjects to choose from and a very flexible mode of study which is inclined more towards practical approach rather than rote learning in a hope that this technique of study will be more helpful to students as it is more applicable in real life!
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