In the past decade, more parents have started leaning towards International school curriculum like the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). The interest in international curriculum has increased multi-fold in the last 15 years in India with over 700 schools offering IB, IGCSE or other international programmes. The growing acceptance of these programmes can be linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is reshaping the way we learn, interact, and work. Parents are gradually realising that their children are growing up in a different world and they would benefit from a different learning approach that is in accordance with the real world. There are many reasons why parents prefer international curricula now, let’s take a closer look at them.
While most traditional curricula allow a student to only study a fixed set of subjects, international curricula like IB and IGCSE offer a wider subject choice to students. From science to vocational and from accounts to IT, students have a lot more options to choose from. Learners are in charge of what they want to study and at what level of difficulty. Unlike other boards, IGCSE allows students to choose between a core curriculum (standard for everyone) and an extended curriculum (more detailed and challenging) depending on their academic capabilities. Similarly, IB allows students to choose 3 subjects at a standard level and 3 at high level with more in-depth knowledge of subject. This way the learners feel in control of their education and tend to put more effort in studying a curriculum they have selected.
Another important factor that makes international curriculum the first choice of many parents is how the learners are evaluated throughout the term. While most traditional boards base their assessment on written papers that test a student’s memorising skills, international programmes have a different approach. The students are evaluated through oral, written and practical exams that test their understanding of concepts instead of mere reiterating. The papers are set in a way that they encourage students to apply their learning and thus allow them to retain their knowledge long after the exams.
Every parent wants their child to learn from a highly educated and trained teacher who is up to date with the latest changes in syllabus and teaching methodology. International boards require educators to regularly attend workshops to enhance their skill sets. These training programmes focus on pedagogy, assessment, inquiry in the classroom, etc. Teachers from every board are qualified to teach and have a good knowledge of the content but educators associated with international curriculum are also trained on the right way to teach.
While traditional curriculum revolves around knowledge and rote learning, international curricula focuses on building skills that are needed out in the global world. With subjects like Global Perspectives and components like Theory of Knowledge, they aim to inculcate the skills of critical thinking, analysis and argumentation. These skills have a global significance and are sought after during university admissions. Learners from international curricula are not only better prepared for international studies but are also ready to live in and adapt to any geographical location and cultures.
Another deciding factor for parents while choosing a curriculum for their children is the classroom strength. While most national/state board curriculum schools have the classroom strength of 40-60, international schools have only 20-25 students in a class. With fewer learners in the classroom, there is more room for one-on-one interaction with the educators. Teachers are able to carry out meaningful learning engagements and the class is more student-driven as opposed to being teacher-driven, as is the case with traditional curriculum. The smaller size allows educators to direct their teaching in a way that incorporates every learner’s pace as they ask questions along the way.