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Sunday, November 27, 2005

International Curricula

Dear Friends,
Let me share my views on the topic ‘International Curricula’.
Recently, we have been noticing a spurt in the growth of International schools. The entry of these schools have not only brought international curricula closer home, the traditional courses like CBSE, ISC and ICSE are also being given a makeover. These international schools offer various international courses like IB [International Baccalaureate], IGCSE [The International General Certificate of Secondary Education] programmes etc. So what are the relative merits of the international and homegrown curricula for education. The traditional schools teach ‘what to think’. Teachers are bound to teach what is prescribed in the text-book. On the other hand, the international schools teach ‘how to think’ and the curriculum offered by these schools is flexible and non-textbookish. Themes are given and lesson plans, which are largely multi -disciplinary, are developed accordingly. Thus, international curricula develop a student’s mind and de-emphasise rote-learning. The IB and IGCSE courses being offered by these international schools are very practical in their approach, where children are involved in their own learning. The cramming system is discarded unlike the traditional courses. The teacher has a vital role, which primarily is helping the children know how they can learn and understand and that is the philosophy of the international curricula.

Presently, our Aditi school is offering IGCSE courses only which is a two-year programme starting at the class 9 level. But the good news is that for the benefit of younger learners, CIE has also declared the launch of its new Cambridge International Primary Programme in June, 2005 which means students will be able to study the IGCSE from age five through age 18. Though we have not yet started offering this programme, we are following a curriculum that strives to equip students with the skills to learn and acquire knowledge, both individually and collaboratively, allow students to apply their skills and knowledge in diverse contexts and provide internationally relevant content while responding to local requirements.

How relevant and useful are the International Baccalaureate (IB) and other International Programmes like Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) in a country like India is a big issue. Our Indian curriculum is definitely more exam oriented and theoretical when compared to IB and CIE programmes. There is a marked difference between the two systems in the style of answering questions, methods of teaching, approach etc. IB and CIE programmes would be more relevant for Indian students who want to pursue their higher education abroad. But, given the dismal numbers of such students, ICSE, CBSE, and other State sponsored exams will always be more relevant than the other systems of international origin. In order to bring our educational system more in alignment with these International Programmes, the NCERT, India has prepared new syllabi according to the National Curriculum Framework-2005. Some of the considerations taken into account in the syllabi are as follows:
Appropriateness of topics and themes for the relevant psychological stages of children’s development.
Linkage between school knowledge and children’s everyday experiences.
Softening of boundaries between subject areas, thematic linkages and centrality to activities and innovative teaching practices.
If these changes are implemented effectively, the IB and CIE Programmes could assume a new relevance.

Gulab

4 Comments:

  • beautiful essay sir.

    By Blogger a.v.koshy, at 6:08 AM  

  • Very relevant consideration, Gulab, and also I think you are assessment of the diferences in the curricula is valid. Your essay should highlight how the choice of the curriculum would affect your practice and whether you are able to build in the strengths of one curriculum while delivering the other!

    By Blogger Tara Kini, at 10:58 PM  

  • You have reflected my thoughts too in your essay Mr. Gulab. Though I have not had a chance to teach IGCSE at Aditi, I am very sure of the advantages our students have over the ICSE students. Our education should be focussed on how to make the children understand the concepts, whether it is the primary level or the higher level and not based on how much they can remember facts.

    By Blogger kalpanau, at 9:21 PM  

  • You have reflected my thoughts too in your essay Mr. Gulab. Though I have not had a chance to teach IGCSE at Aditi, I am very sure of the advantages our students have over the ICSE students. Our education should be focussed on how to make the children understand the concepts, whether it is the primary level or the higher level and not based on how much they can remember facts.

    By Blogger kalpanau, at 9:21 PM  

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