Every parent wants the best for their child and the best education for their child is at the top of the list. There are many factors that parents consider when choosing a school for their child and one of the most important factors is the board the school is affiliated with. Choosing the education council that is right for the child can help nurture them at an early age and play a vital role in their career and personality development.
Evolution of signs
It is important to understand that education is for nation building. Therefore, each country designs its education system (and relevant administrations) accordingly. For example, after India’s independence, there was a strong need and demand for physical infrastructure, space, roads, steel mills, mines, bridges, dams, etc. So engineering and technology education was central. IITs and NITs have been created. CBSE was introduced with an emphasis on STEM education to prepare students for the future of the country.
Choosing the right education board
Knowledge and information are essential for making the right choice. To choose the board that is relevant to a child, we must first understand what each board has to offer and how well their curriculum and teaching methodology align with the child’s life and career goals. Here is an overview of the different boards followed by schools in India and the focus areas of their curriculum.
- Central Council of Secondary Education (CBSE)
CBSE is one of the most common national-level boards in India today, following the NCERT. It is applied in many private and public schools – more than 24000 schools are affiliated with CBSE in India. When it was established in Ajmer, its primary purpose was to enable students to have a smooth transition between different states. It has grown thick and fast over the years.
One of the main advantages of CBSE is that many major exams for higher studies in India are connected with CBSE syllabus. The emphasis is on core subjects such as natural sciences, mathematics, social studies and languages. The curriculum has a strong theoretical approach and the whole idea behind this is to help students gain solid knowledge in these various concepts across core subjects to help them attempt professional courses and entrance exams in the streams of science and mathematics. It is a very good curriculum for students who would like to take up a STEM related career.
If the goal is to pursue professional degrees such as medicine or engineering, the CBSE curriculum is a good choice.
- ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education)
The ICSE curriculum focuses on the basics and foundations of concepts. It aims to create successful learners who enjoy learning and encourages the understanding and application of knowledge to real life experiences. In addition to focusing on concepts in mathematics and science, ICSE also offers equal weight to languages, arts and humanities. This ensures a more balanced, healthier and holistic education. ICSE schools use English as a teaching tool and focus on strengthening language skills. SUPW and community service is a compulsory assessed course. Students are encouraged to pursue community service and develop a sense of community responsibility.
The holistic curriculum, focus on English and other languages, mandatory community service and encouragement to engage in extracurricular activities help build impressive profiles for students applying to colleges and universities abroad. A good foundation in the English language also gives ICSE students an edge over others in language exams such as TOEFL and IELTS.
The Ministry of Education allows each state to design and develop its own syllabus and also conduct a standard exam. The state syllabus is followed in the government run schools and also in some private schools. The state council syllabus is different in each state and is designed for the specific state to teach students about their region and state. The focus is on regional/local language, history (along with national and world history) and culture of the state. With a deep localized approach, the State Board equips students with in-depth knowledge and understanding of their region in addition to the country and the world. For students interested in taking public exams such as the Civil Services Examination, Engineering Service Examinations, and National Defense Academy & Naval Academy Exams, state boards are the best starting point.
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is designed to develop “inquiring, knowledgeable, confident and caring young people”. Apart from the taught subjects, the program focuses on three major requirements – CAS (Creativity Action and Service), TOK (Theory of Knowledge) and the Comprehensive Essay. How do you know what you know – is the focal point in the IB curriculum. The IB curriculum motivates students and helps students develop critical thinking and research skills that are critical to excelling in college and beyond. It equips them with the knowledge and skills to face the real challenges and propose solutions with an open mind and ingenuity. Research and internships are central to the curriculum. They mainly prepare students for universities and jobs off the coasts of India. Studying at an IB-accredited school can also be a game-changer for college or university admissions abroad. Students with an IB degree have higher acceptance rates for universities and colleges than other applicants and more scholarships.
The Cambridge Board curriculum was designed by the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) and is recognized worldwide. Most schools worldwide are members of the Cambridge Board. IGCSE has a broad curriculum based on the UK GCSE curriculum. Schools around the world can adapt it to regional requirements and learning environments. A wide range of subjects allows students to find combinations of subjects that suit their interests and suitability. Cambridge IGCSE helps improve performance by developing creative thinking, research and problem solving skills. Research and internships are central to the curriculum. The curriculum was created to arouse curiosity in students and develop a desire to learn.
As IGCSE is one of the most widely accepted qualifications around the world, it serves as a launch pad for higher and professional studies. The curriculum prioritizes language learning and cultural studies, resulting in well-rounded students. This creates a positive impression when applying for admission to universities of applied sciences abroad.
It is also critical for parents to keep track of their child’s overall performance on a particular board. If a child faces challenges or wants to try something different that is more in line with their passion, interests and life/career goals, they can always switch to a different board.
Students can switch in any grade, but group 8 is considered the best time to switch. If you choose an international board like the IB/Cambridge, the child will help the change at the earliest.
my last thoughts
Given the pace at which the world is evolving, it’s hard to predict what the world will be like when our kids graduate. Regardless of the board, they must be taught to keep an open mind, to investigate and be willing to take on challenges and come up with practical solutions. To develop well-rounded young individuals who are ready for the future, we must focus on holistic education that is immersive, engaging and exciting for learners!
The above views are those of the author.
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