Choosing the right school for their children can be a daunting task for parents. They often browse through a gazillion brochures and websites before making this important decision. The quality of education, well-trained faculty and sound infrastructure are basic parameters for parents in their search for the right school for their children.
However, parents should have a thorough knowledge about a school’s curriculum before choosing one. For most parents, apart from the bits of information available online, ‘curriculum’ is a mere abbreviation – CBSE, ICSE, IGCSE, IB, etc.
Most schools highlight the importance and advantages of the educational board, curriculum and syllabus they follow. But, according to experts, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach does not work in the case of school syllabus. As a result, parents end up choosing a syllabus based on its popularity rather than its suitability for the child.
Here are simple tips on how you can avoid this mistake.
Your career plays a crucial role: Yes! This is the most basic tip for parents. Plan your child’s educational board depending on the nature of your job. If there is a high chance that you may have to relocate abroad for work, it is better to choose an international curriculum like the IGCSE or IB or even the CBSE-International. Transfer of schools, shifting from one country to another becomes much easier with an international board.
Your child's learning style: Each educational board follows a distinct teaching style. It is crucial that you understand this and choose the most suitable one for your child. While education in CBSE schools is focussed on developing core skills, IB schools stress more on improving research abilities. Here are the teaching styles followed by various educational boards:
- CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) – Follows a concentric curriculum where the topics taught are built on what was taught the previous academic year.
- CICSE (Council for Indian Certificate of Secondary Examination) - Follows a spiral curriculum where basic facts are taught first to the students and more details are introduced later.
- International boards like IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Examination) and IB (International Baccalaureate) – Follow a learner-centric approach with focus on research and problem-solving skills.
- State Boards: Each state in India offers its own syllabus and evaluation system. The syllabus focusses more on the state’s culture and regional language.
Which college does your child want to attend?
Again, if your child aspires to pursue undergraduate studies outside India, international boards like IGCSE or IB would be better. There are many colleges and schools across the world that offer graduate programmes where various international boards are recognised. Also, when it comes to taking up entrance exams outside India, like the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), students from the international boards are better prepared because of higher quality of teaching languages, especially English.
However, these international boards may not be a good option, if you plan college education for your child within the country. Competitive entrance exams at the all-India level, like the IIT-JEE (Indian Institute of Technology – Joint Entrance Examination), AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Examination) and AIPMT (All India Pre Medical Test), are primarily based on the CBSE syllabus. Hence, parents keen on their kids taking up any of these entrance examinations should go in for the CBSE syllabus.
Similarly, states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, which have a high density of engineering and medical colleges and a high Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), give higher preference to students from the state board for admission into professional courses. Also, medical and engineering colleges in many states, including Tamil Nadu, consider marks scored at school level exams, apart from entrance exams for admission.
Expenses: Schools with international boards are usually among the expensive ones. This is primarily because the syllabus is autonomous and schools have to bear the cost of training the faculty and customising the educational content that leads to higher fees.
In case of CBSE schools, they offer a wide range of choice with respect to the expenses. There are several grades of primary schools and government schools that offer CBSE curriculum.
A vital lesson for parents is not to go by popular opinion or what many schools promise as the best curriculum. One should take into account all the above factors before choosing the curriculum that is most suited to the child.
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