Thursday, March 27, 2014

Indian Schooling Options (Main Stream Curriculum)

How many main stream schooling options are we aware of? Even if we are aware do we know if they are easily available? What are their advantages and disadvantages? There are about 5 types of main stream schooling options available in India, to name them they are; ICSE/ISC, CBSE, SSC/ HSC, IGCSE, and IB Let’s see each one of them in little bit of detail.

ICSE/ISC (Indian certificate of secondary education/Indian school certificate):
Students from all over India can enroll. The objective of ICSE schooling is to serve the nation’s children through high quality educational endeavors, empowering them to contribute towards a humane, just and pluralistic society.

Advantages are, develops a strong base of understanding of the subjects. It has a special recognition and is treated as equivalent to senior examination of the University of Scotland.

Disadvantages are, ICSE has limited provision in Mumbai & hence an ICSE student has to take up HSC stream along with the SSC students.

CBSE (Secondary board of secondary education):
There are in total of 10,011 schools available in India and outside India i.e. (middle east and South east Asia) affiliated to it. The objectives of CBSE curriculum is to prescribe conditions for examination and conduct public examination at the end of standard X and XII, second to update the curriculum to make it most modern and bring about reforms in exams and evaluation practices, to make learning more student friendly and fun.

Advantages of CBSE board are that it focuses on holistic education which aims to develop various aspects of a student’s personality. It is flexible and responsive to changes in educational thought. And 10th standard boards are optional for students.

Despite the system aiming to lessen stress, the grading system may in fact cause more stress to the students.

SSC (Secondary School Certificate):
Its available for the state of Maharashtra, objective is to support and enhance the national system of common school education structure, in the state of Maharashtra by providing uniform curriculum, common text books, examinations and academic innovations with a flexible scheme of studies suitable to the needs of student.

Advantages are that a SSC mark sheets show the percentage of the marks score in the top 5 subjects.

Disadvantages are limited knowledge, limited scope, and mostly text book oriented.

IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education):
This schooling is available all over the world with schools in157 countries. The aim of IGCSE is to cater to the need for internationally recognize high quality and leading edge qualifications that will meet ongoing demands of employers and educators across the world.

Advantages of a IGCSE school are that it applies knowledge and understanding to familiar and new situations. The student passing out from IGSCE is at par with any other student at the international level in Brain storming and knowledge synthesis at age of 16.

Disadvantages would be that exams are conducted either in May/June or Nov with results issued in Aug and Feb whereas local board results are out by June and college admissions are over by July. However, one can pursue A/As level, or switch to IB board with A, A+ Level to overcome this issue.

IB (The International Baccalaureate):
There are more than 703,000 IB students at 2,591 schools in 134 countries. There are 57 IB world schools in India, offering one or more of the three IB programs. 14 schools offer the primary years program (PYP), 7 Schools offer the Middle Years Program (MYP), and 54 schools offers the diploma program (DP).
The aim of IB schools to offers students an integrated approach to learning across different academic disciplines and it focuses on developing the student’s knowledge and skills needed to meet the challenges of living and working in an increasingly interdependent and globalized society.

An IB school was designed to ensure a cohesive and comprehensive education for students, its program is recognized internationally, and having a high enough IB score will get the students into some of the top universities.

Disadvantages would be the grade conversion would not mirror the effort put in by the students. The diploma program marks students on a scale on 1 to 7 where 1 is ‘very poor’ and 7 is ‘excellent’, when the same is converted to an Indian system, 6 and 7 represents a board bandwidth of marks between 80% to 100%. This puts a question mark on the cut throat competition in India where the cut off for top colleges vary in decimals.

Bharti Sharma,
Career Counselor,


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