In recent times, the education sector has witnessed a massive transformation with the inclusion of multiple boards that cater to different needs. While there is no one-size-fits-all curriculum, parents now have various options to choose from. Here are pros and cons of some of the Boards:
Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE)
Understanding the need of the hour, the framework adopted by the ICSE Board allows schools to adopt a flexible curriculum keeping the students' growth in mind.
* ICSE allows schools to follow any textbook of their choice.
* The ICSE Board offers a larger variety of subjects to choose from.
* ICSE adopts an inquiry-based learning. It also adds an emphasis on language proficiencies.
* With structured information and equal focus on Languages, Arts and Sciences, it is favoured by those who are more interested in hands-on learning.
* With its flexibility in choosing subjects in higher classes, students with learning disabilities have an option of either dropping subjects or choosing a suitable level in their subjects.
* With the new regulation of an exam in grades 5 and 8, there may be more stress on students for the academic year 2018-2019.
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
CBSE conducts All India Secondary School Examination for Class 10 and All India Senior School Certificate Examination for Class 12.
* It has standardised textbooks. These are published by National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT).
* The biggest benefit of opting for CBSE is that every major competitive examination like the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) is based on this syllabus.
* A certificate from the Central Board of Education is recognised throughout the country. This is mostly favoured by those who relocate often in India.
* As the teaching approach is theoretical, students may not have an understanding of a concept's real-life applications.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
What makes the IB curriculum stand out is its focus on analytical skills, language, arts, humanities.
* IB is offered in three levels: Primary Years Programme (PYP) for Class 1 to 5, Middle Years Programme (MYP) for Class 6 to 10 and the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) for classes 11 and 12.
* Questioning is encouraged in the classroom and so is student discussion.
* Emphasis is laid on hands-on learning.
* The IB curriculum offers students the opportunity to choose how they want to study a particular subject: at higher level (HL) or standard level (SL). While SL courses expose students to the core syllabus of a subject, taking a subject at a higher level allows students to explore the subject indepth.
n IB mandates a maximum classroom strength of 25 students. This makes it easier for the teachers and students to interact closely.
* While it has an established presence abroad, it is a fairly new board in the Indian educational environment. So, experienced and trained IB educators are less when compared to other Boards.
* The fees for an IB school is expensive.
Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE)
The CAIE offers IGCSE, O Level, International AS & A Level and Pre-U exams.
* Usually, CAIE exams are conducted in May and June. However, CAIE allows Indian students to appear for the exam in the month of March so that they can get their results early and meet the admission deadlines of various universities.
* Students have the opportunity to choose subjects based on their interests, career aspiration and aptitude.
* The fee structure is a bit expensive. Hence, this curriculum is often not accessible to everyone.
Secondary State Certificate (SSC)
The SSC Board's syllabus is prepared keeping the requirements of the students of a state in mind.
* Unique to every state in India, SSC attempts to accommodate students of varied capabilities.
* Another advantage of a state board is that the state's history is taught and its primary language is given importance.
* Additionally, the fee structure is lower than other Boards.
* The syllabus might not be comprehensive enough compared to other curricula.
* SSC curriculum does not focus on the practical application of knowledge.
* The classes are large, with each class having around 70 students. This makes it difficult for the teacher to give individual attention to every student.
With these details in mind, choosing the right Board for your child can become easier. However, it is important for parents to choose the appropriate curriculum that suits their child's interest, abilities and skill set.
(The author is with D Y Patil International School Network, Mumbai)