Parents are often seen investing a lot of time and effort into the school admission process . After all, your child is going to spend the next 12 years of their lives in that environment. Choice of curriculum is a key factor in the decision of a school.
India is one of those countries that has a wide range of curriculum for K-12 education. Among the Indian curriculum boards, we have two unified curricula across the country- the ICSE and the CBSE. Every state also has an individual State board curriculum on offer. Apart from these, we also have two popular foreign boards- the Cambridge curriculum( IGCSE) and the International Baccalaureate program(IB).
Despite the existence of several boards, India’s education system has been deeply tied to theory-based academic outcomes. With the advent of the New Education Policy in 2020, the education sector has been looking forward to implementing the long-awaited reforms proposed by the NEP.
For a detailed explanation of the pros and cons of each board, see here.
The NEP and IB Learning programme
The NEP has taken a cross-disciplinary approach, with a flexibility of choice as a primary impetus for developing independence of thought in children. The NEP promotes the development of 21st century skills like critical thinking, inquiry-based learning and multilingualism, adopting a holistic approach to development.
Interestingly, there are many reforms proposed in the NEP that match with the current format of the IB board. For example, one of the key reforms of the NEP was to bring the Early Years program into the mainstream curriculum for the very first time in India. Interestingly, the IB has a Primary Years Program(3 to 12-year-olds) that emphasizes experiential and inquiry-based learning. Language learning is also underscored as a means to drive basic reasoning abilities and intercultural understanding.
The NEP emphasizes skills like numeracy and literacy along with the development of social, emotional and cognitive abilities with a practical, application-based approach to learning. The IB learning curriculum is designed for depth of understanding of a subject rather than speed skills that require you to race against time to hit the maximum number of solved questions in an exam.
The IB pedagogy focuses on ‘learning to learn’ and ‘learning to think’ instead of rote-learning. Similar to the CBSE boards, there are no externally evaluated examinations until the class 10 exams or the ‘Middle Years program.’
The first IB school in India was established in 1976 with very few takers, but there has been a burgeoning of schools offering global curricula in the last 15 years.
For a comprehensive list of IB schools in India visit www.ibo.org.
While there has always been a lurking skepticism about the delivery of the IB learning curriculum, especially with respect to the cost and the ability to deliver, there has been a steady increase in the number of IB schools. Schools like Oakridge International school offer the complete range of IB learning benefits with trained faculty and a blended pedagogy approach. Oakridge International School is an international baccalaureate affiliated school headquartered in Hyderabad, India. They also provide the IBDP and CBSE syllabus.
The IB learning program offers the Approaches to Learning( ATLs) right from the Middle Years program( beginning 11-16 years) which is focused on getting students to learn how to learn and stimulate their thinking process. It is designed with the objective of helping students learn about themselves.
IB’s Diploma Programme (16 to 19-year-old)
The NEP’s drastic reform is to do away with having to study all subjects confined to a stream and offer flexibility to choose from different groups. The International Baccalaureate- IB offers the exact same thing across 6 different subject groups, promoting a multi-disciplinary approach to learning.
The NEP as a policy framework is great, but its success totally depends on its implementation by practitioners at the grassroots level. The IB learning framework could serve as a great guideline for the successful implementation of the NEP in India.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko: