The introduction of International programmes like IB and IGCSE in Indian schools has led to a massive shift in the School Education system in India. International education has changed the ecosystem for the better in schools that introduced these curricula, but it arguably still has some catching up to do in order to reach the levels that schools in America and Europe have achieved. This change has led to increasing comparisons between ICSE, CBSE, and the international boards of IB and IGCSE. These comparisons mostly pertain to how suitable they are according to the context of Indian education.
Here, we discuss and compare IGCSE and the top established school education boards which are ICSE and CBSE, that have been adopted by some of the best Indian schools. For some people, International schools are an upgrade for the best schools, while some believe that the two education systems are completely different. To answer these questions better, we have to undertake a thorough analysis of the national as well as the international education systems. Few major differences have been pointed about IGCSE for those that are accustomed to the ICSE and CBSE education systems.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has a syllabus with extensive coverage of Science and Mathematics and students can achieve good results through conventional teaching methods and dedicated practice of self-study. When compared with Science and Maths, the syllabus of Arts and Humanities is not as intensive. When it comes to social sciences especially, the revised NCERT-approved books are designed to encourage interactive classes and the chapters are designed in a way that helps the children use their imagination. Teachers are hesitant to change their attitude towards teaching because the exam-oriented approach always gives good results. But it stills puts forwards the question of whether the students with the best score in their CBSE results are as competent as the students of IGCSE.
The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) syllabus, especially for arts and humanities, has an advantage over CBSE, along with the language acquisition and emphasis on science practicals. The infrastructure and educational facilities can be said to be better at ICSE schools, and they are also better with their extracurricular activities, but since there are no restrictions on the infrastructure development at CBSE schools, this factor cannot be used to split the difference between the two systems. Yet the ground reality shows that ICSE schools do provide students with better teaching facilities and innovation. There are a few exceptions with some CBSE schools though. Now, another question is whether IGCSE schools are better than the ICSE ones.
Some students have made the transitions from ICSE to IB at the Class 12th level and have chosen the IB Diploma programme in place of opting for the ISC examination. These students have the experience which can be useful to determine the difference in national and international systems of education. The reasons for shifting from ICSE to IB are quite particular. One of these is the international recognition that students get from the IB programme. Another one is that the curriculum for IB is customized as per the needs of the students and teachers also modify their teaching accordingly.
The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exam is taken by the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), which is a department of the University of Cambridge. IGCSE board is another international education programme that is adopted by Indian Schools which makes them a part of the global community of Cambridge Schools. The board also has an incorporated body for Class 10th equivalent certificate examination. The certification that this board provides has international as well as national recognition. Cambridge ‘A’ and ‘AS’ level exams have to be taken by the IGCSE students to gain class XII equivalency. After IGCSE, the students can also choose to pursue the IB Diploma Programme.
IGCSE programmes have a predetermined curriculum and the after IGCSE central theme of the programme is that the assessment is rigorous. Subjects like Development Studies, Indian Studies, etc. are part of its social science curriculum along with languages like Sanskrit and some other foreign languages. It has a comprehensive syllabus that inculcates a strong affinity towards learning and discipline required for higher studies. This board enable a link between academics and global trends. It also incorporates revisions that are recommended by educational researchers and there is a constant addition of courses to the curriculum.
Parents and students have to compare and carefully scrutinize the different curricula to check whether their preferred Indian schools are compatible with the international educational programmes. Some views suggest that IB and IGCSE are still in their experimental stages as they have been adopted by schools fairly recently. But some people also consider them reliable enough based on their international school experience and success. The popularity of IB and IGCSE is only growing according to the trends. The CBSE and ICSE boards have a firm grounding and are themselves undergoing various changes, which has led to new avenues opening up the opportunity for an interface between the National and International education systems. The distinctions between these boards will become more distinct with time and then the parent and students can make a clear choice.