Mon, 6 Dec 2021

How to choose the right board of education

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2019

Boards that assess a child not just on bookish knowledge, but also on extracurricular activities, prepare them to make better education choices in the future and aid them to have sharp problem-solving skills are better, writes Mona Seervai

These days education has such a large number of choices available that it is understandable for parents to feel confused. To add to the existing national and international boards, the government has recently announced a vedic board and an open board for home schooled kids as well. Let us look at the options of some of the popular boards:
School Board
Age-wise Breakup
CICSE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations)
Classes 1-8
Ages 6-14
No prescribed syllabus
from board, but
recommends the Inter
State Board for Anglo
Indian Education
ICSE (Indian Certificate Secondary Education) exam for class X, with some internal assessment
ISC (Indian School Certificate) exam for class XII
CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education)
A Board that follows universal pattern is the first choice for parents with transferable jobs.
CBSE affiliates most of the schools approved by central government of India
Classes 1-8
Ages 6-14
No prescribed syllabus
from board, but
recommends syllabus
laid down by NCERT
All India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE) for class X and XII
CIE (Cambridge International Examinations)
(ages 5–11)
prescribed by CIE
Secondary I
(ages 11–14)
Cambridge Secondary 1 Checkpoint (marked by
Cambridge examiners)
These are examinations conducted by Cambridge Education, founded at Cambridge University.  The number of schools offering this curriculum in India has grown rapidly since 2012. Examinations conducted by this board are:
IGCSE in class X
AS levels and A levels in class XI and XII.
IB (International Baccalaureate), formerly the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), is an international educational foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and founded in 1968
It offers three educational programmes, namely
PYP or Primary year programme for KG to class V
MYP or Middle year programme for Class VI to class X
DP or Diploma programme for class XI and class XII
Examinations are conducted at the end of the diploma programme.
These are marked by external examiners. Marks are awarded from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest) for each subject. A minimum of 24 points is required for the student to receive the diploma certificate
Excerpted from: Indian School System And Overview, December 2014,
How do we make a choice? Educators draw on the work of Jean Piaget (1936) who was the first psychologist to explain how a child constructs a mental model of the world. He enlightened us that cognitive development is a process, which occurs due to biological maturation and interaction with the environment.
Keeping that understanding in view, parents should consider the below factors for selecting an educational board that would work best for their child:  
1.       Geography: While it may sound as an obvious factor, one must understand that not all educational boards are as easily available and affiliated across the country. Institutes affiliated to State Board and CBSE have better presence across the country in comparison to international boards like IGCSE and IB, which are mostly available in metros. In such a case, whether the family is willing to consider a relocation, matters
2.       Assessment methods: Assessing a student’s skill and capability only is not a holistic approach. Students should be assessed for their critical thinking, soft skills, participation in extracurricular activities and overall growth that they display in an academic year. Hence, selecting a board that gives equal weightage to academics and extracurricular activities while assessing students  makes a better choice
3.       Preparing for the future: An extremely important factor to consider is the education boards’ ability to prepare your child for future education choices. Providing students with tools and techniques that help them compete on a global platform is a necessity today to ensure students are future ready.    
4.      Recommendation by a pre-school – Your child has already spent a year or more in a pre-school and teachers are already aware of your child’s learning style. Additionally, they also have a fair feedback from previous students; hence it could be of advantage to know what the preschool has to recommend 
5.       Focus on the process of learning, rather than the end product of it – The pace at which the world is changing, it is difficult to predict what the world will look like when our children graduate. Hence, just preparing them with content is not enough and we must prepare them to ‘understand’ and learn problem solving skills. Parents should actively seek a board that focuses on holistic development of a child by using innovative teaching methodologies such as enquiry-based learning rather than traditional methods of just rote memorisation.    
Ultimately, one must appreciate that there are no black and white conclusive answers as each child is a unique individual, and as parents and educators, our aim must be to help the child realise their potential.
(The author is Mona Seervai, head of school, Mount Litera School International)


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