Application based curriculum

Students and parents agree that the application based curriculum proves extremely beneficial during the entrance exams.

Though the popularity of the IB program is growing by the day, it faces several challenges in the Indian education market.

The International Baccalaureate diploma is an extremely popular program and an increasing number of students are choosing to pursue it after class 10. However, being an international board, IB faces a slew of challenges in India.

An IB program costs anywhere between 2 to 13 lakhs a year, that is over the budget of many middle class families. The high cost of an international education stems from its smaller classroom size and world class facilities and faculty. Nevertheless some IB schools do offer scholarships and subsidies for meritorious students to prevent the cost of the program from becoming an obstacle.

The IB program has an international repute and involves high academic rigor. Students taking the diploma program opt for subjects at a high and standard level, are required to submit an Extended Essay based on intensive research. Take Theory of Knowledge, which focuses on the abstract and CAS (Creative, Action, Service) which requires them to take part in a variety of extra curricular activities. All this proves to be a daunting task for some students who end up graduating without the diploma and secure IB certificates for the subjects they clear. The diploma program is so intensive that academically average students are sometimes unable to cope with its demands. They graduate with certificates which are perfectly valid for admission in America and Canada but not so much in other countries. Also, in marks that are not sufficient to meet the towering cut offs at several reputed Indian institutions. Out of the 32 students in a batch, only eight or nine secured the diploma with minimum points. The rest of them got certificates. However, students who have decided to stay back are in a real fix with many of them now pursuing correspondence courses because they could not secure admission to any other courses. A spokesperson from the International School Academy (ISA) concurs, the IB grades are converted to a percentage using clearly defined assessment criteria. The issue is how the IBDP percentage compares to the Indian Board percentage. The IBO is working with Indian universities to increase their understanding of the value of the IBDP percentage scores. The IBDP standards are very high and these students will often receive credits for university courses.

The IB board allows tremendous flexibility in choosing subjects. Given that securing high marks can be challenging, students should be prudent in choosing subjects and pick high scoring subjects alongside the subjective ones. It is also vital for students to have some idea of what they plan to pursue in the future. This is especially important if they want to stay back in India post IB. For instance, students planning to pursue medicine must opt for PCMB and for biochemistry PCB is mandatory. If chosen, they should settle for five conventional subjects that are also offered by the local boards and one subject of their choice.

Another hassle with some schools is the problem of predicted scores. Although the predicted scores should be close to the actual scores, there are many instances of over predicted scores. For the predicted scores to match the actual scores it is very important for teachers to be well trained and have the insight to predict the student’s final scores accurately. However this is not the case with all schools.

Given all the fore mentioned challenges alongside a burgeoning number of schools offering the IBDP, it has become imperative for parents and students to be extremely careful choosing the program and short listing a school. D suggests checking the school’s university placement records and talking to existing parents, students as well as counselors.