International Schools Curriculum In India

International Schools Curriculum in India IGCSE, IB |

With increasing rate of global mobility and transfers resulting from change of jobs, numerous families are across countries. Many families are moving to India from different countries around the world. For this reason, there has been a huge increase in the number of International schools, more specifically in metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad. These schools offer one or a combination of renowned international schools curriculum such as the IGCSE, IB, American, and British among similar others.

What Is An International School?

The international school market has seen a massive growth over last decade for the number of international schools rising to double the count across the globe. Well, this rapidly growing number has corresponded with the proliferation of the title, “international” placed on many schools that might have the appearance of being international only in the name. However, there is no standard definition of what makes a school “international.”

The International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) laid out some criteria to delineate an international school. Well, the spectrum in India is quite wide and you will get to see a huge range of international schools. At the broadest definition, the schools that proffer an international schools curriculum starting from class 9 and geared towards an international public exam, like IGCSE, in class 10th and 12th are considered as international schools. However, at the initial levels, these schools might proffer a local curriculum, like ICSE. Contrastingly, there is another end to the spectrum that includes schools that only cater to an expatriate or international population and contain a diverse global teacher base.

IASL Criteria For International Schools

  • Transferability of students’ education across international schools.
  • Multinational and Multilingual student body
  • A moving population (higher than in national public schools)
  • International Accreditation (like, IB, CIS, Western Ass of Schools and Colleges, North Eastern ASC, etc.)
  • An international schools curriculum
  • Non-selective student enrollment
  • A multinational or transient teacher population
  • Usually English or bi-lingual as the language of instruction

Why Go For International Schools?

International schools feature the highest fees that touch even hundred thousand every year. However, generally, these schools offer a better and wider range of co-curricular activities. Such activities are normally not provided in local schools. You can choose to send your child in an international school in following situations:

  • You have plans to reside in India or a short time period and expect to relocate the country soon.
  • You see an international school as a transition school between the previous school of your child and a local school, where the child would be required to make greater adjustments. Moreover, many parents want their child to pursue their education in a flexible and query based approach rather than learning in a more exam oriented approach followed by most schools.
  • You have plans for your child to study abroad. Attending international schools can be helpful to get admissions in colleges of US and other countries. If you do not have any plans to send your child outside India for studies, international schools are not the right choice for your child, more specifically for scrupulous entrance exams for engineering and medical colleges in India.

Switching From International To Local School

Here are some basic adjustment factors your child might experience when shifting from an international schools curriculum to a local curriculum. The most common ones include:

Regular Tests/Examinations

Although international schools also conduct assessments and examinations, their girth and importance placed in the overall assessment is far greater in the local schools.

Language Requirements

Local schools do not offer foreign languages. Usually, it is compulsory to learn Hindi or at least one local language that starts for class 2. For classes between 5 and 8, a second local language might also be required.


International schools usually give less or no homework as contrasted to local schools, particularly in the initial grades. Besides, focus on writing also starts at a much later stage than local schools.

The Learning Approach

The learning approach in an international school is generally focused on questioning and query and not speed and memory. Independent research and learning is also given attention. However, this approach is not necessarily followed in local schools. Rather, exam results are considered as the most important part of learning and evaluation.

Which International Schools Curriculum To Choose?

Making a choice between curricula is an important factor when choosing an international school for your child. Read on a detailed description of some common curricula offered in international schools of India.

International Baccalaureate

The IB program is popular for encouraging inquiry and questions from kids and emphasizes the all-round development with increased focus on community service along with international trips to selected destinations. The IB preschool education discourages the rote learning of facts and emphasizes on conceptual understanding. Kids have access to information through sources like books and the internet, taught at an early stage. The IB Diploma concludes in a school leaving diploma and prepares the students for college. Along with the traditional subjects, the international schools curriculum also includes an Extended Essay of around 4000 words, Creativity Action Service (a program, including Arts, Physical Education, and Community Service), and Theory of Knowledge.

This curriculum also offers flexible language choice. All IB students have the choice to learn more than one language from age 7 onwards. However, the school might restrict the language choice of one or two, but there is no such restriction from IB itself. Most IB schools offer a choice of 2-3 languages in addition to the primary language of instruction. The most common languages offered in Indian IB schools include Spanish, French, and Hindi with English being the medium of instruction.

Cambridge International (ICGSE)

Cambridge International Education (CIE) offers education programs for age group of 5-19 years in about 160 countries. It is affiliated to the University of Cambridge. Usually, Indian schools offering this curriculum follow Cambridge Primary (class 1-5), Secondary (6-8), IGCSE (9-10), and A levels or A/S levels (11-12). Moreover, teachers need special training to get acquainted with the CIE methodology. Also, schools are given a lot of flexibility in the implementation of the curriculum along with the subjects offered. It introduces more subjects like history and geography along with a checkpoint or regular evaluations. The approach is more inclined towards problem solving and application of concepts with a wide range of subject choice including Accounting and Economics.

This leads to difference in way of curriculum adaptation in different schools. IGCSE or Cambridge Secondary 2 is the most renowned international schools curriculum in the world for 14-16 years age group. For this reason, there are numerous international schools in India that offer a hybrid curriculum. This means that they might follow an ICSE or IB curriculum till primary or secondary school and then switch to IGCSE.

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