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K12 SchoolJan, 03 2017

How international curriculum is taking over the State boards and creating a new need of teacher occupation

As per a study conducted by the National University of Educational Planning & Administration, as of 2013, there were 478 international schools affiliated to the three foreign boards.

By Vibha Kagzi

Number of schools offering an international syllabus have risen significantly over the years, as students are increasingly moving away from state boards and opting for one of the 3 International boards operational in India –the International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge International Examination (CIE) and Edexcel Examination Board.

As per a study conducted by the National University of Educational Planning & Administration, as of 2013, there were 478 international schools affiliated to the three foreign boards. These were spread across 19 Indian states, with the highest number (318 schools) affiliated to CIE, followed by IB (102) and Edexcel (58). The growth is remarkable, considering the example of first IB school, which was opened in 1976.

International boards provide students a holistic approach to education and development of both disciplinary and interdisciplinary understanding. Students study a range of subjects, and support their academics through their core involvement.It strives to develop ‘global’ citizens with positive attitudes and the ability to evaluate a range of viewpoints.

Additionally, to maintain consistency and standardisation across the globe, there are rules and conditions that schools implementing the international boards have to meet, including class size and teacher-student ratios.Deviation from the standards can have repercussions. On the other hand state boards are unique to each state and teach primarily via rote learning.

The differences in methodology, coupled with student and parent preferences, have convinced number of parents to shift their children to one of the international boards.Two other major parameters that have influenced the move include:

Study abroad plans - In 2015, number of students from India going abroad were 360,000, recording a growth of 17.8 percent. Students are pursuing studies outside India due to the post graduation career opportunities that provide an outstanding ROI on the investment made, best-in-class research facilities and the holistic education.Students and parents believe that a high school education in an international board will not only smoothen the transition, but will aid in the application to a foreign institute or organisation.

Acceptance within India - Growing number of universities and colleges in India are accepting high school graduates from international boards.Thus, individuals who are not necessarily looking to study abroad, but are seeking an application based learning environment without closing their options within India can make the change.

As non-Indian boards increase in popularity and the number of schools with international curricula grow, there comes a need for more qualified teachers.Recent global and Indian research has shown that teacher effectiveness is ‘the most important school-based predictor for student learning’ and that several consecutive years of outstanding teaching can offset the learning deficits of disadvantaged students’.

International curricula, due to their comprehensive approach, require faculty with the appropriate skills set that can stimulate learning in the child. A typical international school will have:

  • Low student-to-teacher ratio.
  • Small classroom sizes with one lead and one support teacher.
  • Domain experts rather than one teacher conducting numerous classes.
  • Subjects like music, language (including foreign languages), science, art, drama, technology, yoga, physical education etc.
  • Personalised attention.
  • Integrated learning.
  • Community involvement.

Implementation of these elements requires teachers and administrators who can impart the fitting skills and international schools are extremely particular about who they recruit.Currently, as there is a dearth in the supply of appropriate faculty, a large numbers of expatriates are being recruited to fill the gap.

Schools are actively scouring the domestic market in search for experienced teachers and, as with any demand exceeding supplies issue, they are willing to pay a higher salary to get qualified staff.According to a number of headhunters, a rise of 20-40% in pay packets is standard.

International schools, by making pay scales more competitive and increasing subject diversity within the school, have created a new need of teachers. In addition to the conventional subjects, international schools are looking for people who can teach Spanish, Mandarin, robotics, piano, drama, yoga and so much more.Furthermore, just having the knowledge base is not enough; execution has to match the school’s philosophy and style as well.

To this issue a number of teacher-training programs, institutes and certifications have emerged with flexible timelines to accommodate working professionals.Course structure includes participants writing essays, learning educational theories and relating those concepts to the classroom experience to get a flavor of what their future students will experience.

In recent years there has been a tremendous growth of international schools in India.More number of parents and students are selecting a more integrated learning curriculum to a rote-learning methodology.This has created a need for teachers and administrators in a wide range of subjects, including those that previously were not popular or available in schools.Additionally, even for the conventional subjects like sciences, international schools are looking for experienced teachers who can effectively inculcate their philosophy and learning methodology, thus paving the path for an expanding teacher profession.

This article has been authored by Vibha Kagzi, Founder and Chief Education Officer, ReachIvy.com

Related: What India can learn from global educational institutions

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