How international curriculum is taking over the State boards and created a new need of teacher occupation
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Education Blog 2016-12-07

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

International boards provide students a holistic approach to education and development of both disciplinary and interdisciplinary understanding.

By Founder and Chief Education Officer
How international curriculum is taking over the State boards and created a new need of teacher occupation

The number of schools offering an international syllabus has 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.

A study conducted by the National University of Educational Planning & Administration said that 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 first IB school, for example, was only 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 standardization 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 more and more 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, the number of students from India going abroad was 360,000, recording a growth of 17.8 percent. Students are pursuing studies outside of 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 aid in the application to a foreign institute or organization.

Acceptance within India. A 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 research in India and globally has shown that teacher effectiveness is “the most important school-based predictor of student learning and that several consecutive years of outstanding teaching can offset the learning deficits of disadvantaged students...” (Vegas and Ganimian, 2011).

International curricula, due to their comprehensive approach, require faculty with the appropriate skills sets who 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.
  • Personalized 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. A 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 the 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.

About the author:

This article has been authored by Vibha Kagzi, Founder & CEO, ReachIvy.com based on her personal experience and research. 

Vibha Kagzi holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelor ofScience from Carnegie Mellon University. She has also pursued courses at the University of California, Berkeley, the London School of Economics and the Indian School of Business.

Her professional experience spans finance, fashion, media and public relations. She has worked in New York in asset management and helped establish a California-based hedge fund in India.

She is extremely passionate about education and believes that it is the ultimate social equalizer. Leveraging her personal experience at various academic and professional institutions, she hopes to provide holistic guidance to young individuals who aspire to reach leading universities. Vibha has done a course in creative writing from Xavier’s Institute of Communications and has been featured in the Economic Times, the Indian Express and the Harbus (Harvard Business School’s publication). At Harvard, she co-wrote a case for the negotiations department that has been incorporated in the teaching curriculum at the school.

Vibha has completed a yoga teacher’s training course, is a certified open water diver, is fluent in French, having completed Level 3 at the Alliance Française and has travelled extensively, visiting over 55 countries across six continents.

Vibha is the Co-President of the Harvard Club of Mumbai and on the Carnegie Mellon Admissions Council.

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