Board basics

There are no black-and-white answers — each student is unique, and must opt for institutes and boards that help optimise his/her potential

Published - April 07, 2019 10:00 am IST

Across the country, students would have completed their class X board exams. Like most of their peers, the discussion on what do after class X, would be in progress, and like every batch, the current set of students will be facing a similar dilemma. Traditionally, students select between science, commerce and arts. However, while keeping a larger picture in perspective, students should also consider selecting an education board that will assist them in their higher education.

Transitioning to different boards can be a challenge for a few, who have grown up learning through a certain board. So, what factors must be considered to switch boards after class X to ensure better prospects for a higher education in India or abroad? Here are some points to ponder over, while zeroing-in on the best fit:

State board: Highly saturated and easily available across the country, the stateboard uses a syllabus prescribed by the education department. This board prefers the traditional methods of rote memorisation, and assesses students on the basis of marks and percentages. In comparison to other boards, state board does not enjoy widespread international recognition, and the training offered for global competitive exams is slightly underwhelming.

CBSE: Just as state board, CBSE is also highly saturated across the country, and prefers traditional methods of learning. This board uses a syllabus laid down by NCERT, and enjoys a national, as well as, international recognition. Students are assessed on the basis of percentage, and are provided some basic training for global competitive exams.

ICSE: ICSE follows the syllabus laid down by the Inter State Board for Anglo Indian Education. This board is not as highly saturated as the first two. In other words, it will take some research to look for affiliated institutes in tier-II cities and towns. The board is recognised nationally as well as internationally, and uses application-based teaching methodology. The board provides a good level of training for global competitive exams, and students are assessed on the basis of marks and percentage.

CIE/IGCSE: This board follows the curriculum prescribed by Cambridge International Examinations, and institutes affiliated to this board are mostly located in the metro cities. Students collect credit points for subjects they opt for, and only after completing the required number of credits can they proceed to the next level. This board is well-recognised across the globe, and fully prepares its students for global competitive exams.

International Baccalaureate (IBDP): IBDP is an international board that follows the IB pedagogy, and prefers to use enquiry-based learning methodologies. Mostly available in the metro cities of India, this board places equal importance on academics as well as extracurricular activities, to ensure holistic development. This board also requires students to collect credits for subjects they have chosen. A highly recognised board internationally, IBDP students are well-trained to undertake global competitive exams.

Making the right choice

So, how do you select a board that would work best? The answer lies in having a basic understanding of the students higher educational goals and from where they wish to achieve it.

For example: If you are certain of a higher education abroad, it would then be worth considering a board that is internationally recognised, and prepares you for global competitive exams. Such boards give an obvious advantage over the others. However, if the goal is to learn from the best institutes across India, you need not consider a change in your board, unless you wish to explore a different educational experience.

Both the above examples are, however limited, and there are other factors to consider before coming to a conclusion. Some of these factors are:

Experience with your current educational board : Are you satisfied with the quality of education you have received so far, or would you like to explore new methods and techniques that provide a holistic learning experience?

Geography : While it may seem as an obvious factor, one must understand that not all educational boards are as easily available and affiliated across the country. Boards such as the state and CBSE have a higher saturation, in comparison to international boards such as IGCSE and IB, which are mostly available in metros. In such a case, is the family willing to consider a relocation?

Assessment methods : Assessing a student’s skill and capability only on the basis of marks, is not a holistic approach. Students should be assessed for their critical thinking, soft skills, participation in extracurricular activities and overall growth they display in an academic year. Hence, select a board that gives equal weightage to academics and extracurricular activities.

Preparing for the future: An extremely important factor to consider is the board’s ability to prepare you for future education choices. Providing students with tools and techniques that help compete on a global platform, is a necessity today, to ensure students are future-ready.

It will be useful to students and parents to understand if the board they are considering is offering the above to take them to the next level of education. There are no black and white answers. Ultimately, each student is a unique individual, and good institutes and boards are very important to ensure they realise their full potential.

The writer is Head of School, Mount Litera School International.

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