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Indian students make the grade

University of CIE, UK, which conducts examinations in 150 countries, has analysed comparative results of the past year and India beats the world average, reports Kiran Wadhwa.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2008 01:25 IST
Kiran Wadhwa

When it comes to cracking exams, Indian children are right up there with the best in the world — and now there’s proof.

University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), UK, which conducts examinations in 150 countries, has analysed comparative results of the past year and India beats the world average.

About 15,000 students in India took the Class 10 and Class 12 International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations. While the world average for students getting A and A* grades was 28 per cent, in India 34 per cent scored top grades.

Since the CIE is uniform around the world, these results serve as a benchmark to determine Indian students’ aptitude.

“Indian students are a lot more diligent. Also, children here have a lot more parental support, which makes them fare better,” said Ian Chambers, regional CIE head for Southeast Asia. “As a nation, too, there is a lot of emphasis on academics here.”

Mumbai has the largest number of schools (about 45) following the IGCSE curriculum in the country, and the number is growing by about 40 per cent per year. Results for this year’s batch are out in August and, while no analysis has been done yet, a similar trend is expected.

Very few Indian students got lower grades in 2007; only 7 per cent got an E grade. And Indians do better in maths, science, business studies and economics.

Principals of IGCSE schools know their students have an edge in logical subjects. “In our school, most students get A or A* in maths and science. After these subjects, business studies and economics are our strengths,” said Vandana Lulla, principal, Podar World School, Santacruz, which has eight batches of IGCSE. “Our problems begin in languages. Abroad, communication skills are far more developed.”

She admitted Indian students had a long way to go in verbal and language-based subjects.

“Children enjoy the experience of learning, which is very different from rote learning that they are used to,” said Museeb Rais, managing director, RIMS International School, Juhu, the city’s first IGCSE school. “And once you enjoy something, you automatically work harder and fare better. It (IGCSE) explores the potential of students and challenges their creativity.”

Jessie Vaz, principal, Jamnabai Narsee School, Juhu, said the method of study was “very independent”. The school started IGCSE two years ago.

“Though children have come from a different syllabus, they have adapted very well,” Vaz said. “So far, the results have been very encouraging. Parents, too, seem to have understood the system.”