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Foreign flavour at old schools

Rising aspirations for a foreign education are making many institutions - including Jesuit schools - adopt international boards. Anjali Lukose and Pragya Priyadarshini report. How the boards have evolved

mumbai Updated: Sep 17, 2012 02:02 IST

Soon, students of the 150-year-old St Stanislaus High School in Bandra will study Shakespeare. They will have to make presentations and do projects on his works. And to aid them, the school is revamping its library.

The school, which is one of the oldest in the city, is planning to introduce the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) curriculum along with the existing state board syllabus. The school is consulting the education commission, parents, alumni and the Jesuit governing body seeking approval for the international board.

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"Implementing the international board at Stanislaus is a pilot project. If it is successful, we will duplicate the system at Holy Family School, Andheri, and St Mary's School, Mazgaon," said Fr Francis Swamy, principal of Holy Family High School, Andheri. Swamy is also the Jesuit province coordinator for education.

A resource person from the IGCSE board has already held an orientation for principals of Mumbai Jesuit schools in August. The school is considering implementing IGCSE in at least two divisions from Class 8 onwards.

Many old schools in the city that diligently subscribed to the state board are introducing international boards such as the Cambridge International Examination (IGCSE in Class 10 and A levels in Class 12) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) board.

Educationists believe this trend is because of the lack of application-based subjects in the current SSC curriculum. "Schools think of the curricula in international boards as a better system for students. Any board, when utilised properly and upgraded to meet certain standards serves well, but today there is need for a research-oriented and practical-based education and IGCSE attempts to achieve that," said Fr Lawrence Ferrao, an educationist.

Rising middle-class aspirations for a foreign degree are also leading parents to consider international boards for their children. Christ Church School, Byculla, has already started advertising for the IGCSE curriculum, which it will start in January 2013. "IGCSE reduces the student's dependence on tuitions and gives them a break from rote-learning. Many parents who hope to send their children abroad for further studies opt for international boards," said Carl Laurie, principal, Christ Church School.

Robert Money School, Grant Road, will start the Edubridge International School from the next academic year.

Talking about this trend of city schools introducing international boards, Sudeshna Chatterjee, principal of Jamnabai Narsee School, Juhu, attributed it to an increase in awareness among parents. Students at Jamnabai school can choose either IGCSE or ICSE from Class 8.

Schools such as Utpal Shanghvi School in Juhu run IGCSE and SSC courses simultaneously and pick the best of both worlds. "We adopt the best practices from IGCSE and implement them while teaching our SSC students and vice versa. SSC students are taught structural grammar and percentage system quite early and we adopt a similar method for IGCSE while incorporating IGCSE's vocabulary-building exercises in the SSC curriculum," said Abha Dharampal, principal of the school. Utpal Shanghvi adopted the IGCSE curriculum in their school in 2005.

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