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IB, IGCSE focus on online learning, India

mumbai Updated: Apr 07, 2010 00:52 IST
Bhavya Dore

International Baccalaureate (IB)-affiliated schools and students in Mumbai will, from this academic year, have the option of using online learning modules for some subjects in Classes 11 and 12. The project, currently being piloted in schools in other parts of the world, will enable schools to provide online learning solutions in case teachers are absent or on leave or students want extra help.

“Students are tech-savvy these days and enjoy learning online,” said Farzana Dohadwalla, IB spokesperson for South Asia. “It would also work as a back-up in case schools don’t have a teacher for that subject or the teacher isn’t available for a while. Students won’t have to suffer.”

The option of online learning modules will be available whenever schools begin their academic year for 2010, for approximately 10 subjects. The board was unable to give details of which these subjects would be.

International boards, such as the IB and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), bring in changes very slowly, generally over at least an 18-month period, after feasibility studies and pilot programmes. “The boards inform schools of any changes at least two years in advance, and then leaves enough time for teacher training,” said Husein Burhani, academic director of D.Y. Patil International School.

Similarly, from this month, the IGCSE board has introduced a local twist with a course: India studies, which was designed and piloted for three years. The course will deal with contemporary events, “not historical dates” and though it doesn’t have a “fixed starting point or end point” it will broadly cover events In India post-1991, Ian Chambers, South Asia manager for the board, had earlier told Hindustan Times. The cross-disciplinary course will include topics such as the Kashmir conflict, women’s rights and Bollywood’s influence.

“We already have courses like heritage studies, Pakistani studies and Bangladeshi studies, so India studies was a logical step,” said Chambers. He expected the course to have takers across the globe, including East African nations and the UK. “We expect it to generate interest not just in countries with an Indian diaspora but also around the globe given that India is an emerging global power,” he said.

The balance in the English syllabus is also something the IB board is working on, by bringing in a larger language component, as opposed to the literature-heavy curriculum currently in use.