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Which board is the best choice for studying abroad?

While studying abroad, you get to travel the world, see new places, and learn from different experts. However, the curriculum or board you study can make studying abroad and getting into college easier or harder. Selecting the right board can be a difficult task; you want to choose a board based on its pedagogy, adaptability to other levels of study. These boards or curriculum are developed by different educational bodies to help learners get a holistic education. However, due to the differences in these curriculum, it can be hard to switch between them. Here’s a list of some popular boards.

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)

The CBSE is a standardised national curriculum offered in over 24 countries worldwide, controlled and managed by India’s Central government. There are more than 17000 schools worldwide affiliated with the CBSE board, with a majority of them located in India. The CBSE consists of private and public schools. All of which follow the NCERT curriculum produced by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). These institutions take a holistic approach to education. They are crafted to cover all possible learning enhancements necessary for kids at a singular level or grade. The NCERT curriculum offered in these schools adapts learning to a child’s age and IQ level.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

This is a global, non-profit scholarly program run by the international baccalaureate organisation (IBO) based in Switzerland. It offers 3 educational programs –

  • The Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) for kindergarten to class 5
  • The Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) for classes 6 to 10
  • The Diploma Programme (IBDP), a rigorous 2-year program for classes 11 and 12.

These programs aim to boost your intellectual, emotional, social, and personal skills. They are tailor-made for pupils aged 3 to 19, but the IB diploma program is the most prevalent one.

International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)

This is a rigorous, globally recognised curriculum that utilises the English language as the main language of instruction. Designed by the Cambridge international examinations, it is equivalent to the GCSE and the GCE O levels taken in the UK. It’s offered from classes 9 to 10 and emphasises the development of critical skills such as creative thinking, inquiry, and problem-solving. It lays the groundwork for lifelong learning, and even though it has an international outlook, it retains local relevance. This board has several benefits, such as its globally recognised, and learners can apply to foreign universities where CBSE or ICSE aren’t recognised. It’s also more advanced, offering various subjects to choose from; however, it places more emphasis on English and technical subjects.

Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE)

This is another Indian favorite. The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, a private secondary education board in India, runs this board. That is why sometimes this curriculum is also referred to as CICSE.

Now that you know some of the boards, you need to understand how your choice impacts your prospects of studying abroad. The right board might not always ensure that you get to study abroad, but it can help you get admission to universities abroad. Whether you are looking into international school in Tokyo or otherwise, here is some helpful information on how your boards affect your chances of studying abroad.

  1. You cannot standardise scores between different boards

Given how different these curriculum are, it’s hard to standardise scores across examination boards. For those taking IB or IGCSE, their scores cannot be normalised and compared against CBSE, ICSE and state boards. Over 90 per cent of students studying international curriculum end up going abroad to study, no matter what their scores are, since they do not have many alternatives to further their education domestically. Choosing A levels or an IB diploma program can be limiting since it restricts your options when it comes to college and university.

  1. Many home-schooled children also get to study abroad

A lot of parents nowadays are opting to home school their children. Just because you were home-schooled, it doesn’t mean you can’t get admission into some of the world’s most prestigious colleges and universities. MIT, for example, has a long history of admitting home-schooled students from all over the world. This proves that applicants from non-traditional education backgrounds can also get admissions in colleges and universities abroad, even without taking exams from traditional boards.

  1. The CBSE versus ICSE debate does not matter

The debate between which board is better has been a long-standing feud. However, on an international stage, which board you took doesn’t really matter as most international learning institutions use international curriculum as standard boards. There are upsides to taking these boards, and the skills and values impacted can be quite helpful as you further your education.

Learning institutions focus on overall merit parameters and all-around capability. An excellent portfolio tends to carry as much weight as the scores when it comes to admissions. While exam scores are used as cutoffs for applying, they cannot guarantee much on their own. Colleges and universities tend to look for real aptitude and capability and on what contributions the student can bring to their society and class.



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