Ritu Dubey, Head of School, MRIS Sector 14 Faridabad, an IB Candidate* School
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) are two of the most popular educational systems in India. While CBSE is a national board, IB is an international education board that offers programs to students from the ages of 3 to 19. Both educational systems have their own unique features, and choosing between them can be a daunting task for parents and students alike.
A comparative analysis of CBSE and IB curriculum can help students and parents get an overall understanding on both these subject matters and help them to make an informed decision.
What does the curriculum look like for CBSE and IB
The CBSE curriculum is based on the National Curriculum Framework, which is designed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). The curriculum is divided into two stages, primary (Classes 1-5) and secondary (Classes 6-12). The focus of the CBSE curriculum is on developing a strong foundation in mathematics and science, along with a well-rounded education in languages, social sciences, and arts.
On the other hand, the IB curriculum is designed to provide a comprehensive and internationally recognised education to students. IB, with a seat in Geneva, Switzerland, offers a standardized international curriculum that remains the same across the globe. At the heart of IB is the IB Learner profile which it aspires to develop for each learner through developing skills and applying the latter. The learner would gain deeper conceptual understanding in varied local and global contexts through an inquiry-led instruction which focuses on conceptual understanding. With formative and summative assessments, the curriculum aspires to develop international mindedness leading to global citizenship.
The curriculum is divided into four programs – Primary Years Program (PYP), Middle Years Program (MYP), Diploma Program (DP), and Career-related Program (CP).
Many of us are familiar with ‘learning for the exam’ from our school days. The CBSE curriculum is designed for learning through memorisation, where students are expected to memorise information and reproduce it during exams. The focus is on textbook learning and students are evaluated based on their ability to produce information consumed during the classes and through their books. However, in recent years, the CBSE has introduced new teaching methodologies such as experiential learning, project-based learning, and activity-based learning.
The IB curriculum, on the other hand, emphasises inquiry-based learning, where students are encouraged to ask questions, explore ideas, and think critically. IB learning is inclined on developing life skills amongst the learner group from a very young age, hence the focus is on developing a deep understanding of concepts, rather than memorising information. The IB curriculum also promotes interdisciplinary learning, where students are encouraged to make connections between different subjects and explore their relationships.
The Assessment System
The CBSE assessment system is based on a final exam at the end of each academic year, which determines the student’s promotion to the next grade. The exams are based on the curriculum and are designed to evaluate the student’s knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. However, in recent years, the CBSE has introduced a system of continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE), where students are evaluated on the basis of their performance in various activities throughout the year.
The IB assessment system is based on a combination of internal assessment and external assessment. Internal assessment is carried out by teachers throughout the academic year and includes assignments, projects, and presentations. External assessment is carried out through exams at the end of each program. The IB assessment system is designed to evaluate the student’s knowledge, understanding, and application of concepts, along with their ability to think critically and communicate effectively.
Value of Recognition
The CBSE curriculum is recognised by most universities and colleges in India, and students who complete the CBSE curriculum are eligible to apply for higher education in India. However, the CBSE curriculum is not recognised internationally, and students who wish to pursue higher education abroad may need to take additional courses or exams.
The IB curriculum is recognised by universities and colleges worldwide, and students who complete the IB curriculum are eligible to apply for higher education in any country. The IB curriculum is highly respected by universities and is often seen as an indicator of academic excellence. IB curriculum is pursued by more than 160 countries across 5000 + schools around the world.
Both CBSE and IB curriculum have their own unique features, and choosing between them can be a tricky decision. However, with faster globalisation and geographical boundaries diminishing due to digitisation, an IB assessment system gains more value, which is recognised globally.
Ultimately, the decision between CBSE and IB curriculum depends on the individual needs and preferences of the student. Students who prefer a more traditional approach to learning and plan to pursue higher education in India may find the CBSE curriculum to be a better fit for them. On the other hand, students who are interested in a more international and interdisciplinary approach to learning and plan to pursue higher education abroad may find the IB curriculum to be a better fit for them.
It’s important to note that both CBSE and IB curriculum are designed to provide a high-quality education to students, and both have their own strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of the curriculum chosen, students who are motivated and dedicated to learning will succeed in achieving their goals.