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Introducing International Curriculum in your school? Here is what you need to know

Ayesha MasoodAyesha Masood, Managing Trustee, Oasis International School, Bengaluru. Oasis International School is a Cambridge International school

Looking at education objectively, no one can deny the need for international exposure in schools. International education aims to prepare for adult life followed by great career options, it believes in a mastery approach that helps build high-level skills in students.

In an increasingly dynamic, technology-driven world, there is a surge in demand among families in metros and cities across India for an international-oriented curriculum for their children in schools to equip them with skills they need in life to succeed.  Many Indians want a globally relevant academic curriculum to be delivered to their children at the K12 level itself.

At Oasis International School, we started offering Cambridge International programmes and qualifications in 2005. We wanted to provide an outstanding international educational experience, that enables students to develop into successful and creative global citizens and future leaders. For us, a “global” programme is a concept that is symbiotic with a truly world class education. To achieve this purpose and make it sustainable, scalable, at our school we established an Educational Organisation Management System based on the Standards of ISO 21001:2018. We believe in accessibility and equity through inclusion, affordability, and accountability. Continuous Professional Development under the Cambridge Professional Development Qualifications (PDQ) helps keep our teachers abreast with the latest pedagogical skills and best practices.

Futuristic schools who aim to nurture students as global citizens and are looking to introduce international programmes, require serious investments in both infrastructure and training. Finding the right education partner for your school is crucial. e. Before starting the search, it’s worth taking time to consider some key aspects:

Is the curriculum flexible?

For schools looking at introducing an international programme, the key requirement is putting in place a well-designed and well-supported curriculum that is aligned to achieving the school’s educational vision and aim. One of the key aspects of an international curriculum is to create lifelong learners and for this to happen, the school needs to aspire to academic excellence that is not just focused on getting higher marks but equally importantly, of fulfilling the potential of every learner and nurturing the competencies learners need to succeed in higher education, the world of work and to lead fulfilled lives. Educators and school administrators are aware that such a curriculum encourages experiential learning, encouraging independent thinking and creativity, therefore they should look at a board where they can shape a curriculum around how they want students to learn, with a wide choice of subjects and flexible ways to offer them.

What support is available for teachers?

The overwhelming body of research finds that the most important factor in improving student outcomes is good teaching. Teaching, and matching the teaching approach to the needs of students, is clearly the responsibility of each school. Good teaching is the key to improving students’ performance, and the board should provide the tools teachers need to enhance existing skills and develop new approaches. This is a career-long process, which in turn requires adequate training, preparation, and exposure of the faculty and the school staff. Teachers and school leaders need to develop their professional thinking and practice continuously. That is why board should invest heavily in providing a variety of high-quality, affordable routes for professional development. The school should partner with a board which offers a wealth of resources like schemes of work, past papers, mark schemes and examiner reports. Teachers at our school talk to the subject experts and Cambridge teachers via the discussion forums. 

What is the assessment approach?

Assessment has two important roles, to prove what a student has learnt and to improve a student’s understanding and skills. Assessments at the end of a programme can provide valuable evidence of a student’s strengths and weaknesses.

International boards design assessments to be fair, valid, reliable, and practicable, so that every exam provides a true picture of a student’s ability, wherever and whenever the exam was taken. A flexible, linear assessment structure maximises teaching and learning time, encouraging a strong grasp of the subject being studied. This helps to support new thinking and encourages cross-curricula connections, a skill, which universities value highly. Assessment should also assess higher order thinking skills, as well as subject knowledge, as this in turn influences what is taught in the classroom. Such assessments have real, lasting value and can be a lifelong passport to further study or employment.

Are the qualifications recognised by universities?

Schools should partner with a board which is recognised internationally and also by local universities. Cambridge qualifications are accepted by universities all around the world including Indian universities. Universities and employers recognise international qualifications as evidence of academic achievement. They understand that the demand of their curricula and the rigour of the assessments give students what they need to flourish in higher education.

Choose a board which works closely with universities, employers, and governments, sharing expertise but also trying to understand their educational challenges so that they work together to ensure a smooth progression for our students.

Does the curriculum prepare learners for the future?

Education should support the development of learners who are confident, responsible, reflective, innovative, and engaged. The purpose of these attributes is to prepare students for life, helping them develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning. Research shows that engaging students in their own learning – for example, via metacognition and active learning – improves outcomes. We encourage students to reflect on their learning, so they can articulate where they are in the learning process, and plan and control their learning strategies. They predict life outcomes at least as well as or better than traditional measures of cognition and have positive and strong effects on important workplace and life outcomes.

The world changes rapidly, bringing with it an ever-shifting array of opportunities, as well as challenges. An international education offers a standardised education model to students across the world and help them in becoming ‘inquisitive, knowledgeable and caring citizens’. It equips students with skills and knowledge to navigate the 21st century world with passion and curiosity.

More than 500 well-reputed and progressive schools in India offer Cambridge programmes and qualifications. Express your interest in becoming a Cambridge International school.

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