Higher secondary certificate from India may not be accepted for admission to undergraduate programs in foreign universities. Apart from SAT there are indeed certain other qualifications at the 'plus two level' that are accepted globally for undergraduate admission. Important among them are the IBS and GCSE. Let us examine IB briefly.
IB (INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE) WORLD SCHOOLS
These schools offer three levels of programs with international recognition.
(1) Primary Years Program (age 3-12)
(2) Middle Years Program (age 11-16)
(3) Diploma Program (age 16-19)
Our discussion is confined to the 2-year Diploma program that enables students for admission to undergraduate programs in foreign universities. The qualification stands recognised by many Indian Universities as well. The IB is popular among US public schools because its international focus helps to work with, and benefit from, increasingly multi-cultural student populations. IB programs emphasise quality in learning and skill development. There are more than 881,000 1B students attached to 3085, schools in 139 countries. There are 71 IB World Schools in India offering one or more of the three IB program. 20 schools offer the Primary Years Program, eight schools offer the Middle Years Program and 67 schools offer the Diploma Program. (www.ibo.org/country/IN/index.cfm)
The IB Diploma Program is an academically challenging and balanced program of education that prepares students, normally aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. This has gained recognition and respect from the world's leading universities.
The curriculum of the Diploma program contains six subject groups together with a core made up of three separate parts. Students can choose one subject from each of the following six 'Subject Groups':
Group 1: First Language (English)
Group 2: Second Language (French, Hindi, etc.)
Group 3: Individuals and Societies (History, Economics, Management, Philosophy, etc.)
Group 4: Experimental Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics mental Systems.) Mathematics and Computer Science.
Group 5: Mathematics and Computer Science.
Group 6: The Arts
Out of the six subjects, three are studied at the higher level (courses representing 240 teaching hours), and the remaining three are studied at the standard level (courses representing 150 teaching hours).
The core is made up of three separate parts. All the three parts are compulsory.
(1) Extended essay: This has a prescribed limit of 4,000 words. It offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of individual interest and acquaints students with the independent research and writing skills expected at the university. The focus is on developing that ability for analysis, synthesis and evaluation of knowledge.
(2) Theory of knowledge: This interdisciplinary course Is designed to provide coherence by exploring the nature of knowledge across disciplines. It encourages an appreciation of other cultural perspectives. It prompts children to be aware of themselves as thinkers, and to become acquainted with the complexity of knowledge.
(3) Creativity, action, service: Participation in the school's CAS program encourages students to be involved in artistic pursuits, sports, and community service work, thereby fostering students' awareness and appreciation of life outside the academic arena. It provides a refreshing counterbalance to academic studies. Activities such as designing and implementing service projects, participating in expeditions, and helping children with special needs help in developing a well rounded personality.
The assessment procedures measure the extent to which students have mastered such academic skills as:
• Retaining knowledge
• Understanding key concepts
• Applying standard methods
• Analysing and presenting information
• Evaluating and constructing arguments
• Solving problems creatively
The assessment encourages an international outlook and inter-cultural skills. IB World School locations in each country can be searched from the website www.ibo.org. It may be noted that education in IB schools is expensive compared to that in our regular schools. For further details of IB, you may visit the site www.ibo.org.