IGCSE

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Posted by: "George Mangalath Thomas" 

Mon Mar 7, 2011

For what its worth, we went through the same questions when we started home
schooling. Our children were older – my daughter was in her 9th and my son
in his 8th.

We examined the NIOS curriculum and found that it very similar to the
Maharashtra State Board. It was originally based on the CBSE, but has been
dumbed down over the years in order to ensure minimal dropouts (Or so we
were told). We came across a sort of universal opinion that NIOS was for
school dropouts who could not handle regular school. This is probably unfair
to NIOS, which fulfills a very basic need in our education system.

After some more research, we settled upon IGCSE. We have never regretted the
decision. It is a tough examination, with very high standards and an
excellent curriculum. If you plan on learning by rote, you may not get
through. Most schools do not recommend it, as it is not considered
‘scoring’.

IGCSE is the O level version, equivalent to our 10th Std. Board. Then there
is the Cambridge International Examination – AS and A levels, which are
equivalent to our 11th and 12th Std respectively.

My children have loved the experience. My daughter topped the country in
English in her O and A levels and pulled off straight As in all her
subjects. My son did well in his O levels and then last year decided to jump
from a selection of Humanities - Literature, History and Psychology to
Science – Chemistry, Physics and Maths. No school would have given him this
freedom. It has not been easy for him, but he appears to be giving it a good
shot.

We originally had to spend a month in Calcutta for each examination, but now
appear through the Podar School in Bombay – as private candidates. Much more
convenient. The school is helpful with practice for the practicals and
charges a low fee per practice session.

My daughter is in her first year of BA in Sophia College, Bombay. My son
hopes to finish both AS and A levels this year. It’s up to him – we aren’t
pushing.

Hope this has been of some help.