Again, this is a common dilemma among students and parents of International Schools in India. This is because lot of school are moving from one curriculum to other. As a result parents are in quandary, either to move their child to the new curriculum along with school or find a new school with the old curriculum which the student is comfortable with.
International Baccalaureate is a European based non-profit educational foundation where as IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) is an International variant of GCSE qualification for an international student body at a secondary level. General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) are a set of exams taken in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and other British territories.
First point to note is that IGCSE (with A & AS Levels) is a curriculum just like CBSC or ICSE of India, where IGCSE certification is offered at 10th grade or middle school level and A and AS level offered at 11th and 12th grade. IB (including MYP and PYP)) is an Educational framework comprising of PYP and MYP. PYP is a primary level program and MYP is a middle school level program. Framework is a loosely defined set of topics which gives the teacher, the flexibility on how to teach the students in their own way, including teaching the concepts with live examples etc. This is where the catch lies, unfortunately, not many teachers have the skill to do this. This requires a high degree of training, aptitude and skill. Generally, any human being teaches in a way he or she is taught, which makes it difficult to find good IB teachers.
Secondly, IB’s methodology of teaching is holistic, meaning parts of one topic taught are intimately interconnected with the next topic. On the other hand IGCSE teaching methodology is discrete, where one topic may or may not lead to other. IB education is more idealistic in its philosophy, compared to IGCSE which tests academic abilities pragmatically in form of tests.
An IB student takes six subjects, with three at higher level and the othree three at standard level which must include maths, a science, English, and at least one foreign language. Whereas A level has only three subject in depth study. If ones strength is words and writing IB is a better fit. Extended essay is another challenge for lot of students which requires lot of research and writing.
General assessment among some academicians is if a student is planning to pursue a degree in the sciences, maths or subject with an emphasis in those areas in College, IB is more rigorous and will make them college ready.
IB Diploma is very well established and highly regarded international qualification compared to A Levels, as Universities in US give college credit for some of the courses, and is accepted at the best universities and colleges.
However, lack of external exams in MYP (IB) level , makes the students lethargic and not take things seriously, especially for those students who lack focus and the drive.
To summarize, we at Uwezo feel, IGCSE is the best option for students upto the 10th grade. And, IB a better option if they are pursuing their degrees in any of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs, which will give them a competitive advantage during college.