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Old 8th September 2019, 16:54   #61
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Default Re: ICSE/CBSE/NIOS/State Schooling system comparison

As someone who studied state syllabus but with my son studying in ICSE , here is my feedback. My son is in ICSE from Class I.

What I like.

Syllabus is fantastic. I stress "syllabus" .Well thought out , covers key areas and even for languages the syllabus has a well rounded view. I can never forget the sight of the bewildered look of my son while he tried to understand the history of the Modern and Ancient Olympic games -- a chapter in - you will not beleive this - his Class III (or was it II) Malayalam text book . Among his Hindi lessons in a junior class was one on Vagamon and its surroundings.

Now all this sounds fantastic but atleast in Kerala some of the best teachers are the ones in state syllabus schools. Reason is simple. Maybe with a few exceptions private school teachers are paid peanuts especially in junior classes. End result is most of the time the quality of teaching is far below par for a demanding syllabus like ICSE in junior classes. And outside of the major cities, do not expect much support in terms of guides/coaching centres etc. As one book seller in a major Kerala city told me - with very few schools and even those prescribing different text books, it is not worth their money to stock guidebooks except the very popular ones for higher classes. So in other words be prepared to spend a lot of time helping out your kid at home if you opt for ICSE and living outside a big metro city.

What I do not like

a Lack of standardised text books.

ICSE prescribes the syllabus but schools opt from a choice of text books brought out by different publishers. From the experience with my son, standards vary widely. Some are well written while some others seem to be nothing more than what the author noted down during his/her time as a student. While Pythogoras Theorem may not have changed in the intervening 20 or 50 years , the same cannot be said of for instance in the case of rules regarding Hindu Undivided Family Business in India where laws have significantly changed. In other words I have come accross quite a few cases where text books are not updated. I assume this problem should not be there in State and CBSE syllabus where there are standardised text books.

b Forcing to specialise in Class IX itself instead of Class XI.

As I understand, in State (Kerala) and CBSE, Maths and Science is complusory till you finish Class X. In ICSE the specialisation starts from Class IX. You have to chose between either Science or Commerce from Class IX. And even worse, Maths is not complusory from Class IX if you do not take Science. For Commerce there is a stream where you can opt for Economics instead of Matmematics (I cannot understand this logic). While this may be beneficial for students who genuinely have no interest or aptitude in Mathematics, often schools push students who may have been just victims of indifferent Mathematics teaching to skip both Science and Mathematics altogether. A lot of schools only care about their results. So if they feel that your ward may be a problem in them getting good results they force you either to chose Arts or Commerce (without Maths as an optional subject) or openly suggest you take your ward elsewhere from Class IX onwards.

To sum up I am not saying ICSE is bad. But be prepared to a spend a lot of time tutoring your kids from Class VI to Class VIII, else you may end up with an unpleasant surprise from many schools at the end of Class VIII.

The above opinions are entirely mine . Others ofcourse may have a different story to tell.
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