Traditional Schools or Modern Curriculum
These days parents are faced with a new crisis– ICSE or IGCSE. This is a dilemma most parents face while deciding what is best for their kids. While traditional schools offer the familiarity and comfort we’re all used to, know of and have grown with. The new age curriculums offer the promise of getting our kids the exposure we all lacked, the individual attention and focus on personality development that will eventually differentiate them in this big world of fierce competition (and stellar grades)
I have had numerous debates with my husband over what is right and what is too new to try…but what I have come to accept is that the conundrum will never end in my mind and as long as I am the one making the decisions I will always unsure of the consequence. That said I have had the privilege (if I may call it) to send my son to both worlds and have compiled a list of good that can helpful to other parents. In this post, I will not delve into what really is the difference between IB/IGCSE and the traditional NCERT curriculum as there is a lot of material out there for you to consume. This is a general op-ed based solely on my own experiences with sending my child to both these worlds. Again as my son is only in primary school, my experience is limited in terms of the practical application of his education .
Advantages of traditional schools.( aka Convent Education)
1. Discipline! This may work either way depending on your parenting style but the one thing that I liked about my sons convent education was the focus on discipline early on. The need to lay a mat before eating, having school shoes polished, nails and hair clipped, books covered and almanacs signed– everything had a bearing on making him responsible for his own school work. One of the things that helped me in my career ( and business school) when I started living alone was the discipline of keeping things in order so I had more time to focus on what was more important. I’d like to believe that a lot of that came from my own convent education
2. Rigor – the rigor of primary education made it very easy for me to breeze through college and later business school. It didn’t matter how tough any subject was, I was always ready and was used to the pressure. I noticed that with my son as well. It is surprising how easy some kids take to pressure and he always amazed me by managing his school work with ease (even though in some cases I was worried its too much for him ).
3. Values of a grounded middle class education – The need for uniformity helps in providing grounded values that make us who we are . A lot of it relates back to the respect for authority that we all get used to in school. Also with RTE and a general intake parameters ( alumni, sibling preference etc) there is a good chance that your child will have exposure to the real Indian diaspora. Something that will help him later in life
4. Handwriting! – The extreme focus on writing is crucial today. In this new age of technology we have forgotten the use of the simple pen and paper. And the ease of the ‘backspace’ gets in the way of our thought process – so I think that the focus on writing and making that a habit has helped me think clearly and put my thoughts on paper better. I do wonder if that is something that the next generation will lack
5. Cost – these schools are on an average much cheaper than an average IB school
Advantages of an IB Curriculum
1. Exposure! The breadth of activities that your child will be exposed to will make you want to go back to school again. My son is enjoying his new school. It is here that he has discovered his love for yoga or I have discovered how good he is at writing poetry.
2. Self-esteem – he has learnt to question authority, he is not scared to challenge the norm and he has overall become a more confident vocal human being with an opinion – something that he was always scared to do in the convent.
3. Class size – the class size being smaller with more faculty at hand he is able to get the attention he needs in the early years. PTMs are way more meaningful and the teachers handling smaller groups of students find it easier to chalk out each kids individual learning pace
4. Lack of stress- for a parent it is much easier as most of the teaching happens in school and homework is only a reiteration of what was learnt there. In the convent my son did not understand the concepts and a lot of the heavy lifting was left on the parents to do.
5. An opportunity for strength development – I believe not everything will be Einstein – but every child has the potential to move mountains. The new school gives my son the chance to be big and best at something other than studies – it allows for him the time and space so he can find his strength in something and excel in it – it allows the kids to celebrate their differences and enjoy the glory for activities outside of studies!
In the end I would say that the best decision is always made by forces that are not in our control. I used to be stressed about not getting into my ‘dream school’ for my child when my mother told me – some things are best left to destiny. So relax and breathe. There is a school for your child and there is a child for every school. You have you’re your best, and we need to leave the decision to God on giving our children the right platform for their growth and development.