To become an IGCSE school in India, a school has to first establish itself conventionally. It has to be run by a Trust /Society / Section 8 company. Such Trust/Society/Company has to be a non-proprietary organization. There must be a School Managing Committee set up by the Trust/Society. For details visit our previous blog post How to Start a Private School in India?. To Start an IGCSE school in India, the school must have state board’s recognition and should obtain a No Objection Certificate stating that the state has no objection to its affiliation with IGCSE. A school affiliated to any other educational board such as CBSE or ICSE can make a transition to IGCSE provided it meets the standards of the International education board that IGCSE is. IGCSE is the only educational board that is sponsored by a university namely the University of Cambridge. Currently, there are around 10,000 Cambridge schools across 160 countries.
Association of Indian Universities has acknowledged the equivalency of the IGCSE certificates with the school certificates provided by the other boards including CBSE, ICSE and state boards. This in addition to the international recognition by universities and employers of the IGCSE certification has shot up its appeal.
International recognition implies that the student becomes eligible to apply for university education in various arenas in most sought universities across the globe after passing the school. All universities in UK, major universities in the USA , Canada, Australia, Netherlands, etc recognize the IGCSE certificates at par with their own school certificates. The commitment of convincing the universities and creating opportunities for its subscriber school students lies with Cambridge itself which takes measures by reinventing curricula and introducing assignments and assessments. If the school can adapt to a dynamic learning of that level it can aspire for IGCSE affiliation.
For IGCSE recognition the school has to fulfill a set of criteria established by the organization. The criteria pertains to the fitness of the institution in running international curriculum and creating a ground for rigorous assessment of the knowledge levels of the students which provides them with the certification progressively.
The process of for affiliation or recognition with IGCSE starts with an expression of interest followed by a formal application. The application is followed by an assistance visit by the local representative of the organization who assists in the completion of the application and furnishes additional information. After the application comes the visit from the representatives of the approval board. The judgment of the board decides if the school gets the approval to run IGSCE curriculum.
This algorithm of affiliation must not mislead the school promoters. We advise the school promoters to be vary of the oversimplified versions detailed in certain web posts. Here we aim to give a comprehensive picture of the expectations of the international education board. We will elaborate on the features of the organization, the details and specific links to refer and examine your school’s fitness for IGCSE recognition.
As stated above you have to draft an expression of interest, thereafter you have to fill the application form for recognition. Prior to applying you must read through the details provided on Cambridge International Official Website to understand the requirements and assess your ability to fulfill them besides knowing the specifics of the procedure.
It is important to choose the program you want to offer from the entire set of programs which IGCSE offers and prepare a draft of the application fee accordingly. For specific IGCSE fee for the program the school has to furnish details and submit an enquiry form available at the link https://help.cambridgeinternational.org/hc/en-gb/requests/new?ticket_form_id=53542 and the information will be provided. There are call centers to assist the school promoters in getting IGCSE affiliation too.
In order to join the elite group of Cambridge schools, it is essential to understand the IGCSE’s fundamentals, their organization, curricular expectations and standards.
IGCSE is a non-profit organization run by a dedicated department of University of Cambridge, UK. Cambridge boasts of 10 lacs learners in 10000 schools across 160 countries. These are impressive figures indeed but so are their expectations from the schools who want to join the global community the preceding schools have created.
The IGCSE gives freedom to frame the curriculum to the schools provided that the curriculum thus designed meets the board’s expectations of the learning outcomes. The board conducts examinations for assessment and grant of certificates namely O level, A & AS levels which correspond to the class 10th and 12th board certificate exams respectively.
There are keystones of the entire structure of IGCSE which include International Curriculum, Teaching & Learning, Assessment, International Recognition and Global Community.
While we explain all of these so that the school promoters can actively infer the expectations of the board from the schools seeking affiliation. More details are available in IGCSE overview brochure.
The International Curriculum
The IGCSE curriculum has been developed for students of age five through age 19. There are subsets i.e. the primary, middle school, secondary. Cambridge O level (14 -16 years) corresponds to High School and Cambridge A and AS level (16- 19 years) corresponds to Intermediate grades.
The international curriculum which can be designed by individual schools keeping in view the demands of the Cambridge learning standards. It has to be intensive and coherent with the scope of broad cognitive application.
There are curricula for children of 5 to 19 years. Starting from the primary Cambridge through Cambridge Lower Secondary to Upper Secondary and Cambridge advance. The school can choose the span of Cambridge curriculum it wants to run. It can start with a stage and can gradually add stages going finally to certification stage. The exceptional feature is that the Information and Communication Technology is introduced in Cambridge primary (5-11 years) itself. For details visit http://www.cambridgeinternational.org/programmes-and-qualifications/cambridge-primary/cambridge-ict-starters/
The IGCSE professes that its curricula aim at “deep subject knowledge, independent research, work across disciplines keeping learning enjoyable and rewarding, smooth progression from stage to other in a spiral process”. The freedom to design the curriculum is granted keeping in view the diverse needs of culture and national contexts.
‘Cambridge Pathway’ from primary to Cambridge senior secondary and further to Cambridge Advanced cover English, Mathematics, Science, ICT and Global Perspectives in primary and secondary stages from which students advance to Cambridge IGCSE which offers from over 70 subjects, Cambridge O Level 40 subjects, Cambridge ICE certificate in upper secondary(O level and ICE). Cambridge Advanced (AS and A level)
It is a multilingual curriculum and places premium on language acquisition both as a subject and medium of instruction. They emphasize on ‘bilingual education’. This implies that a second language can be used as a medium of instruction. In some countries, certain subjects are taught in their own language, called ‘first language’ besides English. In India however, English is used in the majority of the IGCSE schools as the first language. An additional foreign language is also taught. But if the school chooses it can use English as a ‘second language’ and thus can teach certain subjects in any other language suitable for its students. There are options of a foreign language as well, regional languages can be opted in the curriculum as per the choice of the school. Indian languages have to be taught to maintain relevance for the home country. The practice of bilingual education is in keeping with concepts like Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL).
Next comes the expectations regarding teachers in terms of qualifications and attitude. Adaptability is the byword for efficient teachers as far as the Cambridge curricular expectations are concerned. Knowledge of the subject and proficiency in engaging the students with excellent language skills cannot be exaggerated. There are a lot of training programmes that are conducted for the teacher by IGCSE. Cambridge School Conferences are held for teachers to learn about leading international pedagogical practices. School teachers and leaders can avail Professional Development Qualification Programmes that are provided by a network of professional development centers in several regions to make them accessible to teachers in different locations.
Teachers for an educational enterprise like an international curriculum running school must be chosen with skill set precision and after substantial deliberation. Teacher recruitment drive can be made brief by assistance from talent pool like educatorOne.com.
Assessment pattern includes ‘Summative’ and ‘assessment of learning’. These include ‘end of year exams’ and ‘public exams’. Schools have to follow a ‘code of practice’ for exams. The assessment is central to the entire program. The composite name for Cambridge certificate was Cambridge International Examination which has recently been changed to Cambridge Assessment International Education. IGCSE clearly states that providing world-class examinations is at the core of their functions. Subject-specific knowledge is important, but it has also named skills such as ‘knowledge application’, critical thinking and research as being key to successful progression across all Cambridge programmes.
It is also stated that no student shall be detained in any class till Class VIII. Though the student is promoted he/ she will only be assessed in a subject after clearing the assessment of the previous grade. This ensures that the acquisition of basics of a subject is not compromised.
The schools who aspire to earn their students A and AS level certificates that correspond to class XI and XII respectively, have to prepare the students for primary and middle-level stages by introducing the Cambridge curriculum.
One interesting feature is that the assessment aims at involving students proactively. They learn from their mistakes in such a process.
For details visit http://www.cambridgeinternational.org/images/416992-code-of-practice.pdf
Get ready to be a part of the Global Community
As pointed earlier, the Cambridge has maintained a network of 10,000 schools across 160 countries. This amounts to an international community with the capacity to empower anyone who lags behind. At the same time, it obliges an institution to catch up with the global standards.
A ready support system for the new schools is available through the network of schools. Teacher training and other requirements can be shared with the Cambridge in unison. These are outstanding benefits of being a part of the global community dedicated to an evolved pedagogical program and comes as an exceptional advantage to new entrants into the IGCSE.
Moreover, there is a Cambridge Global Perspectives community which is an online community where the member schools can connect with educators and students from different nations to advance their approaches towards meeting the Cambridge program standards.
In conclusion, it can be stated that IGCSE will assess if the school’s education ecosystem is adaptable to the global perspective that IGCSE introduces with its international pedagogical programme before granting affiliation.
If a thorough study of the documents whose links have been provided above is to be done and assessment of the school’s capacity is made, particularly of the ability of the school system to prepare the students for the certification exams then the move towards IGCSE will turn out be a success story.
School Setup Services | School Setup - FAQ | About Us | Contact School Consultants
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.
Can IB PYP or Cambridge primary curriculum be implemented along with Montessori curriculum?
Although there are aspects of Montessori educational philosophy that are inherent in IB primary years program, but officially when you subscribe to IB you cannot modify it based on any other curriculum design.
Do the Cambridge and IB schools recruit staff from European countries?
Yes there are certain Cambridge and IB schools which have faculty members from other countries as well.
Is it the current trend inclined towards IBDP and A and AS level running schools are only marginally successful?
I don’t believe there is any ‘trend’ biased in favor of IB or Cambridge. Both the organizations i.e. Cambridge International & Edexcel are doing well in the primary level compared to the past. The IB has a place of its own yet none of the organizations have yet been successful in monopolizing the Indian education sector.
Is it correct to say that Cambridge schools prepare the students better for Indian competitive exams when compared to IB schools?
There is an analogous debate involving CBSE and ICSE School and statistics suggest that the curricula cannot determine success exclusively and a curriculum taught and studied well would prove just as good as the other.
I am running a school,up to class 6 in very remote part ,and I want my students to come in main stream of education,but financial problems are hindering my way.Is there any possibilities to overcome it by IGCSE??
While applying for CIE you have mentioned that the school will have to answer which programmes and qualifications it wants to subscribe to and readiness of the school to offer those programmes. Who will assess the readiness of the school?
Cambridge International Examination expects the readiness to be assessed by the school in all fairness and objectivity. It is an introspective exercise of sorts. You will have the assistance of the Cambridge associate but it would be limited to making the instructions comprehensible to the school management.
My children are studying in Cambridge primary school. Sometimes we feel that what they are studying will be difficult for us to help as they will grow. We also we will be able to find tutors for our kids if they need. Are some parts of the course out of our context?
Context is something very subjectively defined. You might have come across material in your child’s workbook or textbook that was difficult for you to wrap your brain around. However, that alone does not mean that there will remain a difficulty throughout your child’s academic career. Meet the counselors and teachers and gradually you will comprehend better.
We are running Cambridge primary but the feedback we are getting from parents is mixed. We are trying to locate issues that are hindering understanding, but we couldn’t really capture the problematic elements, can you help us?
If this is the first year of your Cambridge experience? Have you been running a school before or have you started out with Cambridge? I will like to know. However, I will recommend concentrating on teacher’s training and the completion of homework. Contact the Cambridge associate and get in touch with other schools and compare the scenarios. And you can contact us for help.
Is Cambridge primary or Edexcel primary an exact equivalent of what British schools teach?
No, that is not the case. The curriculum including the syllabus is international and it applies to all schools in all the Cambridge Community. The syllabuses are differentiated also, and some are exclusive to US and/or UK. The syllabus has been made context specific.
Can a state board school become an IGCSE school?
Yes, state board schools can become Cambridge schools provided they come up to the standards that have been set by the organization and are prepared.
Are Cambridge International Schools not just like franchisee schools in many aspects?
It is rather absurd to even compare association with an organization and franchise of a group. Franchisee schools cannot expect their franchisor school to provide their students a school certification that is recognized nationally or internationally neither would they expect a curriculum from them. There is no comparison whatsoever.
I am an educationist and have been associated with school and education sector for a long time. Does the association with Cambridge International and their assessment method takes away the autonomy of the schools?
I have observed start of many IGCSE schools in the last decade. That would depend upon the way in which “autonomy” is defined. The school governing body will always have the say if they think that any practice or position of the Cambridge International is going against the interest of the children. Yes the curriculum implementation, deciding the dates of examinations, disclosure of grades etc. will be shared.
I am starting an IGCSE school, one of the extremely qualified teacher does not feel the need to attend the training program of IGCSE/Cambridge International, will it influence his or her teaching?
If the teacher is “not interested” in attending the training program, you can convince him or her to do so as it is only going to add value to the teaching capabilities. If trainings are skipped morale of the teacher’s body is affected and it’s not a rational cost -cutting measure.
How objective would be the assessment done by Cambridge International when it does it for several parts of the world at the same time?
Objectivity of assessment is the point. The rigor of assessment done by Cambridge International can be gauged by their statement that they take at least 2 years of time to frame a question paper for IGCSE, A or AS level. The grades are therefore comparable and objective.
Are there Cambridge Assessment Exams that a student from any other board can take and get the certificate?
There is a possibility if the school sponsors the student. As a private candidate it may be difficult to appear though you may try, if you think your reasons are valid enough.
I am a teacher by profession, I have taught in an ICSE school. Can in apply to become a Cambridge Associate?
Yes you can always try that. The easiest way is to visit the website link http://www.cambridgeinternational.org/about-us/our-regional-teams/south-asia/. Herein you will find the contact numbers and email-ids of the Cambridge International representatives for South Asia / India.
What is the difference between IGCSE schools and Cambridge international schools?
Although the term IGCSE has caught up despite being only a school certificate exam. Cambridge international schools are sanctioned institutions are run by the customized curriculum. The word IGCSE is interchangeably used for Cambridge International schools reason being its relative priority among other Cambridge curriculums.
Do I need an E.C to start an IGCSE school in India?
Yes, EC is required to open any kind of school.Ajay
Consultation is provided by the Cambridge and Edexcel themselves then why do we need you?
To my knowledge Cambridge and Edexcel consultants aid implementation of respective programs. Which is indeed useful but not enough to start an IGCSE school in India. We provide concept to launch and ongoing management services to start an IGCSE school in India, including interpretation of guidance given by various boards.
Does International Curriculum fill kids with elitism?
I Don’t think so, we live in a globalized community.
I am running a CBSE school and want to introduce IGCSE in addition to CBSE, Are costs huge ?
It depends on the infrastructure provision in your school
What if a student struggles with a subject and wants to replace it with some else, is that possible?
It is indeed possible. If you are referring to the loss the student would incur due to this quitting, then the time of the year and the proximity with the exams will decide that. The conditions and /or alternatives may become difficult with differing situations.
I am planning to start an IGCSE school in India, do you suggest any subject combination for my students?
It is very subjective to the student. Counsellor play a pivotal role in understanding the student profile and suggesting the subject combination.
In Cambridge international schools the freedom to syllabus design is not at all comparable to IB. I am saying this after having taught in both the schools. IB gives the freedom to take away the irrelevant things of the curriculum and change the order of chapters etc. vis-à-vis the other boards, while in Cambridge the focus is on the subject matter and teaching aids can be experimented with, nothing radical.
Are you suggesting that Cambridge is disadvantageous, Then I will have to differ with you. Cambridge does give the authority of omissions and commissions of topics, It is however overseen by the international boards, there is no arbitrariness in the removal or inclusion of topics. Yet, in IB chances of subjective choice of topics and their sequence are prone to creep in, It does not mean it is deficient. It is just a counterargument to balance the thematic certainty and confidence you were showing in the freedom of curricular design..
Are Cambridge Primary students more creative than the children of the other boards just because of their exposure to the international curriculum?
I have serious reservations in believing that. It is definitely true that the international school’s students come out better because there is much more attention given to them, teacher training is regularized, the international community is open for support and other factors that put them a foot higher than the conventional curricula. The inherent superiority idea is totally ill-founded and regressive.
The belief has gained ground as the “learner profile” that IB emphasizes upon in early years is said to ease the curriculum in the later years but empirically this is not proven without doubt, so we will have to take it as an inferential idea than a fact.
I assume that when you refer to the skill-based curricula you are referring to IB. You will have to understand that pedagogy has been researched since the beginning of the human inquiry. It’s the pedagogical quest of our age and it would be too early to decide what is absolutely perfect and what is deficient. Hence it is recommended that if you have chosen a program, follow its details, subject matter, teacher training modules and you will certainly get the results.
Are IB PYP students better prepared for IB DP than any other board students, even the Cambridge primary years’ ones?
The belief has gained ground as the “learner profile” that IB emphasizes upon in early years is said to ease the curriculum in the later years but empirically this is not proven without doubt, so we will have to take it as an inferential idea than a fact.
Is CIE better than EDEXCEL?
What are the aspects you are referring to? EDEXCEL is a private body while Cambridge International Examinations is a department of Cambridge run body. The certificates carry equal value. There are differences in assessment criteria, however subtle they may be. Then there are differences in cost and conditions of school standards, except that both are virtually same.
I have been running IB PYP program for 3 years. I am concerned that I cannot offer IB MYP because it does not leave the students an option to shift to any other board for +2. I think the Cambridge International or IGCSE students are better placed to excel in IBDP than my students. Does my concern hold water, and if it does what can be done?
If you are entirely convinced that IGCSE would place students in a good stead in IBDP or A/AS level then why do you yourself not offer IGCSE to your students, you can always 7th and 8th ICSE or CBSE?, It has always been maintained by both CIE and IB that the courses are “stand alone”, however important the continuum is. So analyze the results of your IB students who do not take IGCSE and compare it incisively, rule out all other factors and then reach a decision. Our academic experts can help you if you wish so.
the selection form seventy subjects, do Indian schools follow that? I mean do they have the mettle to provide teachers for all subjects?
The schools choosing the Cambridge International syllabus efficiently calculate the demands that the qualification requirement of the faculty will make on the administration and they plan accordingly. The success of the schools only leads us to conclude that the system that they have evolved with the help of teacher training program is working to a satisfactory degree.
The combination-freedom that is being provided by the IGCSE or A level, is it supervised or guided as it can be a major decision to go wrong with?
The decision is made by the students in consultation with teachers and parents. Seniors play a significant role in subject selection. The international school committee of which the schools are member of help in choosing the subject combination. There are challenges but, in time, things have been worked out. This is not to suggest that perfection has been reached, yet the intellectual activity is not dormant.
Cambridge is known for the toughness of its exams, why is it so, in case it is really true? Is it not stopping its adaption?
CIE has presence in over 160 nations and in India it is growing roughly at the rate of 12 percent. It is basically an examination conducting or assessment body which means that it confidently grades a student and ascertain his academic capability for the world to refer while employing or engaging him. It is a big responsibility and therefore the assessment is very meticulous and rigorous. The other body that conducts exams is edexcel, this is a private education board of UK.
I am running a school in Pune, could you advise me on how to get any international affiliation before the March 2019.
You may explore Cambridge International or IB programmes. Please refer Cambridge and IB official websites for specific procedures and timelines.
Which is closer to the Indian education syllabus—IB or IGCSE?
The syllabi, be it any board, are bound to have common elements i.e. topics. The difference is in the time of introduction of the topics, the depth, the pedagogy and the level of practical application-based comprehension of the topic. So, to say which is nearer to conventional boards it would be IGCSE but not indiscriminately. And there can be a difference of opinions and carry weight as well.
Is the pressure while studying Cambridge A&AS level overwhelming? Is it not manageable for average students?
There is no proven theory or contra indication given by academicians that tell average students that tell average students not to engage in A&AS level courses as it would be adventurism. It is too stereotypical to deliberate upon.
Is there any primary program also run by the Cambridge like IB?
Yes there is Cambridge International Primary Programme (CIPP) provided by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). Like IB, CIE also provides its young students with dynamic direction such as international understanding. A thematic curriculum is also built around units of work by the school and teachers.
How can the competence of the teachers working in my school be assured to enable them adapt to the IGCSE?
There is adequate support for training teachers in IGCSE program. Regular workshops and teacher evaluation will ensure smooth adaptation.
Do Indian kids really need International Curriculum?
Technology revives the methodology of teaching and learning, thereby facilitating students’ attainment of peak levels of potential. The knowledge economies represented by enterprises including MNCs are searching for young professionals who are knowledgeable, analytical, and possess high degree of creativity. The degree of probability of development of these qualities is high when international curriculum like Cambridge International is chosen.
What is IGCSE highly popular than IB Middle Year Programme?
It is so because the IB MYP does not provide a school examination certificate at its completion unlike IGCSE or all other national educational boards for that matter. This makes transistion for IB MYP students to other courses besides IB Diploma Programme rather difficult.
Is Cambridge Advanced or Pre-U better than IBDP?
It depends upon the academic disposition of the students. Empirically speaking, students from either board have made successful mutual transitions. However, IBDP is more challenging for its emphasis on non-conventional, practical academic elements.
What is the difference between Edexcel and CIS?
Edexcel is a private exam conducting body that organizes GCSE exam while CIE is Cambridge International Examination, a body conducting IGCSE exam. The certifications are considered equivalent though. Schools in India are associated with both Edexcel and CIE.
Is there a difference based on the region of the world the Cambridge school curriculum is designed for?
Yes, there is contextual difference in the curriculum notwithstanding its international orientation. There are instances where subjects are exclusively taught in U.S. or U.K although it is assured that it is not to the disadvantage of the students of the other nations.
Is IGCSE curriculum an adaptation of Curriculum of British schools?
It is often alleged that the Cambridge International curriculum is a nothing but a replica of British school’s curriculum. However, its success in almost all ethno-linguistic areas of the world prove otherwise. There are excellent CI schools in South-East Asia, Africa, U.S. and other parts of the world running successfully.
We are from Tamilnadu, India. Plan to start an IGCSE school straight away. Don’t have any schools with us so far. plan to start. what are the procedures, is IGCSEand Cambridge are connected or not? do clarify.
Vinod Kakumanu answered
To answer your last question first, yes, Cambridge schools and IGCSE are connected. IGCSE is the name of the exam that the CAMBRIDGE or Edexcel takes to assess students’ learning. You can open a school, get an NoC from the concerned department of education and start the Cambridge primary which you can later on carry forward to IGCSE i.e. class 9 and 10th. There are representatives of Cambridge international schools in each zone. Find out from the website and get in touch with your Cambridge representative.