In early February 2021, the International Board of Education, which currently has more than 530 schools in India, became the first board of education to introduce a curriculum on early childhood education based on NEP.
In addition to introducing new subjects, Cambridge International has revised its core subjects – English, English as a Second Language, Mathematics, Science, Global Perspectives and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
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The new changes are in line with NEP 2020, with a focus on efficiency. Speaking to TOI, Abigail Barnett, Deputy Director, Curriculum Program, Cambridge International, said: “We’ve changed a lot, especially in math and science, because these are things that can get old. Because there is always scientific research going on and thinking about mathematics. When we went back to look at those subjects, we realized that we wanted a stronger focus on the skills you need in math and science. So we now have a new strand called thinking and working mathematically, and thinking and working scientifically. And these two really had a strong focus on efficiency. So it really helps the teacher understand math, it’s not just problem solving, you can break it down into more specific skills. And students understand what skills they need to use to solve specific problems. So we think that these issues are now refreshed and up to date, and connected to the thinking around the world. In India, for example, with your new national education policy, there is such a strong focus on 21st Century skills. So we think Cambridge can show how we are very much connected to it.
According to Barnett, the key benefits of the revised program include equipping young students with the knowledge and skills they need to move smoothly and progress to the next level. Used on a grassroots basis, students can begin to develop skills such as resilience, assessment and problem solving for life and it is based on the latest academic research and best practices worldwide in primary and secondary school teaching and learning.
In the last five years, the number of Indian schools affiliated with Cambridge International has increased from 398 to 538. Barnett explains that through mapping and comparison, Cambridge International seeks to understand areas of similarity and “any subject in the Indian curriculum that is in the Cambridge curriculum, and vice versa.”
“So schools have a really good idea about anything else that needs to be included to meet their local needs. So there is enough flexibility to do it. But because, as I have seen in National Education Policy, I am confident that we will integrate very well with any change in the Indian curriculum, because there is such a strong focus on 21st Century skills. Barnett added.
Regarding the impact of Covid-19 on the curriculum, Barnett said that since so much work had been done before the epidemic in 2019, it was not as influential as “about the ideas and skills that anyone needs”. However, what the board did during the epidemic was to help teachers and schools with materials that helped them learn the curriculum during the lockdown. “We are providing many more links to useful digital and online resources. But we also emphasize well-being, because we understand that the inability of young people to socialize can have a very negative effect. So we’re giving a lot of advice to schools and teachers on how to try and support students when you can’t see them physically in the classroom. ”
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