What is the difference between Indian, American, British, French, Australian and International curriculum in Dubai
Time Out staff
There are plenty to choose from, and they all have their own merits. Here’s a basic overview of what to expect from the most common curriculums taught in UAE schools.
The American curriculum In a nutshell: A broad-ranging, holistic curriculum that mirrors the American system. Pros: Students can easily transfer in and out of other US schools. Students can repeat subjects if they fail. There is constant assessment, reducing the stress of important exams. Cons: There’s no standardised performance monitoring as US curriculums vary from state to state. It is less geared towards in-depth study than other curriculums.
The British curriculum In a nutshell: A curriculum that encourages independent thought and opinions in which students are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions. Pros: The curriculum is strictly regulated to the same British government standards as schools in the UK. IGCSEs, GCSEs and A-levels are respected worldwide. Cons: Arguably, A-Levels (studied in years 12 and 13) are too restrictive, with only three or four subjects studied for the qualification. Some reports suggest that marking standards have fallen recently.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) In a nutshell: The IB’s a holistic programme that prepares students for life after school, rather than just academic studies, with skills such as public speaking and presentations included in the curriculum. Pros: The curriculum encourages students to take an active approach to learning, with team work and other personal skills included in studies. Pupils are marked by teachers and moderators and standards are generally high. Cons: Students must prove that they can keep up with the workload and many find it tough, especially in the later years.
The French curriculum In a nutshell: A curriculum that follows the programme established by the French Ministry of National Education. Pros: At kindergarten level (ages two to six), children are taught numeracy, literacy and sometimes a foreign language, in addition to creative activities. The curriculum is assessed at the expense of French tax payers, so the French government takes a keen interest in academic standards. Cons: Although French colleges are a good option for college students (ages 11-15), the options are limited if you wish to remain in the UAE.
The Australian curriculum In a nutshell: A curriculum based on the assumption that every student can learn and that the needs of every student are important, the Australian curriculum develops the individual’s key skills, with an emphasis on process, high order thinking and complex judgemental skills. Pros: The standards are high, and the curriculum is holistic, with a strong academic element that’s recognised worldwide. It’s a broad curriculum with a wide selection of academic options. Cons: The choice of schools in Dubai is limited.
The Indian curricula (CBSE and ICSE) In a nutshell: Highly academic and heavily exam based, there are two choices of Indian curricula in Dubai; the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). The CBSE is considered more scientific than the ICSE. Pros: The academic standard is very high. There is an emphasis on core subjects such as maths, languages and science. Cons: They are academically tough curriculums where lots of factual information needs to be committed to memory. The curriculums’ reliance on exam-based grading means that there is less focus learning, problem solving and reasoning.