Changing the curriculum-from CBSE to UK syllabus for an eight year old.

My child is 8.8 years old and is studying in a cbse school(dubai),grade3.However, we are now planning to shift to a UK curriculum school.I wanted to know:
A)what are the KHDA rules on this shift .
B)With board exams in cbse, what is it with UK based?
C)How easy/difficult (in general) is UK curriculum compared to CBSE.


Sandiv Default Asked on October 19, 2017 in Curriculum.
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1 Answer(s)

Hi Sandiv,

Thank you for your message.  The KHDA rules permit change of curriculum at the start of the academic year for children already at school in Dubai.  Realistically, it is now too late to change for the current academic year (which began in September for the UK curriculum schools).  You will therefore need to plan to make the change next September (2018).  Your son/daughter will need to complete grade 3 and start grade 4 in the current school.  I would advise you to start the process to secure a place in a UK curriculum school at the beginning of next year (January onwards).   You may well also be required to give a term’s notice to the current school. so the timing of this can be quite critical.

The current school will issue a transfer certificate on-line which will confirm your child’s current grade on leaving.  Since your son/daughter will not have completed grade 4, he/she will transfer to the same equivalent year group (year 5).  You will effectively lose one term and your child’s graduation will take place a year later than if s/he had remained in the Indian curriculum.

The education offered in the UK curriculum is very different to the Indian curriculum in that it relies much more on independent learning and research.  Whereas in the Indian curriculum much of the teaching and learning is delivered by staff and books and children are expected to absorb the information provided, in the UK curriculum, children are generally required to learn the basic information provided by their teachers, but then to absorb it through their own research, practice and independent study.  The approach to learning is different and I would advise you to visit schools and to see this in practice.

The UK curriculum schools offer two sets of public exams at year 11 (grade 10) and year 13 (grade 12).  Both are two year programmes of learning and students take approximately 8 subjects at (i)GCSE in year 11 and then narrow their options to 3-4 subjects in years 12 and 13 for A Level – the entrance exams for university.  Quite a number of UK curriculum schools are adopting the IB Diploma programme in place of A Levels, since this allows and requires a broader range of subjects (6 including a language) and is deemed to be the highest quality University entrance qualification globally.  Two Indian schools in Dubai also offer a CBSE/IB combination (GEMS Modern Academy and GIIS).  UK curriculum schools offering A Level are also increasingly looking at BTEC qualifications (which are more vocationally focused in areas such as Sports, Business and Tourism).  Unlike the Indian curricula, students are not required to choose between Commerce, Science and Arts in either the A level or IBDP programmes – indeed they are encouraged at GCSE to take a broad range including English, Maths, Science and a language as well as subject across the academic spectrum that are of interest to them.  This may include Humanities, Art, Drama, Music,  Economics, Politics etc.

You do not mention why you are considering the change of curriculum from Indian to UK.  I think it is important that you have a clear understanding of the reasons you are considering this change.   If your intention is that your child will attend university in the UK or elsewhere outside India, then a switch at an early stage is definitely worthwhile.  If you plan is that your child will go to university or school in India at some stage, we would generally advise that you remain with the Indian system, but perhaps take into account the IBDP option for the final two years.  The key point here is that the schools offering an Indian/IBDP mix, understand and have in place a bridging programme to ensure students are able to cope with the demands of the IB Diploma which is not only academically very demanding, but also relies heavily upon the research and independent learning skills mentioned.

WhichSchoolAdvisor Head of Department Answered on October 20, 2017.
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