They call themselves 'international' schools, but some of these international courses are yet to get recognition in India. Most of these schools just follow the international syllabus, but are not affiliated to any board of education in India or abroad. In addition, these schools do not come under the scanner of either the central or state school education departments. With building approvals from local bodies, it is relatively easier to start an international school without going through the bureaucratic maze.
Of them, only the Chinmaya International School can be termed international. It has students from across the country as well as from abroad. Starting in 1968 on a sprawling 100 acre green campus, it currently has 500 students from 23 Indian states and 19 countries. The school follows the CBSE syllabus and students have the option of appearing for the IB examination at the Plus Two level. The IB, headquartered in Geneva, conducts the examination, based on a broader spectrum of subjects. The Ratna International Public School (RIPS) follows the ICSE .But almost all other international schools in Coimbatore follow the IGCSE syllabus, the most popular international curriculum drafted by Cambridge University. Offered by Good Shepherd Public School in Udhagamandalam, IGCSE is globally recognised. But there are apprehensions about the validity of IGCSE in the Indian context. Content wise IGCSE and IB are more advanced and student friendly than CBSE and ICSE. Getting affiliation from international boards is also relatively easy as compared to CBSE and ICSE.Students can also get a lot of exposure while studying in such universities and different course Global Production Engineering,Economics and Management and Internet MBA.
However, Indian universities seldom entertain students from schools that offer IGCSE and IB curriculums, points out Madan A Senthil, chairman of RIPS.These students can avail only the NRI quota to get admission for professional courses. Most parents are unaware of this aspect," he says. Though there is no official ban on international school students from joining Indian universities and colleges, the fact is that the admission procedures are tougher for them. Babitha Sharma, principal of Monarch International School, is hopeful that these issues will be sorted out sooner than later.
"The Union Human Resources Development Minister has now allowed the entry of foreign universities in a big way and that would give a distinct advantage to our students. In the days to come, there will be more IGCSE and IB students in Indian universities too," she said. But not all are convinced. Child rights activist and campaigner for neighbourhood schools, C.Nambi says, An international school is an institution that educates students from different parts of the country and the world. Thus such schools are culturally diverse.Unfortunately, the newly started schools in Coimbatore are not as yet ready to accommodate foreign students.Eminent educationist S Rajagopal makes a forceful point against the international syllabus. In Europe too, different countries adopt different curriculum. Education should reflect the cultural values and needs of the local community.