IGCSE Education in Secondary Schools Our Only Salvation
If the UK is to compete effectively in world markets the introduction of greater international content in the educational key stages of the curriculum is surely a necessity. But for years our state schools have been reluctant to grab this opportunity.
Counter arguments certainly exist within the teaching fraternity. Some say the IGCSE is more rigorous that the equivalent GCSE, others imply it is less so. But the key elements in the curriculum are designed to match the demands of an international market. Typical is the Cambridge IGCSE who state the course encourages learner-centred and enquiry-based approaches to learning. By developing children’s skill in creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving, gives them an excellent preparation for the next stage in their education. Schools can build a core curriculum, and then extend it to suit their cross-curricular perspectives. IGCSE is compatible with other curricula and is internationally relevant and sensitive to different needs and cultures.
The learning journey starts with the Primary school curriculum, but John Dunford, General Secretary of the association of school and college leaders remains unconvinced “There is no evidence that the IGCSE is more rigorous than the GCSE” he also states “Key issues in English and maths are missing in the IGCSE – despite the emphasis placed by employers on their need.” Clearly some further development work needs to done to increase the attraction of the course.
The current differences in the curriculum are less than many critics think. Maybe this is the weak point. If we are to prepare children for the international market we are rapidly approaching we must prepare them accordingly. The rest of world is certainly moving this way and we could be left in the cold if we stick to an anachronistic syllabus based on educational performance rather than depth and relevance.
The IGCSE is being used by international schools and a growing number of state schools in Spain, Italy, China and New Zealand, where it is regarded as having positive impact in the classroom. Defined as a linear course it offsets criticism of the standard GCSE and its modular approach. Being tested at the end of the course the Interaction accreditation removes the interruptions to teaching from the frequent tests involved with GCSE.
The world is rapidly changing. Historic commercial, manufacturing and financial bases are moving exponentially east. If we are to compete we must at least match the qualifications of overseas students. But our current overall educational performance is well adrift of the current pace. The financial market is already adopting the acronym NYLONHK, New York, London, Hong Kong – being the three key centres each eight hours apart that cover the world stock markets on a 24 hours basis. The international trading markets could follow. It is essential we prepare the next generation to manage the options they will need to succeed. The International educational curriculum is just the start of the journey, but time is short and we need to act with alacrity.