British vs American vs Indian vs Emirati Curriculum
Which curriculum to choose that will fulfill the requirements of your child’s career is a very daunting task. Thanks to the multicultural environment of UAE, you can now make a choice from the multitude of schools that offer a wide range of curriculum. From British and American curriculum to Indian and UAE curriculum, all are student-cantered, helping them discover their aptitudes and making the most of their talents. Needless to say, each curriculum has its own key strengths that have been built over the years. Here is a rundown of top four school education systems in the Emirates that will help you in choosing the best school curriculum for your child.
With much emphasis on co-curricular activities along with theoretical learning, the American system of education ensures a balanced development of students. While the American diploma is gaining popularity, being accepted by US universities and international schools of higher education, the elementary school curriculum has left no leaf unturned in offering young learners exposure to a complete range of age-appropriate subjects to develop their passions. In the middle school, students can opt for arts electives or second languages such as French or Spanish. The high school options expand further to include business studies, sciences, design technology and more languages. However, students can make their own choices in both middle and high schools, but they must cover minimum six subjects throughout the curriculum. They must also appear in exams that are based on the standards set for each course. On the completion of grade 12, American diploma is awarded to those earning the number of credits required by the school.
The US curriculum follows three level stages.
- Elementary school
- Middle School
- High school
- Post-secondary (college)
Throughout these years, a broad range of subjects are taught that focus on personal development as well as academic achievement. On reaching grades 11 and 12 students follow Advance Placement Courses (AP). These courses are first year college level courses designed by members of the College Board. Almost all American curriculum schools comply with the Ministry of Education’s requirements for teaching time to be allocated to Islamic Education and Arabic.
Much popular among expatriates in the UAE, this National Curriculum of England is well planned to take care of your child’s education needs from the age of 3 to 18. It is the most well-known and established educational system, with a generally high standard of teaching, covering learning for children aged 5-16.
Divided into four Key Stages, students are continually assessed in their learning and throughout Key Stages 1 and 2, children are routinely tested in SATS.
It is framed on the basis of 4 key stages
- Stage 1: ages 5-7 (years one to two)
- Stage 2: ages 7-11 (years three to six)
- Stage 3: ages 11-14 (years seven to nine)
- Stage 4: ages 14-16 (years 10-11)
At last stage, students appear for General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations.
At GCSE level, students take English, Maths and Science, and can choose up to seven more examinations depending on their areas of strength and their plans for university and a future career. Specializing in specific subjects is expected from a very young age and the British curriculum is often criticized for its lack of breadth and in-depth studying of one or two subjects rather than continued learning across all subjects.
Several schools in the UAE offer students opportunity to appear for International General Certificate of Secondary Education examination. IGCSE is an internationally recognised qualification for students within 14-16 age groups. Unlike GCSE, it is a modified English curriculum that is more attuned to the needs of the international community. It includes more international topics than UK specific ones for its exams.
The Advanced level or the A level is of two years and is split into 2 parts. Students need to study both the levels to attain a complete A level certificate.
- Advanced Subsidiary (AS level, year 12)
- A2 level (year 13)
Difference between American and British Curriculum
Unlike the British curriculum, the American curriculum does not lock children into a system that they will need to follow up to Grade 10 or 11. It encourages students to study a broad range of subjects, even up to university level. Moreover, the American one is less geared towards in-depth study (as with A Levels) when compared to its British counterpart.
The Indian curriculum offers two variants – the CBSE or the Central Board of Secondary Education and ICSE or Council for the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education. Designed to let students reach their full potential and get admission in some of the best universities world-wide, the Indian curriculum offers a large range of subject choices varying from IT to Business Studies. CBSE is more scientific in its approach to education with syllabus divided into segments that can be taught comprehensively throughout the year while ICSE is considered a bit tough academically. CBSE has recently introduced a nine-point grading system and has made board-conducted examination for class ten optional. Under this new scheme, schools have been empowered to evaluate students in classes nine and ten.
The academic divisions are broadly divided into following categories.
- Higher secondary
Up to 8th standard elementary education is provided. Secondary and higher secondary takes 2 years each. Graduation could take 3 to 5 years depending upon the nature of the course, then after the option of post-graduation (2 years) and research will be available.
UAE Curriculum (MoE)
MoE Curriculum is framed in line with the UAE’s goals and values. It offers 14 subjects at various grades of pupils. The standard national curriculum is used by all public schools and a few private schools that have chosen to follow it. The language of instruction is Arabic for all subjects while English is taught as a second language and is used for teaching technical or scientific subjects.
All these popular curricula in the UAE have lots of things in common, including an emphasis on the development of both academic as well as social skills. While some features are unique to the individual curriculum, it is important to note that all schools following any curriculum align themselves with the requirements of national expectations assigned by the local governing bodies such as the KHDA.