A child's education plays a crucial role in their development and social skills.
When considering schools, the curriculum at the school plays an important role in the decision-making process, be it while changing schools or applying to a new school.
With around 600 private schools in the UAE, the American, British, Indian and International Baccalaureate (IB) make up three-quarters of them.
With each curriculum, there are different benefits and it is important to consider each one based on the requirements of the child.
Here is a brief of the four main curricula available in the UAE, that are widely recognised by universities around the world.
The American Curriculum begins at the age of 3 years old (pre-kindergarten). From Grade 9 to 12 (around 14 to 18 years old), students work towards receiving a high school diploma. The curriculum includes subjects such as English, arts, mathematics, history and geography, science, social studies and physical education. From Grade 9 onwards (around 14 years old), students can opt for a range of elective classes.
A General Educational Development (GED) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) are mainly recognised in this curriculum, with a score between 200 and 800 required for GED and the same for SAT. The curriculum does not require an external examination or qualification to receive a diploma, with a Grade Point Average (GPA) being the academic achievement given at the end of schooling. Advanced Placement (AP) classes and assessments are also available for higher knowledge in the different subjects.
British Curriculum starts at the age of three years old, with the early years foundation stage. As students progress, they work towards their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSEs), at the age of around 16 years old, followed by A Levels, which are taken around the age of 18 years old.
The curriculum focuses on subjects including mathematics, English, science, design and technology, history, geography, art and design, music, physical education, computing, and ancient and modern foreign languages. In Year 10 or 11, students take their GCSE or IGCSE exams and a grading scale of one to nine is used, with nine being the highest grade. In Year 13, A Level exams are taken, which is a usual requirement for students attending university.
The Indian Curriculum has two key streams, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE). Starting at the age of two to three years with pre-schooling, compulsory education begins at six years old. The academic year for the Indian curriculum runs from April to March. Students get a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) on completing Grade 10 and a Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) at Grade 12.
In Grade 9 and 10 (around 14 years old), under CBSE, the curriculum includes two languages, mathematics, science, social science, art, health, physical education and two further subjects, one a skill and one academic subject. In Grade 11 and 12 (around 16 years old), there is a range of skill-based or academic subjects as well as two languages. The grading system is based on percentages from all subjects.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is divided into three stages including the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP) and starts at kindergarten at the age of three years old till Grade 12 (around 17 years old).
The curriculum focuses on three key core elements, theory of knowledge, extended essay and creativity, activity and service. Students are graded from one to seven for each subject and will be given a maximum of 45 points, with 24 being the minimum points required. On completion, students will receive an IB Diploma.
Each curriculum has its strengths and when considering a school, it is important that the benefits are in line with each child's own requirements.
Schools help in the growth of a child and as they spend most of their time learning and increasing their knowledge here, it is crucial to make the right choice.