While reading ‘The mostly confused teenager’s blog post on her school, I just realised how vastly different our schools are, and how much we don’t know about schools in other countries, so I decided to do a post about the educational system I study in.
I’m from India and I go to an Indian school in an Arabian country.
By an Indian school, I mean, a school which is run by the Indian government for the benefit of Indian expat children living away from India.
And that means we have the same curriculum as almost all of our counterparts in India.
I said almost all, because in India, there are various boards of education, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), or any of the State Boards or ICSE, and many others.
All the boards have the same structure, but the course varies.
The level of difficulty depends on whether it is a State Board school or it is a Central Board school.
The Indian schools abroad and almost always Central Board schools and I’ve only studied in those schools.
As I haven’t had a State Board school experience, I’ll refrain from talking about it.
The Indian curriculum as such is highly competitive. And a student’s entire future depends on two exams, the one taken at the end of 10th grade and one taken at the end of 12th grade.
But, after a lot of reforms, the 10th grade exam was made easier, and lots of practical knowledge was added to it, apart from the usual bookish knowledge.
Now, the combined average marks from projects, experiments, reports, presentations, weekly and monthly tests, term-end exams, etc, from 9th and 10th grade and added to give the grade points (out of 10) at the end of the 10th grade.
After the 10th grade, we have to choose our streams, the subjects which will decide our future. That is, a 15-year old is supposed to decide something which will shape his/her entire life. Since, most of the time, we are clueless about this decision, almost everyone decides on taking science, because with science, you can go for almost any path in India. You can be a doctor, an engineer, an accountant or banker, lawyer or even a historian after taking science. But, after taking Commerce or Humanities, you can only go for higher education on that specific subject.
By choosing subjects, I mean choosing one fixed set of subjects: The pure sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology), or Science with math (Physics, Chemistry, Math or Physics, Chemistry, Math, Biology), Commerce (Economics, Accounts, Business studies, with math as an optional), and Humanities or the social sciences.
The Central board actually offers a large variety of subjects, but most schools have only these subjects.
Each student is expected to learn five subjects for the exams at the end of 12th grade.
So, we could pick a set of subjects, and take an optional of our choice, if the set we’ve chosen has only three core subjects. Of course English is a compulsory subject for any stream.
The optional subjects also depend upon the school.
My school offers rather interesting subjects as optional. That’s something I like about it. In my school, we have subjects like Fine Arts, Home Education, Physical Education and Sports, Computers (either Programming, or Web designing and animation, or Java and database operation).
So, yeah, that was pretty much the Wikipedia-like description of the Indian school system.
Now with the insider take.
I used to hate my school until recently for reasons I don’t exactly remember.
But, now, I’ve started liking it as it is.
True, we have a huge load of homework and class tests each day. And with teachers who wouldn’t hesitate to make you redo your homework five times over if you submit it late, you have to spend a lot of time over it.
Besides I’m in 12th grade (senior year) this year. So, the workload is almost tripled. We are pressured to get a good percentage (at least above 80%) in the end-of-year exams. Moreover, most colleges also conduct entrance exams at the end of the senior year, in which we have to get good enough marks. Only with a good combination of marks in both, will we be able to get into the college of our choice.
Most of the extra-curricular activities are crammed in the first and second term, so that the final term can be used only for studying.
Yet another thing, is that our academic year begins in March or April. The first term lasts till June. And the summer vacations are in July and August. So, basically, we are expected to study even during the summer!!
Yet, I still love it. The main reason is my friends. They are the most amazing people on Earth.
I love the fact that our school timings are from 7am to 12:30pm only, unlike those in India which operates from 8am to nearly 5:30 or 6pm.
I love my English classes, where my teacher is the most awesome teacher in high school. Ever. Seriously, she reads all YA-books as well, and discusses it in class and she’s really fun to talk to and has a wonderful sense of humour.
I love those few days in a year, where we get to dress up and have fun. I’ve even learnt to like our uniform, a light blue long top, rather like a tunic, but known as a kurta, paired with dark navy blue pants and dupatta. The ensemble is called a ‘salwar kameez’. Try googling it for pictures on how it looks like. 🙂
I’ve learned to like the fact that it is an all-girls school. An all-girls’ school means that most people turn up without makeup everyday and no one bothers about it.
I love it when my entire class is united over a particular cause and they stand up for each other. No matter who you are.
I love that my class this year is rather small (the number of students, that is). Yet, the classroom we’ve been assigned is huge and spacious.
That’s all I have to say for now. I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂