Published On : Fri, Apr 6th, 2018

Cambridge curriculum project and skill based: Radhika Rajwade

Nagpur: Centre Point Group of Schools brings the Cambridge curriculum through Centre Point School International to Nagpur. Nagpur Today in conversation with Mrs. Radhika Rajwade, Director, Centre Point Group of Schools.

Nagpur Today: – How different is the Cambridge International syllabus from the CBSE and the State board? Will standard of English, Science and Maths be higher? Will there be more focus on English/ World history?

Radhika Rajwade: – The basic difference is that as we all know that CBSE is a highly Science and Maths based curriculum and Cambridge is a more rounded curriculum and there is more focus on all subjects. The level of English in Cambridge is definitely higher but the main difference I would say is in the methodology of teaching that is required for Cambridge versus what is required for the CBSE. Also the way the curriculum is transacted in the classroom in CBSCE and pedagogy of a CBSE classroom and what is expected out of a Cambridge classroom are very very different. CBSE is very rote learning based unfortunately. We, at Centre Point, are constantly striving to reduce that aspect of rote learning but we are limited as we are governed by CBSE and students have to give those assessments and board exams. In Cambridge it is more project based and skill based. The focus is more on skills and not as much on content. There are certain learning attributes that Cambridge curriculum requires every student to have and the whole curriculum focuses on those learner attributes and how best to have all the learners get those attributes. Those attributes are innovations, responsibility, creativity etc. Cambridge does have a higher level of English but a CBSE child would comfortably be able to do the Cambridge course and vice a versa.

NT: – Why should Nagpur parents opt to send their wards to this school? What is the benefit?
RR: – The main reason why I thought that Nagpur is now ready to have an international curriculum is because I feel that Nagpur parents are very aware. They have a lot of exposure through media, they travel a lot. Today a Nagpur parent is very different from a Nagpur parent ten years ago or five years ago. The mindset of a Nagpur parent then would not go beyond engineering or medicine. Now I think the Nagpur parents want a global curriculum for their children. They want something by which their children can become international citizens very easily. Nagpur is at the right place and right time where international curriculum is very necessary. I would suggest parents to opt for this curriculum because it’s a very holistic curriculum and a lot of emphasis is not on academics but extra-curricular activities like sports, arts and music. A lot of importance is given to these keeping with the ethos of Centre Point School. The curriculum is more global in Cambridge; in CBSE it stays rather local. Opting for Cambridge curriculum does not limit your child’s prospects to only studying abroad. All Universities in India acknowledge Cambridge curriculum and give equivalence also. In fact the All India University Gazette and the NCERT recognize Cambridge as a board in India. Options for a student coming out of Cambridge are many. They can study in India and abroad as well.

NT: – Will there be an aptitude test for the students before they are accepted into the Cambridge curriculum?
RR: – Admissions are underway. In fact they are almost complete. We have mostly had migration. We have children from our own Centre Point Group of schools and Mother’s Pet Kindergarten who have taken admission into CPSI. For children who are coming from outside a little diagnostic test is undertaken to check the readiness of the child for this curriculum.

NT: – How have the teachers been trained for this new venture?
RR: – This is a critical aspect of Cambridge curriculum. I am glad you asked me this. A lot of parents have been asking me that for Cambridge curriculum we should be getting teachers from outside of Nagpur. In the parent orientation I said that today I am very proud to say that Centre Point has the best teachers in Nagpur. I don’t feel that teachers from outside of Nagpur are better. In terms of training for them, their training has been going on for over a year now. We have Cambridge experts who train them. They have gone through online training as well as face to face training. They have been to cities in India and abroad for training. The Cambridge training workshops are still going on as we speak. Experts from Cambridge are in city to hold the workshop. The training will continue every year as we have a plan called Professional Development for Teachers.

NT:- The parents seemed to be concerned that since the Cambridge curriculum is new to Nagpur and even to them, in case their wards face difficulty in studies how will they be able to help them. Would there be some workshops held for parents so they can assist their wards in studies?

RR: – Yes, absolutely there will be workshops for the parents. The philosophy of Centre Point Group of Schools has been one of collaborative approach irrespective of the curriculum, be it CBSE, Cambridge or tomorrow it could be IB. The parents and the school have to always work together to help the child achieve his or her maximum potential. If the child needs any extra help in the classroom remediation is given. Counselling is also available. We have an active remedial cell and counselling cell at CPSI where help will be given to children. Parents have to be involved with their wards no matter what they might be doing. They will have to be hands on parents. In CBSE the parents are very used to sending their wards for tuitions. In Cambridge of course you will be involved with your child’s studies but how you help your child is very different. Here absolutely no tuitions are recommended as there is no one in Nagpur who can teach it. Tuitions as it is are not required as we are not teaching content but skills to the children. Parent’s role is more research based, it’s more collaborative. Instead of making sure that the home work is complete, the parents will have to sit with their child and research on a topic over Google or watch a documentary together or maybe have a conversation over dinner about the problems in Syria or issues faced by North Korea. It will be a different kind of effort that a parent will have to make.

NT: – What are the extra-curricular activities offered at the CPSI?
RR: – We are tying up with the Furtados School of Music which is the number one music academy in the country today. They have an experience of over 150 years with some best schools in India. They will teach keyboard and guitar. This is included in the curriculum so it’s not an optional activity. All the children will be learning keyboard, guitar, vocals that is Western vocals. For dance we are planning to tie up with Shiamak Davar’s dance academy. We are still in the finalizing stages. Shiamak Davar’s academy will take care of the dance component activity. Art of course will be there. ICT, Information and Communication Technology (meaning Computers), is a separate subject in Cambridge curriculum. We have a Mac lab. Our students will only be using Mac computers. Sports facilities are many. We have a squash court, two badminton courts, a tennis court, cricket pitches, table tennis, basket ball, skating and swimming. We have a temperature controlled swimming pool. All these will be offered to the children within their curriculum. We have planned their timetable in such a way that for a Class 1st or a Class 2nd child out of 45 classes, 30 classes will be for academics and15 classes will be devoted to extra-curricular and sports activities. That is the kind of importance we give to the extra-curricular activities.

NT: – Which board will conduct exams and how will they align results with our State board?
RR: – The examining body is called Cambridge Assessment International Education which is a part of the University of Cambridge and their exams are called check point exams that happen at the end of Class 6th and end of Class 8th. Then they have IGCSE which is Class 10th. That is their equivalent of our board exams. It is an acknowledged and accepted curriculum in India. The students are at par with CBSE and State Board. The Cambridge students also score marks in 90s. They are also toppers in the country and the State. It is a very easy transition period. If a child has done IGCSE (that is Class 10th exam from Cambridge) and they want to study Class 11th from the CBSE or the State Board there is no problem. There is just some paperwork to be done by the school.

NT: – Why is the CPSI still being addressed as proposed Cambridge school?
RR: – We are calling it as proposed Cambridge school as we are in the process of getting affiliation right now. The process for affiliation is similar to the CBSE or State Board affiliation. We are following all the norms and guidelines set up by Cambridge officials. We are in process of acquiring affiliation. Their Inspectors will come for inspection in June 2018. Their inspectors will speak to the class teachers and look at all our paper work and they will grant us affiliation from July-Aug 2018. The parents are concerned that we are admitting students without acquiring affiliation. Their process needs that you have enrolments, a parent orientation session, and a ready infrastructure when their Inspectors visit for Inspection. They give you time up to a year after your school has commenced operations. By the time the school starts we will get the affiliation, may be a few days here or there. Parents need not worry on that count at all. We are working under the guidance of Cambridge officials and following all the norms and guidelines laid by them. ‘Proposed Cambridge School’ is just a technicality and once we get the affiliation then we will be a full fledged Cambridge School.

—Monika Dixit