Choosing your child’s school can be a very stressful period. Every parent wants to enroll his/her child in the best school and provide them with the best education system.
When it comes to choosing your child’s education system, there are many options to choose from in Egypt. Aside from the national Egyptian curriculum and language schools, most parents are usually confused between the three major educational systems which are followed in international schools; the American, British (IG), and International Baccalaureate (IB) systems.
To help parents who are applying to schools for their children, here is a detailed explanation of the three systems.
The American System
Many parents opt for the American system because of its diversity and flexibility in terms of the subjects, assessments, and learning approaches.
The American educational structure has 12 years of education
- Kindergarten: Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten
- Primary school: Grade 1-5
- Middle school: Grade 6-8
- High school: Grade 9-12
The American diploma is believed to be fun and engaging. It helps students use critical thinking and learning rules and their application, hence, the children do not memorize information. The academic year in the American system is divided into four quarters and the student’s grade at the end of the year is an average of all four quarters.
This gives students the chance to catch up if they do badly in one quarter as they have three other quarters to improve their grades. The grading system is based on a grade point average system (GPA) out of 4.0. Students work on projects, papers, and presentations all year long which helps build leadership skills and gets them prepared for their work lives.
Testing takes place throughout the year. Their school/teachers prepare exams after covering each chapter and this is where 40% of their grade is calculated.
Students are required to sit for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) which is an entrance exam relied on by most universities during admission. This exam assesses the student’s English and math levels. The purpose of the SAT is to measure a high school student’s readiness for college and provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. Students are allowed to sit for the SAT exam up to six times to improve grades. The duration of the SAT exam is approximately three hours.
The SAT exam is divided into:
- SAT I: Required for admissions to Universities
- SAT II: Subject tests for example French, science, math, and etc…
Students sitting in for the SAT exam must receive a minimum score depending on the university they are applying to. Along with their SAT scores, students present school transcripts that include high school grades.
The British System
The British system is distributed as follows:
- Foundation Stage
- Key Stage 1
- Key Stage 2
- Key Stage 3
- Key Stage 4
The British system of education is distributed into two categories:
- The National Curriculum: This is the system of education followed in the United Kingdom. This system has subjects pertaining to the UK, for example, British History.
- The Cambridge System: This system was developed for the international market. It is derived from the national curriculum and tailored to suit international schools.
The difference between both systems is that in the Cambridge curriculum students take the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exams while schools following the national British curriculum take the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams. Some schools following the national curriculum offer the IGCSE’s. Some British Schools in Egypt offer the National Curriculum, while others offer the Cambridge curriculum.
The key feature is that you choose the material and subjects based on your desired university major.
Students are encouraged to learn through outdoor and indoor activities. It works on guiding the child’s personal, social and emotional development, and creating awareness of the environment. They learn to explore the stimulus around them through reading stories and watching online videos.
Key stages 1 and 2:
Students are introduced to subjects such as English literature, maths, science, humanities, and art. They are assessed through formative assessments and end of term assessments along with classwork and homework.
Key stages 3 and 4:
A very important milestone for students in British schools. In this stage, students begin their journey towards the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) which are external examinations.
Students study a different variety of subjects, which is usually a combination of 5 to 10 subjects. Math and English are compulsory subjects. Other subjects such as physics, chemistry, and biology can either be studied together or distributed throughout the years. Students also combine other subjects such as French, German, literature, business, and physics.
In the early years of Key stage 3, students take O-level subjects (9 subjects). The students may choose between Arabic, chemistry, biology, accounting, etc. and they can be divided over three years. If students score poorly in any of the courses, they may retake it.
Later on, students take the AS level courses which follow the O-level and this is when their choice of university corresponds to the courses they take. If they plan on applying to the Faculty of Engineering, for example, they will choose science subjects such as maths, physics, and chemistry.
In the final two years, students have the option of continuing with their grades or they can take A-level or A2-level courses which are the same courses but with more details and depth.
International Baccalaureate (IB) system
The IB system is an interesting schooling system. Its mission is to develop knowledgeable and caring young people who create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
The IB system offers four programs:
- Primary Years Program (PYP): Ages 3-12
- Middle Years Program(MYP): Ages 11-15
- Diploma Program: Ages 15-19
- Career Certificate: Ages 16-19
Students learn through play-based learning. They learn by asking questions and trying to find out answers to these questions, which is inquiry-based learning. Through this method of learning, they develop skills, knowledge, and understanding.
MYP consists of eight subject groups:
- Language acquisition
- Language and literature
- Individuals and societies
- Physical and health education
The MYP requires at least 50 hours of teaching for each subject group in each year of the program. In years 4 and 5, students have the option to take courses from 6 out of the 8 subject groups within certain limits, to provide greater flexibility in meeting local requirements and individual student learning needs.
The MYP aims to help students develop their personal understanding, their emerging sense of self, and responsibility towards their community.
The main target is to develop students who have an excellent depth of knowledge. It helps students prosper physically, intellectually, emotionally, and ethically. The DP curriculum is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS), and the extended essay.
Students take a minimum of two IB Diploma Programme (DP) courses, a core consisting of four components and a career-related study. This takes place after the students graduate from school.
In the IB system, students sit in for written examinations at the end of their program. These students take written examinations at the end of their IB Diploma Programme courses which are marked by external IB examiners. The rest of the core courses are assessed by the school itself.
- Understanding the American Education- Study in the USA
- UK Education System- International Student.com