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Languages in Focus: IBDP Languages vs. CIE Languages vs. CBSE Languages

Languages in Focus: IBDP Languages vs. CIE Languages vs. CBSE Languages

Oct, 30 2023

According to research by a leading journal, students who receive language training at a young age perform better in reading, writing, and comprehension tests. These foundational language skills are not only key to a student’s academic success but also enhance their chances of employability. A report by the British Council further reiterates the fact that language education is crucial to staying relevant in today’s competitive market as global companies seek employees who can communicate effectively with international clients. Today, we will explore the various language options provided by the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), Cambridge Assessment International Education (CIE), and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). These educational frameworks emphasise that language studies are not merely a component of a well-rounded curriculum but also a fundamental element of personal, academic, and professional growth. Let us understand how.

IBDP Languages

The IBDP is dedicated to promoting plurilingualism, focusing on intercultural understanding and international-mindedness. The languages offered in IBDP aim to ensure that students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds have access to an IB education. With these objectives in view, the IB has formulated a language policy that serves as a framework to uphold the IB's values regarding inclusivity and plurilingualism in its operations.

The IB language policy outlines the mechanisms through which the IB supports schools and educators in delivering its programmes in various languages. Let us delve into these language policies that distinguish different levels of linguistic assistance, each defined below:

  • Internal working language: IBDP’s internal operational and development activities primarily take place in English, which also serves as the language of governance.
  • External working languages: The IBDP's external working languages are those with which the curriculum communicates with stakeholders and provides content, services, platforms, and applications necessary for the successful implementation of its programmes. Currently, these languages include English, French, and Spanish.
  • Access languages: These are languages the IB has identified as strategically important to advance its goals of inclusivity and a diverse IB community. The organisation offers specific services and documentation in these languages, primarily to support classroom teachers.

CIE Languages

Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) offers a curriculum comprising different languages for students at different levels. CIE language is structured to enhance students' abilities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in the designated language. This competence enables students not only to communicate proficiently but also to connect with literature, culture, and concepts expressed in that language. Additionally, language certifications from CIE can create pathways to academic and professional prospects within the ever-changing job landscape. This global exposure is essential for students planning to study or work in international settings.

These languages may be offered in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS), Advanced (A) Level, and the Cambridge Pre-University, as described below:

  • English Language: CIE offers English language qualifications that focus on reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.
  • English Literature: English Literature covers topics related to literary works, encompassing novels, dramas, and poetry.
  • Modern Languages: Within the modern languages curriculum, CIE allows students to select various contemporary languages such as French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, and others.
  • Classical Languages: Some schools and institutions that offer Cambridge qualifications may include classical languages such as Latin and classical Greek as part of their offerings.
  • Other Languages: Depending on the school and regional offerings, CIE may provide assessments for a variety of other languages to cater to the diverse linguistic needs of students.

CBSE Languages

The CBSE offers a wide range of language-related subjects and examinations as part of its academic curriculum. The CBSE aims to provide a diverse set of language options to cater to the linguistic and cultural diversity of the country. Exposure to different languages helps students develop strong language skills that are essential for academic success, career opportunities, and personal growth in a multilingual nation like India. Some of the prominent languages and language-related curricula offered by CBSE are as follows:

  • Hindi: Hindi stands as one of India's official languages, and CBSE provides subjects like Hindi literature and Hindi language. These subjects are accessible at different educational tiers, including primary, secondary, and senior secondary levels.
  • English: English is widely taught in CBSE-affiliated schools, and the board offers curriculum in the English language as the first language. The inclusion of English is aimed at developing proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking in English.
  • Other Languages: Sanskrit: Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, is also offered as an elective subject by CBSE. Besides Sanskrit, CBSE provides options to study various regional languages based on the location of the school. The prevalent regional languages consist of Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Punjabi, Marathi, among others.
  • Foreign Languages: Certain CBSE-affiliated schools additionally provide foreign language subjects, which encompass French, German, Spanish, and various other languages. These courses are designed to foster intercultural comprehension and communication abilities.

Summing Up

In an evolving landscape where language skills are vital, research reveals that early language training significantly boosts students' academic success and employability. The language programmes offered by the IBDP, CIE, and CBSE aim to recognise that linguistic proficiency is not just academically essential but also fundamental to preparing students for success in our diverse world. Through these language programmes, students gain the skills and cultural insights necessary to succeed in a world that increasingly demands effective cross-cultural communication and global competence.

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