CHENNAI: On paper, the International Baccalaureate (IB) school diploma with its global recognition seems to score, but in reality not all Indian colleges accept it for admission. Several colleges and universities don't accept the diploma, despite the fact that it was recognised by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) in 1983 as equivalent to other class 12 exams in the country.
The IB website lists the institutions that accept the diploma, but parents are not happy with the fact that only a limited number of colleges accept it. "If it has AIU recognition, doesn't that mean all colleges have to accept the diploma?" asks a city parent whose child had trouble getting into college. Recently, there were reports of Delhi University turning away students with the diploma.
The other problem that IB students face relates to the subjects they study. "One student had a hard time obtaining admission in an arts college in Bangalore as the college heads could not comprehend the subjects the child had studied," says education consultant K R Maalathi, who helped set up a couple of IB schools. "The subject 'Theory of Knowledge', for instance, had the admissions head stumped. The student had to explain that the course covered a range of subjects from history and maths to language and philosophy," she says.
The IB office is doing its best to address the lack of awareness. Nine months ago, it appointed a University liaison officer, who has been visiting colleges across the country. "We have had instances of colleges informing parents that they do not understand the syllabus," says Priyamvada Taneja, IB university liaison officer, who is based in New Delhi. "We have set up university recognition forums. In November, we will be launching college counselling workshops," she says.
Taneja says the only problem with the IB diploma is timing. "The IB results come out much later than CBSE and ICSE results, and it is well after colleges call for applications. So students usually apply with a provisional certificate and a letter from the school, and the IB office submits the marks later," she said. Only 30% of IB students remain in India for undergraduate study.
Despite the admission glitches and fees that average around Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh a year, IB schools seem to gaining in popularity across India. The first Indian IB school was authorised in 1976. There are now 77 schools across the country, and Chennai has about two. Sheila Alexander, vice-principal - academics, Good Shepherd International School, Ooty, says, "It is popular because of the depth of knowledge and choice of subjects. If students get proper guidance from the school for college admissions, they should not have a problem."
The diploma is not accepted by some colleges despite the fact that it is recognised by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) as equivalent to class 12 exams in the country.