MG university's failure to recognize IB curriculum draws fire from Santhosh George Kulangara

Meanwhile, MGU refuted Santhosh’s allegations, stating that it did no wrong in the matter.
Santhosh George Kulangara
Santhosh George KulangaraPhoto | Express

KOTTAYAM: During a recent panel discussion on the state’s higher education sector, globetrotting entrepreneur Santhosh George Kulangara stirred up a hornet’s nest with his passionate critique of the Mahatma Gandhi University (MGU). With sharp words, he aimed at the Kottayam-based university’s failure to recognise his daughter’s higher secondary-level course, which the Safari TV founder said had resulted in her losing a year of study.

Santhosh’s daughter completed her international baccalaureate (IB) programme at a school in Kodaikanal before joining a bachelor’s degree course at Changanassery Assumption College. But, the university refused to acknowledge her previous course work, forcing her to discontinue her studies a year after starting college.

His denunciation was made more compelling by the presence of Prof Sabu Thomas, the former vice-chancellor of MGU, on the panel. Tearing into the university, Santhosh expressed his disappointment at its lack of understanding of the IB curriculum, which had led to his daughter’s academic setback.

He also emphasised the irony of such a university being involved in reforming the education system, when it fails to acknowledge internationally recognised courses like the IB programme.

Santhosh’s impassioned plea for recognition of alternative educational pathways has sparked a debate on social media, shedding light on the challenges faced by students pursuing non-traditional academic routes. His stance serves as a reminder of the importance of embracing diverse educational backgrounds in shaping a more inclusive and progressive higher education system.

“I aimed to raise awareness among students about important considerations to keep in mind during their studies. My daughter went through this ordeal in 2016 when MGU did not recognise the IB syllabus. Fortunately, the university has since revised its policy to acknowledge the programme,” Santhosh told TNIE.

Meanwhile, MGU refuted Santhosh’s allegations, stating that it did no wrong in the matter. In a statement, university registrar K Jayachandran clarified that the IB syllabus has been recognised as a valid course since 2007.

“Since 2017, IB students who have correctly applied online have been issued eligibility certificates by the university for further studies. We are currently in the process of verifying all details of certificates issued prior to this period,” Jayachandran stated.

It was revealed that Santhosh’s daughter had enrolled for the BA communicative English programme in the academic year 2016-17. Jayachandran mentioned that the student’s application was processed within three months. “Nevertheless, a thorough investigation will be carried out to ensure that there were no errors on the part of the university,” he added.

IB schools in Kerala

At the turn of the millennium, there were only 10 to 12 IB schools in India. However, the number has since grown significantly, with an estimated 119 schools now offering the curriculum across the country. Kerala now boasts 18 IB schools.

Trivandrum International School (TRINS), the first IB world school in the state, follows the IB primary years programme (IB PYP) from KG to grade 5. TRINS students have the opportunity to continue with the IB diploma programme in grades 11 and 12. Cochin International School (Cochins) is another notable institution offering the IB PYP and diploma programme to senior students.

Additionally, several other schools in Kerala have implemented IB programmes. Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the popularity of the IB programme, which can be attributed to globalisation and increased international exposure.

As more Indians move abroad for work and many non-resident Indians (NRIs) return home, there is a heightened awareness of the benefits of an international education.

Many parents see the IB programme as a stepping stone for their children to pursue higher education abroad. They believe that the curriculum provides a solid foundation and equips students with the necessary skills to succeed in a competitive academic environment. As a result, the IB programme has become a popular choice for families looking to give their children a head start in their academic and professional careers.

“The IB diploma is a grade 12 qualification recognised by most Indian universities, as well as being a qualification that enables entrance to institutions globally. Students can combine subjects to support applications for medicine and engineering, as well as for the joint degrees that are increasingly offered by Indian universities,” said Richard Hillebrand, principal, TRINS.

“Students not only achieve the diploma but also develop skills that strengthen team-building, risk-taking and leadership. They have a skill set that is very suitable for study at university,” he added.

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