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Open Boards Certification Exams for Homeschooling in India

Majority of home schooling families who seek to appear for equivalent of X or XII grade exam for certification or to be eligible for college admissions or higher education or entrance exams choose either Cambridge IGCSE or NIOS certification. These certificates are equivalent to board certificates like ICSE, CBSE, State board certificates like SSC, HSC etc.

Cambridge IGCSE Home Schooling or NIOS Homeschooling ?

  • NIOS Homeschooling is suggested as better option if board certificate is needed just for compliance or eligibility.
  • Some Homeschool families suggest Cambridge IGCSE curriculum is better suited for stimulating learning.
  • NIOS certification is very economical compared to Cambridge IGCSE certification which can be expensive for many families.
  • NIOS has better acceptability as equivalence by Association of Indian Universities(AIU) than Non Indian origin boards like Cambridge International.

Cambridge IGCSE Homeschooling in India

Information related to Cambridge IGCSE board is available at Cambridge website cambridgeinternational.org

Some IGCSE schools in Pune Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and many other locations in India accept homeschoolers in India as private candidate to prepare and/or write exams for Cambridge IGCSE qualification as private candidates.
List of Cambridge schools who accept IGCSE private candidate in India and can support home learners.

While appearing for Cambridge board as private candidates there are some practical aspects which home schooling families or private candidates should discuss with Cambridge IGCSE schools to avoid disappointments at last moments.

1) Cambridge IGCSE offers more than 70 subjects, however not all subjects are available to private candidate. Some subjects are to be studied only under supervision of school teacher. Arrangements can be explored with school whereby homeschooler can opt for such subjects (with some added costs).
2) Cambridge IGCSE Exams are conducted 3 times a year. In May-June, Oct-Nov, Feb-Mar. IGCSE Affiliated Schools supporting private candidates may or may not be able offer this board exam at all these times due logistical burdens.
3) If IGCSE private candidate doing home schooling chooses unique subject which not anybody else or not many candidates have selected then logistical burdens and costs like sending papers to Cambridge IGCSE for assessments are not shared and thus cost increases.

So consult the Cambridge IGCSE school to see if preferred subjects and preferred IGCSE exam times can be supported by the Cambridge school.

If candidate wishes to get admitted for 11th in schools/colleges associated with Indian boards like HSC, CBSE, ICSE etc then best of 5 exam subjects is calculated and also candidate needs to have 'C' in minimum 5 exam subjects. Taking minimum 7 subjects has been suggested.

IGCSE Candidate need not appear for all subjects in one exam. For example candidate can appear for 4 subjects in Oct-Nov and rest 3 subjects in Feb-Mar. Or any combinations as needed.

In IGCSE it is not necessary that candidate has to take certain number of languages or maths etc. There is flexibility to take any subjects.

However if Indian board requires that there has to be maths or english or science for admission for certain courses then that needs to be taken into account. Keeping subjects like maths and english has been suggsted.

In IGCSE there is option to take core subject or extended subject. For example if candidate struggles with Maths then s/he can write exam for core maths instead of extended maths exam. Core is easier that extended, but candidate can get maximum 'C' for core subject. It is suggested that candidate should prepare for extended subject nevertheless when writing exam for core subject.

Cambridge Schools which serve private candidates for IGCSE exams may offer add-on services like LAB facilities, coaching to prepare for specific subjects and Alternative to Practicals.

When homeschool candidate appears as private candidate, certificate will have mention as private candidate. If home educated candidate wants to appear as regular candidate, such arrangement can be explored with IGCSE schools. Please note that Association of Indian Universities (AIU) does not grant equivalence to qualifications that are awarded to Cambridge curriculum students who undertake studies in private mode.

Cambridge IGCSE only suggests reference books and do not have specific textbooks. These reference books can be purchased from sites like amazon, Flipkart etc online or from some specific stores.

Cost of exam - We have heard per subject fees for IGCSE exams ranging from 5000 to 25000. Confirm with schools, charges could be different for different centers.

Some Cambridge IGCSE online course providers are registered Cambridge International Schools offering selected Cambridge courses online.
List of Cambridge IGCSE Schools Online for Homeschooling

(National Institute of Open Schooling) NIOS Homeschooling in India

Information related to NIOS is available at nios.ac.in

NIOS offers Secondary Course equivalent to class X and Senior Secondary Course equivalent to class XII. NIOS also offers OBE (Open Basic Education) courses for classes equivalent to III, V and VIII.

Candidate can register for NIOS online or through NIOS study center or regional center. Minimum age of 14 and a self certificate “I have studied enough to be able to pursue Secondary course” is sufficient. Admission once registered is valid up to next 5 years. Study material is posted to candidate.

Learner is required to pass in a minimum of five subjects including one or maximum two languages. Maximum 7 subjects can be chosen and subjects can be changed if needed. Public examinations are held twice a year in the months of April-May and October-November on the dates fixed by the NIOS. Learner can also avail the facility of On Demand Examination. Candidate need not appear for all subjects in one exam.

For admission in the NIOS Senior Secondary course, the candidate must have passed the Secondary course from a recognised Board or NIOS. The minimum age to for admission in the Senior Secondary Course is 15 years, as on 31st July of the year of admission.

Homeschool facebook group for Cambridge IGCSE, NIOS Home schooing in India
NIOS IGCSE Group for Homeschooling in India

Shared by : Muzaffar Shaikh (Chief Editor, Parent associated with Indian homeschoolers groups)

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