Cambridge and national education system: How do the two differ?

Cambridge is more practical while the national system is knowledge and content based. Net photo.

The education system has evolved and this includes the form of curriculum offered by education institutions. Today Students have the liberty to attend any kind of education system that they can afford or are comfortable with.

In the past, most schools mostly offered the national curriculum however his has changed.

The occurrence of international schools has come with new curriculums and one of these is the Cambridge system of education. 

Both the national and this form of education systems have their values as compared below;

Isa Kiyingi, a language teacher at CCI-Essi-Nyamirambo notes that Cambridge is knowledge based as students are challenged to do research on their own and at times do class presentations on topics given, they are challenged to think, unlike the national education that is content based as teachers do the research for students and give them class notes and homework. Basically in this education system, teachers give all the content to students.

He explains that Cambridge education is child-centred, that’s is, the students do more of the class work and aim at problem solving where the tutors are just there to be consulted. Therefore students are more creative.

The national education is teacher-centred. The teacher is the head of the class, and the knowledge giver, here students receive the information given by the teacher, he explains.

Kiyingi states that a teacher is a facilitator in Cambridge as he or she just intervenes, yet in the national education, the teacher is the king of knowledge. Students rely on the teacher fully.

According to Sarah Kabiswa Nakiberu, a teacher at Green Hills Academy, Nyarutarama, Cambridge is more practical, teaches skills, for lifelong learners while the national one is knowledge and content based.

Sarah says, Cambridge relies more on students depending on the day today improvement to compete with the world while national is based on students being able to pass exams after a period of time.

“Cambridge curriculum is updated at a regular period of time depending on the demands of the society while national is updated only after five years,” she notes.

Kiyingi states that Cambridge education provides value deep subject knowledge as well as the conceptual understanding that helps students make links between different aspects of a subject but also encourages students to develop higher order thinking skills, problem solving, critical thinking, independent research, collaboration and presenting arguments.

These skills are transferable skills that will last a lifetime, and prepare students for their future lives.

“Cambridge education is internationally reorganised while national education is only locally reorganised. Cambridge education also focuses more on the skills like languages and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and teaches more on how to apply them in real life but national education is more of theory and answering exam questions however, I find national education easy to pass than Cambridge education since I did both programs,” says Divin Dushimimana, a student of Green Hills Academy.

Students in Cambridge education are more exposed than national education; however students in national education pass sciences better, she notes.

“Students in Cambridge education speak languages better than those in national education.”

Nakiberu explains that for the teachers, there is a lot of teacher support in Cambridge forums which is not the case with national system. Cambridge gives a chance to learners to participate more in class activities.

However, she notes that the national curriculum is more appealing to the local students as they relate easily to it while sometimes Cambridge is strange to them.

Dushimimana further says that Cambridge students develop an informed curiosity and a lasting passion for learning. They also gain the essential skills they need for success at university and in their future careers.

He adds, Cambridge trains teachers and learners attributes of confidence, responsibility, reflection, innovation and engagement which are powerful, aspirational and stimulating as there is a lot of interaction between the teachers and the learners.

And that this might not be the case with the national education system as students think of the teacher as the head which in some cases might bridge a gap between the teacher and the learner, thus limiting the interaction.