IGCSE students can choose Sanskrit as second language

Convinced of its importance in universities abroad, members of the Maharashtra International Schools’ Association decide to add the language to list of options

International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) students will now be able to choose Sanskrit as their second language in A Levels (Std XI and XII). The decision was taken by principals at the annual meeting of the Maharashtra International Schools’ Association (MISA), which was held in the city on September 13.

As of now, IGCSE students have to compulsorily opt for English as their first language and choose their second language from a list of languages including Hindi, Marathi, French, German etc. “While Sanskrit is offered by the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) board in IGCSE and A levels, most schools didn’t offer Sanskrit as the second language because of the lack of demand among students.

However, members of MISA were surprised when they got to know the importance this language is given in universities abroad,” said Kavita Agarwal, principal of D G Khetan International School in Malad. However, students can only choose the language if their school provides it as an option.

The meeting, which was attended by principals from across the state, was held at D G Khetan International School in Malad. It was also attended by Michael O’Sullivan, CEO of CIE, and regional directors of CIE. One of the speakers was Paul Palmarozza, director of Sanskrit language at St James School in the UK.

“He explained to us the preference that students who have opted for Sanskrit enjoy in international universities, including at the University of Oxford. While the language seems to have taken a backseat in our country, it was interesting to find that universities abroad are giving importance to it,” said Rohan Bhatt, chairman of Children’s Academy Group of Schools and a member of MISA.

Principals and teachers keenly sat through the session held by Palmarozza, and were surprised to know his daughters had opted for Sanskrit in their A Levels and that their applications got preference at the University of Oxford. “We were explained that universities abroad give special preference to classical languages, and students who opt for such a language get an edge over others.

Our children are being provided with the best of education by the CIE board, so we decided to give them a much-needed boost in terms of curriculum, so as to help them with their future education as well,” added Agarwal. The MISA conference was also attended by developmental paediatrician and renowned psychologist, Dr Samir Dalwai, who highlighted the problems that schools face in handling parental anxiety. He also gave a presentation on how this issue can be handled by schools.

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