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In this case study, the Royal Institute group of schools in Sri Lanka explains why they moved to a wholly Cambridge curriculum and how they gained parents’ support.
Since 2005, when three schools in Sri Lanka offered Cambridge alongside other boards, take-up of Cambridge programmes has grown considerably. We now have 42 Cambridge Associate Schools and three groups of Cambridge International Schools in Sri Lanka. The Royal Institute group of schools is one these. They have made an interesting transition from a mixed curriculum to becoming fully Cambridge schools.
One of the first schools in Sri Lanka to offer an international education, the Royal Institute group started its operations in 1971. Now in its 44th year, the group has four main branch schools and several subsidiary branches, with more than 5000 students studying across all branches.
Our association with the group is a decade old, and their Nugegoda branch has been a Cambridge independent centre since its inception. Encouraged by the consistent performance of this branch, the group’s management decided to move away from the mixed curriculum model and offer only Cambridge programmes in all its branches.
Mrs Gunawardena, Principal, Royal Institute (Havelock Town and Maya Ave Branch), said: “The international recognition of the Cambridge curriculum, the University of Cambridge, and the options Cambridge offers to our students for further studies, has immense value. We found that our schools that offered the Cambridge curriculum were consistently delivering better results than those offering a mixed curriculum.”
The schools initially experienced some resistance from parents who were unsure about the move away from a mixed curriculum, but some simple initiatives helped. Orientation sessions for parents by our Schools Development Manager, good use of our online support sites and resources, and active participation of teachers in training events enabled a smooth and successful transition.
So what’s behind the popularity of Royal Institute amongst parents? Mrs Gunawardena explained: “There are many reasons why parents choose Cambridge at Royal Institute, one of them being our student-centred approach. Education at Royal Institute goes beyond purely learning facts, but instead develops learners who are able to engage with their subject and apply their understanding in many contexts.”