Two education companies have today announced plans to jointly deliver international GCSE and A-level qualifications for Middle East schools teaching a British curriculum.

Unlike other international GCEs, however, the qualification will not be available to UK schools.

Publisher Oxford University Press and qualification provider AQA will jointly offer newly-created Oxford International AQA Examinations.

When asked whether qualifications will be based on the new ‘more rigorous’ GCSE exam standards, a spokesperson said more details will be revealed in the coming months as qualifications are developed.

But he said they will be validated by NARIC – the national agency responsible for providing information, advice and opinion on qualifications – to ensure the same standard of quality as UK exams and that they will use the same 1-9 grading system as the new UK GCSEs.

The content will differ to qualifications in the UK, however, to cater for international students.

Andrew Hall, AQA’s chief executive, said:  “In recent years we have increasingly been approached by governments around the world who want our help in improving the standard of education that they give their young people…. This new joint venture presents us with a real opportunity to provide something which really responds to the needs of international educators and will enable us to share the UK’s strong educational values and best practice internationally.”

It is expected the first qualifications will be available for teaching from September next year.

Nigel Portwood, chief executive of Oxford University Press, added: “Partnering with AQA to develop these new international qualifications will extend and strengthen our support of learners and teachers and lead to higher educational attainment for millions of students around the world.”


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