GCE A-Level for well-rounded education

Despite claims that the GCE A-Level has a much lighter syllabus workload than the HSEB +2 and covers topics at a superficial level, it doesn’t mean that the GCE A-Level course is any less rigorous than HSEB +2.

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If you are one of those post-SLC students anxiously waiting for their SLC results, then you’re probably doing one of the following: going out for movies with friends, touring places you’ve never been before, laying back at home, and watching good old television and a whole bunch of other entertaining activities to kill time. And who wouldn’t?

You’re probably thinking it makes perfect sense since the HSEB +2 admissions open only after your SLC results are announced. Well then, you’re in for a rude awakening call if you haven’t done your research well enough; because the General Certificate of Education (GCE) A-Level admissions has already opened in many colleges and institutions all over Nepal.

The GCE A-Level is an intermediate higher secondary qualification that is equivalent to Nepal’s HSEB +2 course. The course, which is administered by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), typically takes two years to complete and is split into two parts, each lasting a year. The first part (year) is known as the Advanced Subsidiary Level (AS Level) conferring half a credit upon completion while the second part (year) is known as the Advanced Level (A Level) and confers a full credit upon completion.

Every year, CIE conducts two GCE A-Level examinations during the May/June and the October/November periods. The normal A-Level academic structure in Nepal follows the May/June examinations but students are allowed to retake their examinations in October/November.

Here are a couple of reasons why considering taking GCE A-Level to HSEB +2 could be a good idea.

Flexible curriculum

During your journey till Class 10, you’ve probably come across this dilemma; whether to take the Science stream or the Humanities stream. It’s a tough decision especially if you see yourself as a versatile student wanting to explore different fields before finally settling on one. If you are uncertain about what you really want to pursue for the next two years, you can solve this conundrum by choosing to take the GCE A-Level.

Deepak Kayastha, the A-Level Coordinator of Budhanilkantha School, says, “In A-Level, you can choose from a number of combinations. You can take Physics, Chemistry and then Economics or perhaps two humanities subjects and one science.”

In addition to that, no prior knowledge of the subjects you want to take is required for admissions. “It doesn’t matter if you have never studied Economics before. Everyone starts fresh when they begin their A-Level course,” says Shruti Jha who completed her A-Level from Chelsea International Academy.

International recognition
One of the best perks of taking GCE A-Level is that its academic qualification is internationally recognized and is sometimes used as a criterion for admissions to good educational institutions. Some top US universities even award course credits if you manage to achieve academic excellence in GCE A-Level.

“Half the world knows University of Cambridge, so that sums it all,” Shruti says, referring to the certificate conferred upon successful completion of A-Level.

Kayastha agrees, saying, “Students with CIE A-Level qualifications are generally favored when applying to overseas universities because they are perceived to have gained not just knowledge but the pre-requisite analytical skills for university studies.”

Academic rigor and engagement
Despite claims that the GCE A-Level has a much lighter syllabus workload than the HSEB +2 and covers topics at a superficial level, it doesn’t mean that the GCE A-Level course is any less rigorous than HSEB +2.

“While A-Level has a shorter syllabus, students are always expected to go beyond the textbook knowledge to deal with questions and problems related to practical life,” says Sanjim Tripathi, a recent A-Level graduate, who excelled in the May/June 2013 A-Level examinations.He further says that the A-Level curriculum develops students’ understanding and analytical skills in applying knowledge to new as well as familiar situations, and presenting well-reasoned explanations and communicating them coherently.

Array of subjects
GCE A-Level is known to have a huge array of subjects that is bound to put anyone in a dilemma. Besides the accustomed sciences and humanities subjects, you can choose from unconventional subject choices like ‘Applied Information and Communication Technology’, ‘Divinity’ and ‘Food Studies’.

“It’s exciting to know that there are little constraints as to what subjects I can choose from. I’ve never really thought about this before but I’m thinking of taking Spanish in A-Level,” says Brinjal Gyawali, who just took her SLC exams from Chitwan and is applying for A-Level colleges in Kathmandu.

source: republica,21 april 2014

2014-04-22 | EducateNepal

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