Is A Levels the right choice?

A Levels is the right choice in Nepal’s context because of its wide scope in all academic fields with ample opportunities around the globe.

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Pooja Lakhey
Today parents and guardians have a plethora of educational boards to choose from to enroll their children after they complete the Secondary Education Examination (SEE). One such option is the Cambridge GCE A Levels. It is an internationally recognized programme with a lot of flexibility in terms of subject choice, appearing in exams and possibility for retaking exams.

According to Anita Rijal, A Level Programme Coordinator at Trinity International College, the A Levels certificate awarded by the Universities of Cambridge is the gateway to almost all the colleges or universities of the world.

“A Levels is the right choice in Nepal’s context because of its wide scope in all academic fields with ample opportunities around the globe,” she said. It is internationally recognized and facilitates admission to a good university or college anywhere in the world. It also provides students with a positive educational experience that equips them for further studies or employment,” she added.

Unlike rigid provisions in other intermediate level courses, there is flexibility of choosing subjects in A Levels, which has made it popular among students. According to Nikhil Ratna Shakya, an A Level graduate of Rato Bangala School, Science and non-science streams cannot be differentiated in this modern age.

“I took Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Economics and Environment in my A Levels. Despite being in a Science stream, Economics is my favourite subject and because I chose A Levels, I got to study Economics as well,” he said.

Yes, A Levels remain absolutely crucial, especially in term of entry to university. However, it is not just about passing exams.

“One of the oldest complaints we hear about our Nepali education system is how it doesn’t allow enough room for creativity. It is mostly about ‘copy the question and answer it in a certain way. If you don’t, you won’t get good grades’. But A Levels lets you think outside the box,” said Shakya.

Another A Level graduate of Trinity International College, Prechya Bhatta, also has the same options regarding the self-directing approach of the courses. “The first few weeks were tough for me as earlier (in school) we were given notes and the teachers told us exactly what to do, but A Levels is completely different. You learn to think for yourself and there is enough room for creativity as well,” she said.

However, since the prime focus of A Level students is to go overseas for higher studies, most people opine that the present challenge is creating an environment that ensures they don’t get lost abroad. But the A Level graduates acquire knowledge, skills and understanding that enable them to enter or re-enter the Nepali education system without difficulty.

“With the required subject combinations, A Level students can study MBBS and Engineering in Nepal as well,” said Rijal. “A Level students are competitive enough to appear in entrance tests and succed as well since they are better prepared for more independent study.”

A Levels develop students who have a love for learning since the approach fosters an active learner. “I’m currently doing by Bachelor’s here in Nepal and to be honest, A Levels helped a lot since we were taught to focus on limited topics but in great depth,” said Bhatta. “I use the same studying techniques now and am doing better than I thought I would.”

Qualifications are not (and never have been) the be all and end all of a successful career, but they do remain crucial for getting on the first steps of one’s chosen path. Which is why, for most of the students, A Levels is a means to an end, the end being a place in the university of their choice. But that doesn’t mean it is only for those who plan on applying to universities abroad. The transition from A Level to Nepal education system might be a bit tough, but the understanding and knowledge one gains will be fruitful for the future.

source: Lakhey, pooja (2017),"Is A Levels the right choice?", The himalayan times, 24 April 2017

2017-05-02 | EducateNepal

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