Monday, April 15, 2019

Options after Class X: Exploring the pros and cons of A Levels and NEB

Two boards offering intermediate level courses to students that are popular in Nepal at present are the National Examination Board (NEB) - Class XI and XII - until recently recognised as HSEB; and the Cambridge International Examination, UK - A Levels.

While some students opt to pursue A Levels, others continue studying in Class XI after their Secondary Education Examinations (SEE). Both are intermediate level education programmes, so how do students determine which one to opt for?

Vickrant Gurung, Head of Business Development, British Council says, "A Levels has more pros than cons. Its curriculum is rich and in-depth. Candidates have found this curriculum to be enriching for their personal development that is why they prefer to take A Levels.

"On completion of this course, students learn five skills of Cambridge - engaged, innovative, confident, responsible, and creative.

Gurung claims, "It tests all round skills of students and develops their analytical, critical thinking abilities along with the subject matter. It better prepares students for the future.

"Dr Dilliram Rimal, Member Secretary of NEB, claims that the curriculum of Class XI and XII is of international standard offering both theory and practical-based courses.

On the effectiveness of the teaching-learning process which tends to focus more on rote learning, Dr Rimal opines, "The curriculum of Class XI and XII is both theoretical and practical, but its effectiveness depends on the teacher - how s/he teaches the students in the classroom. Sometimes their methods work, sometime they do not.

"So, for the past few years "we have been trying to implement a friendly educational approach" as per Dr Rimal, who points out, "Our experience shows that some learn more with a strict approach, while some learn better in a friendly environment. So, one cannot say our method is wrong. However, how to approach the students depends upon the teachers.

"However, Dr Rimal admits their system lags behind A Levels, "It will take a lot of time for our education to reach the standard of A Levels.

"The reason as per Dr Rimal is, "We are now in the process of integrating the curriculum of Class IX to XII. Till now we have revised the curriculum of Class X, we will revise the curriculum and Class XI and XII in the next year.

" The flexibility for students to choose subjects as per their choice is another benefit of pursuing A Levels. They can choose and study subjects of different faculties under A Levels, as per Gurung.

Students of Class XI faced a disadvantage recently as their exams were postponed for more than a month due to the upcoming local elections.

On the other hand, A Levels boasts of "one of the best testing mechanisms in the world" as per Gurung, who added, "The curriculum and the testing process of A Levels is regularly researched and updated by Cambridge International Examination." Despite the many benefits of pursuing A Levels, the cost is a major hurdle.

"Students who are not economically strong will not be able to afford A Levels," Gurung says.Every course has its pros and cons - students should understand their requirements, enrol in the course as per their needs and study effectively to succeed in whatever subjects they choose to study.

source: sunita lohani (2017),"Options after Class X: Exploring the pros and cons of A Levels and NEB", The himalayan times, 24 april 2017

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