If you are here, you probably have some misconceptions, some concerns, and some prejudices that you want help with. Do not be alarmed. It’s not your fault. I also mentioned concerns and misconceptions. True concerns actually transform into misconceptions if not attended to in time, which eventually settle into a prejudice. Matriculation Vs O-Levels!
We are going to ignorantly shatter and mindlessly disperse some really evident facts because you have to be ignorant to learn that these facts are wrong. If you believe how wrong they are, maybe you will begin to see a bigger picture:
- A kid at age 12 is a small kid, and from what he plays to what he likes should not be controlled by parents.
- Kids are not building their futures when they are still learning to be better human beings and good adults.
- Your doubt that your kid does not care about his life is wrong. She/he does care!
So, basically, parents of today treat their kids like Sméagol treats his ring. It’s just a ring for god’s sake. You polish it, wear it when you have to and protect it. You don’t get obsessed over it. But, our parents of today would go to extreme lengths to make sure that an Islamiat teacher who falters in maintaining discipline in the classroom must be removed. Instead of giving them tough love, our parents in Pakistan are extremely-controlling.
BACKGROUND: Roots of the Cursed Rivalry
The Rift: Matriculation vs O-Levels:
There exists a clear division between these kids: some who do O-levels and others who choose Matriculation. Pakistan offers tertiary educational facilities to its youth but at a higher cost. So, it is likely that the British-style education system is being practiced at affluent schools.
Patch-up Between Middle and Upper Class Never to Happen:
The income difference between upper-middle and upper class loses its last chance at a patch-up when their kids grow up separately. The isolation of these two groups has created a rift that widens to an unimaginable length as they proceed further in life. These two groups generally live separate lives. There exists exclusivity in every possible place of interaction they could have: food places, transport, grocery shopping, fashion, traveling for pleasure, hobbies, and everything. Unfortunately, so many of these interests which are streamlined worldwide; like TV shows on Netflix, McDonald’s, grocery shopping from some general store, or playing tennis, are exclusive in Pakistan. Exclusivity and exclusivity!
The Two Groups Never Entwine:
Now, the difference in wealth is no one’s fault but the fact that two factions of society are unable to live together, are unaware of each other’s life situations, is scary. When the affluent go abroad for studies, the middle-class go to public universities. Now, the distinction is not as marked as I say. There is mobility between the two factions but it is very very limited. If someone does opt to stay in Pakistan, their pathways hardly ever cross in a meaningful manner with someone from the poor class because unfortunately, our government has done its best to exclusively serve the two genres and make sure they never entwine.
Anyways, the background is quite enough. You understand where the roots of this rivalry lie. Which brings me to the decision-making of parents when “they” are deciding their kids’ future.
Branding: Matriculation vs O-Levels:
The effect and immense power branding have in terms of converting consumers is the most important factor there exists responsible for that much traffic or controversy around school shopping; or “examination board shopping”(I should say).
Under influence of the brand, the consumers seek to profit from the brand name; rather than being its true beneficiary if it fits their use.
Many middle-class and upper-middle-class just want the brand and limelight when it comes to O-levels or matriculation. The fact that their kid is different from other kids in the same economic class is a great motivator.
Future Prospect in Pakistan: Matriculation vs O-Levels:
There are only a few parents who make smart decisions. If they want their kids to stay in Pakistan, they would want them to go through the government system, because apparently benefits for kids planning their future here; in the government system are far greater than going through the British system of education.
Testing System: Matirculation Vs O-Levels
The education system and testing system in matriculation and O-levels is pretty different.
O-levels or A-levels have a wider range of subjects to choose from. It’s like sitting in emirates and ordering dinner with many choices to each and every course, drink, and snack. This inculcates the idea of choosing a field from this early in life; when hardly any of these students stay true to in their professional lives. This is justified in a way that they were kids back then; young impressionable, emotional and inexperienced human beings who fell prey to the idea of becoming a doctor because they loved holding the stethoscope in every doctor’s appointment.
In matriculation and Intermediates, there are two or three choices max. SO, it’s like sitting in PIA with either a vegetarian course or a beef course. You pick one and accepts everything that comes with it. Fortunately, education systems worldwide have been structured in the most basic disciplines; engineering or biology. You do get fed. It may be that you don’t like your side-course or the appetizer maybe, but you just have to deal with it.
Syllabus: Matriculation vs O-Levels:
Now, in A-levels, there is a set syllabus which the instructor can choose to teach from a few books. So, kids prepare from notes, lectures, and if need be; from specific page of some specific book. They are tested on their concepts and topics they learned; from unseen questions.
In matriculation, that course or syllabus is all compiled into a book. All the topics that you must know at this stage and the specific depths you are required to reach into are compiled into this book. You are tested BUT, the catch is that it will all be from “THE BOOK”. So, the biggest criticism of this system is the test from “THE BOOK”. It may prove valuable to test the kids on their knowledge; to get their creative juices flowing. It also weakens dependency on cramming, which lazy or demotivated students seek to do to pass the grade.
The Art of Giving the “ANSWER”: Matriculation vs O-Levels:
But, O and A-levels students have to learn the art to give an answer which is probably the most methodical and surgical analysis I have ever come across. It took me a lifetime to memorize the document; which I should mention was a huge book, about how to answer my question in the British Examination System. I did lose marks if I did not follow the procedure. Which was not much of an issue in the government system of education. You give what you think feels right.
Now, there can be a good argument raised. Since the A-level kids face an unseen test, there has to be a guidebook in place to monitor their answering capabilities for a more certain judgment of which answer is better and which is not. But, if we talk about pressure, the fact that these kids get to practice their creative skills in a censored way to meet a certain standard is almost as conventional as it can get. It can end up curbing their intellectual capabilities; when they are more concerned to fit within a certain narrative or ideal.
The article is going to continue …