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The allure of an international degree
General Certificate of Education Advance-levels (A-levels) is an international course under the University of Cambridge (UK). A-levels is further divided into AS and A2 levels. The hype towards A-levels has been increasing since the past few years in Nepal. However, people have the misconception that students are sure to fly abroad after they graduate.
Nasana Bajracharya of My City talked with few of the A2 students from Global College International to understand the course as well as to know their reasons for the undertaking of the degree.
A-levels give me a global platform along with that making me proficient to compete with students from all over the world. Even though we are in Nepal, we are studying the same syllabus and are constantly updated with the world. The syllabus justifies my goal of being a social researcher as it helps me to get familiar and compare the social status of the world. It is not necessary to go abroad after A-levels but it definitely enhances your skill and understanding.
A-levels promote self-learning. Teachers are there but we need to work hard and give our input. As a result, it makes you more curious and flexible to new information. Not only that, A-levels also give us the flexibility to give examinations as many times as we like. We have to fulfill certain credits but in-between those exams, we can even choose the better grade.
I never liked the traditional education system we had till grade 10. It was exam-oriented but A-levels help me focus on my strengths. It is a bit expensive but if you look at it in the long-term, this course actually saves you money. If you want to go abroad after +2, universities abroad require you complete a diploma course first (usually 6 months-1 year), which is more expensive than this two-year course. With A-levels you can apply straight for the intake and save that money.
In terms of in-depth knowledge, whatever we study in A levels, are equivalent to what we study in Master’s level of Nepal. Cambridge University is one of the oldest universities in the world, yet the syllabus is up-to date. Unlike Tribhuvan University, teaching and grading system is totally different here. Each subject carries separate validation and you can continue your further studies based on the sub
As subjects are all practical-based it makes us more proficient in our respective field. Apart from the subject flexibility and the globally-uniform syllabus, A-levels also help to create a base for ourselves. It is also easier for us to face standardized tests like SAT, TOEFL, IELTS et cetera and score better in them. So, we have a better chance to get scholarship in our further studies abroad.
I have a CBSE background. And for me it was a better option than +2; it was easier for me to cope with this education system. The exam pattern and courses are similar. I have that flexibility to learn multiple subjects and but I don’t have to give exams. I want to be a criminal lawyer, but I also have Economics and I can be corporate lawyer with that.
Different from the standard subject choice in Science, Management or Humanities stream of +2 level, A-levels have given me the choice to choose my own combination of subjects. I have Biology and Psychology which is grooming me to achieve my dream of being a Psychiatrist. I have chosen Art as an additional subject, but I’m free not to give examinations.
It makes you think practically in all topics and can be implemented in any field. You are not restricted to bookish knowledge. Even the books we have are revised every two years which means it keeps you updated and upgraded with the international affairs. Till grade 10, we had certain set of books and were guided to read just that. But here, we are encouraged to understand those books and learn beyond them.
The courses are very demanding. Students’ input is as important as the teachers’ guidance. The course is designed in a way that it explores students’ inner talents and helps them understand, not mug-up. Not only students but teachers are also required to be updated with the course and the world. I don’t think it’s necessary to go abroad after A-levels.
I have quite similar subject choice to that of management stream in +2. I was confused and it was my dad, who convinced me to study A-levels. I think I made a right choice because we get to study latest and updated books, not the same that my dad had studied in his time. I aim to be a banker. And if I had studied in HSEB, I would have been studying about the same outdated banking methods, profit and loss theories, which we don’t even use in real time. Here, we have teachers, and coordinators to ask our queries and get tutorials and guest lecturers/ motivation speakers who guide us with their experience.