O Levels and Matric Education in Pakistan: The Debate over Differences

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The debate regarding the two different educational frameworks, O level and matriculation, in Pakistan is endless. With these two major educational systems in Pakistan, it becomes difficult for students to decide whether O level is better or matric or if matric is equal to O level. This situation mainly arises due to lack of information and knowledge. To make this decision easy for students as well as their parents, we present the main differences between O level and matric.

Difference between O Levels and Matriculation System

Educational System

One of the major differences is that Matric system education is a local framework of the country, whereas O Levels is a British educational system. CIE (Cambridge International Education) UK conducts O Levels examinations all over the world and this system is globally recognized. On the other hand, secondary school education examinations are held by the Secondary and Higher Education Board of Pakistan.

Syllabus and Quality of Education

Another noteworthy difference between the two systems is the level of education. O levels syllabus is comprehensive and concept -based. The courses are tough, quality standards are high and students are prepared for the practical world. Whereas, the matric syllabus is the same as it was years ago, courses haven’t been changed since long and the examination system focuses on rote learning rather than concept building.

Monthly and Examination Fee

O levels, being a UK based system, is expensive as compared to the local educational system of Pakistan. The examination and monthly fee of O level education is pretty high as it costs approximately £65 per subject, totaling to £500 for all subjects. Thus, due to financial constraints, it becomes difficult for a middle class student to opt for O levels.

Grading Systems

The grading system is also completely different. Grades from A+ to E, are awarded in O levels, and students who’ve been unable to make it through are awarded with a U grade. Whereas, the grading in matriculation system is still based on the outdated system of numbers and percentages.

Examination Dates

Under O level framework, exams are held biannually, once in May/June and in November/December. Thus, students with a low passing grade can improve their grade within the span of six months. Matriculation examinations are held once a year, thus a student has to wait for one whole year to appear in supplementary examinations and improve his grade.

Examination Pattern

CIE aims to build logical thinking, problem solving and practical skills in students, thus there are 2 to 3 papers of a single subject. Whereas, matriculation students take a single exam per subject.

The medium of examinations in O levels is only English, whereas in the matriculation system, students can opt for taking their exams in Urdu language. Thus, an O level student is well versed in English which helps him in future.

The Final Verdict

There’s no doubt that the O level system of education is much better as compared to the matriculation system; however, financial restrictions is a major reason why majority of students opt for the local educational framework.

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