Essay topics: A nation should require all of its students to study the same national curriculum until they enter college.
The issue of studying the same national curriculum before entering college is a contentious one. While such a requirement could create parity among the students by preparing each one in a similar manner and protect the society's overall well-being, it could restrict students in their ability to study according to their aptitude.
Firstly, following the same national curriculum before college enables all students to have equal opportunities in the future. An all-encompassing national curriculum could prepare all students to choose freely their future course of education. In contrast, if students are given academic options at school level, e.g. Matric or O-levels in Pakistan, it creates disparity among the society. There is a prevailing mindset in the Pakistani society which deems O-levels students to be academically more sound and knowledgeable than Matric students. In order to restrain such thinking, the Educational Board of Pakistan requires equivalency certificates for O-levels students before they can be enrolled anywhere for further education. Such equivalence downplays the performance of O-levels students, such that a student scoring an A* in a subject with a percentage of 99% will be equivalent to a score of 90%. Thus, O-levels students get discouraged and lose motivation to work harder and perform better in the future.
Secondly, differences in national curriculum can lead to frustration among the students. E.g. Matriculation students in Pakistan often delve into inferiority complex. They start believing that because O-levels is not as affordable as Matriculation, they probably belong to lower-income households. Such a mindset enhances the perceived income inequality among the societal members, especially the youth. If such frustration and feelings of discrimination inculcate at such a young age, it could have detrimental effects on the nation's well-being, prosperity and quality of living in the future.
Thirdly, the option of studying different curriculum before college can adversely affect the choices of a student in their future education. For example, O-levels students are often given preference over Matric students, because Matriculation is often equated with memorizing books and reproducing an exact copy of the books' content in exams, requiring no development and refinement of analytical or critical thinking skills. Thus, O-levels students are considered to have a broader skill set, giving them more opportunities in the future, especially if they plan to go abroad. Matriculation students leaving Pakistan for higher studies tend to face difficulties in admissions abroad. Their education is not considered adequate enough for studying international curriculum. For this purpose, they require further studies at the same level of education to make themselves equivalent to students abroad, wasting time and resources of the student.
However, if a single national curriculum is adopted, and it is not well thought-out, as in the case of Matriculation, students will be restricted in their ability to study according to their aptitude. For example, given that the national curriculum of Pakistan offers only Matriculation at the secondary level of education, if no other option was available, all Pakistani students would face the same aforementioned issues. Therefore, before implementing the same curriculum across the nation, it is crucial to have an upto the mark curriculum that meets international standards and does not limit students in their ability to choose their field of interest, by offering all fundamental courses for all students.
Conclusively, opting for the same national curriculum requires deep thought before implementation. In my opinion, it is important to have such parity, in order to create a sense of equality among students, without engendering feelings of discrimination or kindling inferiority/superiority complexes. Moreover, it saves time and resources by eliminating the need to have equivalence certifications. Furthermore, it circumvents societal frustration, especially among the youth. However, care must be taken in developing the national curriculum so that it meets international standards and does not create problems for students going anywhere in the world for further studies.
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