S:     Remember our schools days? When we were both in O-levels?

A:     Much less clearly than I would wish for, but yes. What about them?

S:     There used to be an unruly class full of troublemakers across the hall called 10-M, what did the ‘M’ stand for?

A:     It stood for “Matric”, that was the only section in our school that studied matriculation. It’s funny now that you mention it, I always remember them like that, even different batches. They never seemed to fit in with the rest of the school. They were great people, I played cricket with many of them, but they always stuck to each other, I wonder why.

S:     Oh yes, that explains it. They studied matriculation in a school full of O-level students; they would always have felt like second class citizens. The course was a simple drag that rewarded rote memorisation rather than critical thinking, it had outdated ideas and obsolete teaching methods and almost all of the students struggled with the English language. This was within our school, where the teaching standards and facilities were uniform; outside the school the gulf is much wider.

A:     That is not true, I know dozens of students who after matriculation have gone on and achieved great things, and this is just a perception that the Cambridge system produces better students. Look, Matriculation is still our state’s official system, and most remote villages and towns still teach that. Here it is not the system that produces average students but the villages themselves; where there aren’t able teachers, the facilities are poor, if there are any, and the students don’t have any need to utilise English in their daily lives, leading to their struggles with it. O-levels exists in urban centres, therefore, better students.

S:     I think you may be on to something here, but you cannot say the syllabus does not play a part in the perceived gulf. Objectively speaking, you should be able to see which system is better. Matriculation is too outdated to prepare a student for the rigors of a modern, globalised world where English is slowly but surely becoming the official language of international communication. Both may become successful, but O-level is preferred to matriculation in the job market. I think it’s time for a overhaul, we should create a more sophisticated and modern education system.

A:     Pray, tell me, where you will find

sophisticated and modern teachers in rural Pakistan.