Not A Smart Choice

 

Dr. Byanjana Sharma

It has hardly been a month since students sat for the Secondary Education Examination (SEE), and most of them have already become busy with their ‘bridge courses’. Bridge courses have become a fashion these days; it seems as though those students who do not take such courses are going to miss out on something very important in their life. Are they really that important?

I do not think so. In fact, this break is very significant for the SEE students. They have completed 10 years' of schooling, so they now have a chance to reflect on those years to better prepare themselves for the future. Instead of devoting their time to bridge courses, they can do numerous other things which will be more valuable. For example, they can go for skill development programmes, such as basic sewing, cooking, typing, writing, public speaking, basic first aid and many others. These life skills are always useful.

 Another alternative is travelling. In Western countries, almost all students take a gap year after they complete their schooling, and they utilise this time to learn more about the world. For this, they usually do backpacking which allows them to go to different countries where they work for their daily expenses. They travel carefree and learn many life lessons. Then, they think they are ready to enter the next phase of their life, i.e., either further studies or work.

 Although backpacking is not common in Nepal, young adults are able to, at the very least, explore different parts of the country which are accessible for them. Additionally, they can discover various activities to do which interest them.

Bridge courses rarely challenge students, as most of them are only operated for business purposes. I talked to a couple of students who took such courses, and their responses were negative because they did not find them helpful to hone their study skills. Basically, the providers of these courses claim that they prepare the students to get through different types of entrance examinations so that they can study the subjects they like in grade 11.

An entrance examination is a standardised aptitude test which measures students' collective knowledge in different skill areas, such as verbal, mathematical, analytical and writing skills. Different colleges have different test formats and students can obtain them from the college where they intend to apply. The students who are good in studies at their school can easily pass the entrance exams if they collect a certain amount of information about the format of the exams and timing. In terms of subject matter, what they have learned so far will be enough as the entrance tests measures their potential to perform well in future. A student who does not have the ability to do well, let's say, in mathematics cannot excel in this subject even if he attends a bridge course.

Therefore, I suggest the SEE takers to choose better options over merely a bridge course so that they can better utilise this break from rigorous studies.

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