The country I belong to is India. The education system followed is the 10+2 system, consisting of five years of primary education, three years of upper primary, two years of secondary and two years of higher secondary education, also referred to in some cases as a junior college. These levels are further sub-divided into grades. The students have to follow a more or less common curriculum until high school. Upon entering the senior secondary level, different streams get introduced into the curriculum, these being science, commerce and humanities. There exist three bodies or boards of education in my country – two of them are governed by the Centre – the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) and ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education), whereas each state has its board which falls under the category of State Board. A typical under graduation course lasts for three years and postgraduation for two, except for the fields of engineering and medicine which have a longer duration.
In comparison, there are differences in the Canadian system of education. The school levels have 3 divisions – primary, secondary and post-secondary. The education system is governed by the provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is handled by the province. Various district boards oversee the education programs in schools. The tertiary education system is also different from India. For instance, there are options available for vocational training after school. The duration for an honours degree in Australia is four and to obtain a Master’s degree, one needs between 1-2 years and the PhD programs are longer than those in other countries. Unlike India, where the medium of instructions is not always English, the medium of instructions in Canada has always been English.
The Canadian system of education is considered to be one of the best in the world. I am presently studying in the University of Fraser Valley (UFV) and overall, the educational set up here is more technologically advanced than my previous institution. Most of the books and other resources are digitized and students prefer documenting their notes on the laptop rather than manually writing them. Also, self-studying a topic by researching about it and submitting assignments is the norm. Credits are given to these assignments and each assignment has a certain percentage of weightage associated with it and the cumulative score obtained on all the assignments is calculated to assess a student. However, the system is quite different in India. There, the topics are discussed in class, notes are taken on the topic manually and students are assessed based on how much information they have retained and their performance in exams, conducted annually. There is little to no scope of researching and the in-depth study of a topic. I prefer the current system of UFV in terms of assessing the student as it is a more complete and fair approach with enough opportunity to obtain a good score.
In terms of academic integrity and research, I feel that India is still in the nascent stages. The seriousness concerning plagiarism and using measures to avoid it is an upcoming concept. It has generally been observed that in the West, plagiarism is a serious issue and the rules surrounding it are strict as one would not like their integrity to be questioned. However, in India, it is not seen as a serious offence and such issues have are starting to get attention in the academic field only recently. According to me, there is scope for stricter regulation and rules regarding the problems associated with plagiarism and the publishing of false data in India.
Upon introspection, the one thing I feel the need to change to adapt to this new system would be to manage time efficiently. In my previous institution, I was able to manage my time fairly well, as we did not have to submit assignments regularly and had exams only once or maybe twice a year. In UFV, managing classes and submissions does seem a bit tedious, hence, this is one area where I know I can improve.
Concerning the above-mentioned point, the one thing I miss about the previous academic system is having more time to myself and the ease of understanding of the curriculum. In my former academic system, the professors helped provide notes, periodic submission of assignments was not a requirement and self-research was also not needed, as we had annual exams and our performance solely on those exams mattered. At UFV, though the system is better at promoting learning objectives, some of the topics are difficult to grasp, so it does get a bit overwhelming and hectic with not a lot of time left for anything else.
In conclusion, both the educational systems have their own merits and demerits. Since I am in a new set-up, I have to reflect and understand what my strengths and weaknesses are, how to build on my strengths and work on my problem areas to excel.
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