Examinations must be taken at the end of every academic year to judge how much the student has absorbed the material taught in the classroom annually. Apart from taking exams, it is more important to monitor them accurately, which brings in exam boards such as Cambridge International Examination and Edexcel to ensure the papers are taken in the correct manner. While many schools in Pakistan support the Cambridge syllabus and conduct Cambridge assessments through British Council, in a recent update the federal ministry of education has given a nod to conducting CAIE in schools directly, rather than setting up test locations in Five Star Hotels. For those, who are wondering what is CAIE? then let me clear this up really quick. CAIE stands for Cambridge Assessment International Examinations and is a non-profit and non-teaching department of the University of Cambridge, that has given the world the genius minds of Sir Isaac Newton and Alan Turing.
The Cambridge international school launched CIE also known as Cambridge International Examination in 1858. It introduced CIE OR CAIE in an attempt to make the administration of exams better around the world. Especially for those who were not candidates for the international university. The first CAIE was taken in 1864 in Trinidad merely by six candidates. Connected with more than 10,000 schools in 160 countries, the board offers the Cambridge syllabus while opening multiple opportunities for pupils internationally in places like the USA, UK, Australia, and so on. With more than 2000 institutions accepting its certificate, it is one of the biggest providers of O-level, A-level, and IGCSE qualifications. The examination body enters more than 94,000 students each year.
CAIE conducts exams 70% directly, while the remaining 30% is conducted via British Council. The role of the CIE in Pakistan stands quite a value in the academic year for the students. Each year, students prepare to appear in assessments taken by Cambridge International School to achieve certificates in O Levels and A levels. Approved by the Federal Additional Secretary of Education Waseem Ajmal, the decision was made, to set the examinations directly in school, instead of external test locations so that students can receive a relief discount of up to 50%. It was also emphasized to maintain transparency by hiring supervisors and examiners externally only. The CAIE exams 2022 are now all set to take place in the schools independently.
The Letter to the IBCC Officials
Getting in touch with Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC), Uzma Yousaf, Head of Cambridge Pakistan wrote a letter to the officials explaining what benefit CAIE will get by conducting O and A level exams directly in schools and the Role of the CIE In Pakistan. The Head of Cambridge continued by sharing how for a long period, exams have been conducted through British Council in Pakistan, meanwhile, the Cambridge assessments have been taken directly around the world. She continued by stating that bringing the same model to the South Asian country, it will be made sure, that the standard and quality of the assessments remain unaffected. While hoping that the Education ministry would allow CAIE to conduct O and A level in schools independently, she concluded the letter by expressing an expectation of support. The letter received a positive response, which clearly indicates that the CAIE exams in 2022 will be set up in schools directly. For now, there have been 10 schools selected for CAIE to be held without British Council participation. The following schools are,
- Beaconhouse Margalla Campus, Islamabad
- Beaconhouse P.E.C.H.S, Karachi
- Beaconhouse Defence Campus, Lahore
- The City School Capital Campus Islamabad
- The City School Ravi Campus, Lahore
- The City School PAF Chapter Karachi
- Aitchison College, Lahore
- Karachi Grammar School, Karachi
- Lahore Grammar School, Defence Campus Lahore
- Roots School System, Islamabad
Edexcel Attempts to Conduct Exams in Schools Directly in Pakistan
As the Education ministry allows CAIE to conduct O and A level, the development manager of Edexcel Faisal Mehmood, came forward with concerns about his request submitted to the ministry of education regarding, the allowance of conducting examinations in the schools themselves. To clarify before you come up with questions such as What is CAIE? Edexcel is a British Board, similar to CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) that conducts papers worldwide. However, according to past students, it is applied that Cambridge assessments are much tougher than the other British Exam Board. The British examination body expressed some months ago they submitted the appeal but have not received any sort of response from the ministry. Moreover, he added how Edexcel has announced a new nine-grading system and has eliminated A stars to make the standard of Pakistan better.
Is Edexcel Better than CAIE?
While the Role of the CIE in Pakistan is no different from Edexcel, students prefer to choose the Cambridge syllabus as it is constructed to meet international standards, while the other’s curriculum is more based on the UK education system. Many candidates also claim CAIE to be easy for English while difficult for Maths. On the other hand, the other’s construction of paper for Mathematics is said to be somewhat easier. Although there is no difference in their syllabus, the structure of the papers is quite diverse. On the whole, both boards are equally respected and reputed worldwide. As mentioned earlier, both play an equal importance in the educational journey however, CAIE is the most chosen one by the students.
With the latest update, it is quite evident that students will benefit from a good percentage of a drop in their examination fees. A child’s future should not be compromised due to lack of finance, such changes or implementations will encourage parents to enroll their children in Cambridge-based syllabus schools rather than opting for a matriculation qualification. For now, Edexcel is set at waiting but CAIE has received its approval, which clearly suggests Pakistan has taken one step closer to achieving more honest and better examination results.