This year as the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) announced the names for the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards for Pakistan, Parveen Kassim of the Karachi High School was on cloud nine, as she put it excitedly.
The students who make it to this list are those who out-performed the thousands of candidates worldwide who sat the June 2011 O’ Level, IGCSE, AS and A’ Level exams, said a press release on Monday. Over 280 learners will receive awards for exceptional performance in Cambridge examinations, including 50 learners who achieved the highest marks in the world and 40 learners who attained the highest marks in Pakistan in a single subject.
While Karachi Grammar School emerged as the strongest institution, some other schools found their names on the list for the first time ever: City School’s Gulshan campus, Karachi Bahria College and Army Public School and College, Hyderabad.
There were some slight disappointments as St Joseph’s Convent High School, St Patrick’s, St Paul’s and Mama Parsi slipped this year. Other institutions such as Happy Home, Foundation Public, City School and Beaconhouse showed relative consistency.
Areeba Ambreen Tariq from Foundation Public School was awarded four distinctions in her O’ Levels. She topped in the world in English Language, topped in Karachi in Biology, came first place across eight O’ Level subjects and scored the highest in Pakistan in the overall O’ Levels. “A top in the world in English Language was unheard of,” she said. “I never expected this, but I guess this is because I enjoy language and read passionately.”
A teacher at Mama Parsi Girls School felt that their somewhat lackluster performance was linked to the quality of students, which had fallen as more and more people were sending their children to the newer schools. The number of high achievers is not the only measure of a 93-year-old school’s performance either.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2011.