All British children must stay at school from the age of 5 until they are 16. Many of them stay longer and take final examination when they are 17 or 18. Before 1965 all children had to go through special intelligence tests. There were different types of state secondary schools and at the age of 11 children went to different schools in accordance of with the results of the tests.
State schools are divided into the following types:
- Grammar schools. Children who go to grammar schools are usually those who show a preference for academic subjects, although many grammar schools now also have some technical courses.
- Technical schools. Some children go to technical schools. Most courses there are either commercial or technical.
- Modern schools. Boys and girls who are interested in working with there hands and learning in a practical way can go to a technical schools and learn some trade.
- Comprehensive schools. These schools usually combine all types of secondary education. They have physic, chemistry, biology laboratories, machine workshops for metal and woodwork and also geography, history and art departments, commercial and domestic courses.
There are also many schools which the State doesn’t control. They are private schools. They charge fees for educating children and many of them are boarding schools, at which pupils live during the term time.
After leaving school many young people go to colleges or further education. Those who become students at Colleges of Technology (called “Techs”) come from different schools at different ages between 15 and 17. The lectures at such colleges, each an hour long, start at 8,15 and end at 4,45 in the afternoon.
Schooling is voluntary under the age of 5 but there is some free nursery school education before that age. Primary education takes place in infant schools for pupils ages from 5 to 7 years old and junior schools (from 8 to 11 years). Some areas have different systems in which middle schools replace junior schools and take pupils ages from 9 to 11 years. Secondary education has been available in Britain since 1944. It is compulsory up to the age of 16, and pupils can stay at school voluntarily up to three years longer.
In 1965 non-selective comprehensive schools were introduced. Most local education authorities were have now completely changed over to comprehensive schooling.
At the age of 16 pupils take school-leaving examinations in several subjects at the Ordinary level. The exam used to be conducted by eight independent examining boards, most of them connected with the university. This examination could also be taken by candidates at a further education establishment. This exam was called the General Certificate of Education (GCE). Pupils of comprehensive school had taken the examination called the Certificate of Secondary Education either with or instead of the GCE.
A GCE of Advanced (“A”) level was taken two years after the Ordinary level exam. It was the standard for entrance to university and to many forms of professional training. In 1988 both examinations were replaced by the more or less uniform General Certificate of Secondary Education.
The private sector is running parallel to the state system of education. There are over 2500 fee-charging independent schools in GB. Most private schools are single-sex until the age of 16. More and more parents seem prepared to take on the formidable extra cost of the education. The reason is the believe that social advantages are gained from attending a certain school. The most expansive day or boarding schools in Britain are exclusive public schools like Eton college for boys and St. James’ school for girls.
Universities and Colleges in Great Britain.
There are over 90 universities in GB. They are divided into three types: the old universities (Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities), in the 19th century universities, such as London and Manchester universities, and the new universities. Some years ago there were also polytechnics. After graduating from polytechnic a student got a degree, but it was not a university degree. 31 formers polytechnics were given university status in 1992.
Full courses of study offer the degree of Bachelor of Art or Science. Most degree courses at universities last three years, language courses 4 years (including year spent aboard). Medicine and dentistry courses are longer (5-7 years).
Students may receive grants from the Local Education Authority to help pay for books, accommodation, transport, and food. This grant depends on the income of their parents.
Most students live away from home, in flats of halls of residence.
Students don’t usually have a job during term time because the lessons called lectures, seminars, classes of tutorials (small groups), are full time. However, many students now have to work in the evenings.
University life is considered «an experience». The exams are competitive but the social life and living away from home are also important. The social life is excellent with a lot of clubs, parties, concerts, bars.
There are not only universities in Britain but also colleges. Colleges offer courses in teacher training, courses in technology and some professions connected with medicine.
2. Educational System in the USA
General Pattern of Education in the USA
The general pattern of education in the USA is an eight-year elementary school, followed by a four-year high school. This has been called 8—4 plan organization. It is proceeded, in many localities, by nursery schools and kindergartens. It is followed by a four-year college and professional schools. This traditional pattern, however, has been varied in many different ways. The 6—3— 3 plan consists of a six-year elementary school, a three-year junior high school, and a three-year senior high school. Another variation is a 6—6 plan organization, with a six-year elementary school followed by a six-year secondary school.
American education provides a program for children, beginning at the age of 6 and continuing up to the age of 16 in some of the states, and to 18 in others.
The elementary school in the United States is generally considered to include the first six or eight grades of the common-school system, depending upon the organization that has been accepted for the secondary school. It has been called the "grade school" or the "grammar school". There is no single governmental agency to prescribe for the American school system, different types of organization and of curriculum are tried out.
The length of the school year varies among the states. Wide variation exists also in the length of the school day. A common practice is to have school in session from 9:00 to 12:00 in the morning and from 1:00 to 3:30 in the afternoon, Monday through Friday. The school day for the lower grades is often from 30 minutes to an hour shorter. Most schools require some homework to be done by elementary pupils. Elementary Schools, High Schools and Institutions of Higher Learning Elementary Schools, High Schools and Institutions of Higher Learning
There are eight years of elementary schooling. The elementary school is followed by four years of secondary school, or high school. Often the last two years of elementary and the first years of secondary school are combined into a junior high school.
The school year is nine months in length, beginning early in September and sometimes a shorter one in spring. There are slight variations from place to place. Students enter the first grade at the age of six and attendance is compulsory in most states until the age of sixteen or until the student has finished the eighth grade.
The elementary schools tend to be small. The high schools are generally larger and accommodate pupils from four or five elementary schools. A small town generally has several elementary schools and one high school. In some rural communities the one-room country school house still exists. Here may be found from five to twenty-five pupils in grades one through eight, all taught by the same teacher.
Admission to the American high school is automatic on completion of the elementary school. During the four-year high school program the student studies four or five major subjects per year, and classes in each of these subjects meet for an hour a day, five days a week. In addition, the student usually has classes in physical education, music, and art several times a week. If he fails a course, he repeats only that course and not the work of the entire year. Students must complete a certain number of courses in order to receive a diploma, or a certificate of graduation.
Institutions of higher learning supported by public funds are not absolutely free. The state colleges and universities charge a fee for tuition or registration. This fee is higher for those who come from outside the state. Working one's way through college is commonplace.
Usually there is no admission examination required by a state university for those who have finished high school within the state. Sometimes a certain pattern of high school studies is necessary, however, and some state universities require a certain scholastic average, or average of high school grades.
Private colleges and universities, especially the larger, well-known ones such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, have rigid scholastic requirements for entrance, including an examination
Higher Education Institutions
It has become common for the college program to be divided into broad fields, such as languages and literature, the social sciences, the sciences and mathematics, and the fine arts .Many colleges require all freshmen and sophomores to take one or two full-year courses in each of three fields. Certain Courses, such as English or history, may be required for all, with some election permitted in the other fields.
Higher educational institutions usually are governed by a board of regents or a board of trustees.
The executive head of a college or a university is usually called the president. The various colleges or schools which take up a university are headed by deans. Within a school or college there may be departments according to subject matter fields, each of which may be headed by a professor who is designated as department head or chairman. Other members of the faculty hold academic ranks, such as instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Graduate students who give some part-time service may be designated as graduate assistants or fellows.
Professional education in fields such as agriculture, dentistry, law, engineering, medicine, pharmacy, teaching, etc. is pursued in professional schools which may be part of a university or may be separate institutions which confine their instruction to a single profession. Often two, three, or four years of pre-professional liberal arts education are required before admission to a professional school. Three to five years of specialized training lead to professional degrees such as Doctor of Medicine, Bachelor of Law, etc.
Private and State Colleges and Universities
Harvard College was established in 1636, with the principal purpose of providing a literate ministry1 for colonial churches. It was a small institution, enrolling only 20 students in 1642 and 60 in 1660. It soon became more than a theological training school2 and established itself as a liberal arts college. The next institution of higher learning established in the American colonies was the College of William and Mary, which opened in 1693 at Williamsburg, Virginia. Other colleges were founded in the next century, but all of them remained small schools for long periods. Students entered at the age of 14 and remained until they were 18, and the curriculum, while rigidly academic and classic was by modern standards rather secondary in nature.
Private colleges and universities were established in various states. The first state university was the University of Virginia, founded in 1819. Some state universities have large endowment funds1 which provide a substantial portion of their support. Other sources of income are student fees, gifts and endowments.
In general, higher education in the USA may be divided into two broad fields: liberal arts and professional. Each of these fields may be further subdivided into undergraduate and graduate levels. The liberal arts program, on the undergraduate level, may be a two-year junior college course, or a four-year course leading to a degree of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. The four-year course is usually subdivided into a lower division (which may be called the junior college), consisting of the two first years, and the upper division, which is the last two years. The first two years continue the general education and specialization begins in the third year.