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Higher Education in Great Britain

There are three stages in the British state education system: primary education, secondary education and further education.

In the UK approximately 40% of school-leavers go on to study at university nowadays. University education stands apart being almost independent of the state control. All British universities are private institutions. Every university is independent, autonomous and responsible only to its governing council. Although they all are subsidized by the Government, the Department of Education and Science has no control over their regulations, curriculum, examinations, appointment of staff, or the way they spend money. The number and type of faculties differ from university to university.

15% of all university students are from outside the UK. The most popular subjects with foreign students are business studies and engineering.

British and EU students pay towards their tuition fees and have to pay their own living expenses. They can usually take out a Government loan for this, which they pay back when they reach a certain level of income. Most undergraduate courses take three years of full-time study to complete. British universities have Students’ Unions concerned with students’ life and studies. They are also responsible for the coordination and organization of extracurricular activities.

There are 102 universities in England, including the Open University, 13 universities in Scotland, the University of Cardiff in Wales, and 2 universities in Northern Ireland.

The two most famous universities in Britain are Oxford and Cambridge, which are sometimes referred to collectively as Oxbridge.

Oxford University started at the end of the 11th century and is the oldest in Britain. It is more philosophical, classical and theological. Many famous people have studied there, including famous authors, such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde, as well as 25 of Britain’s prime ministers.

Cambridge University was created in 1209 by some professors and students from Oxford. Cambridge has produced more Nobel Prize winners than any other university in the world.

The most famous Scottish universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh date from the 15th century. All the other universities in Britain were founded in the 19th century.

The universities which were founded between 1850 and 1930, including London University are known as redbrick universities (they were called so because that was the favourable building material of that time). They are in London, Durham, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Nottingham, etc. The University of London is the largest of them. Redbrick universities were built to provide liberal education and to give technological training.

The universities which were founded after World War II are called “the new universities”. They are in Kent, Essex, Lancaster, Sussex, York. Some of them quickly became popular because of their modern approach to university courses.

The Open University was founded in 1969 and is the first successful distance teaching university.


Date: 2016-04-22; view: 2668

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