Education after 16 is voluntary in United Kingdom. Students, who live in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, must take at the age of 16 the examinations for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). In Scotland students receive the Scottish Certificate of Education. After this exam students can choose to stay in school or attend colleges of further education.
British universities are self-governing and are guaranteed academic independence. Funding for education and research is provided by funding councils set up by Parliament. The number of universities jumped in 1992 when polytechnics and some other higher education establishments were given the right to become universities. By the end of 1994, there were some 90 universities, almost half of them former polytechnics, including the Open University.
Many of the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge universities were founded in the 12th and 13th centuries. All other universities in Britain were founded in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Open University, based in Milton Keynes, England, was founded in 1969. It uses extension techniques of correspondence courses, television and radio programmes, and video cassettes, supported by local study centres and residential summer schools, to provide higher education opportunities to a wide variety of people.
During the 1960s there was a significant increase in the number of new universities, reflecting a fast growth in student numbers which was made possible by an expansion in grant facilities. During the 1980s, an expansion in higher education places led to another large jump in student numbers. In the 1992-1993 academic year there were more than 1.4 million students in full— or part-time higher education in Great Britain, compared with just under 850,000 a decade earlier. About one quarter of young people are in higher education in England, Wales, and Scotland; one third in Northern Ireland. About 90 per cent of students get state grants to cover tuition fees and living costs.
The size of the grant is determined by parents’ income. Since the late 1980s, however, grants have been frozen; students can apply for a student loan.
EDUCATION IN RUSSIA
Children start school at the age of six in Russia. The course of studies at school is eleven years now: four years of primary school and seven years of secondary school. Previously it was only ten years: three years of primary school and seven years of secondary school. Children under the age of six are taken to crèches and nursery schools.
There is a wide choice of schools nowadays: state schools, private schools, lyceums and gymnasiums. The majority of schools is free of charge, but in some (usually private ones) parents have to pay for the education of their children. In ordinary schools parents sometimes pay for additional subjects in the curriculum, such as a foreign language or arts.Though it is generally not a demand, most children can already read and write when they start their school: this makes education much easier for them.
In primary school there are three or four lessons a day, they usually ire Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. A lesson lasts forty minutes. During the first term children get used to learning and adapt to school i regulations. Beginning with the second term of the first year at school, children also take Handicrafts, Drawing, Music and Physical Education. The list of subjects under study is further extended during the second, third and fourth years and includes the World History of Arts, fundamentals of Security, History, Geography, and others. At primary schools all lessons are usually conducted by one teacher.
At the age of ten children pass to the second stage of education, known as secondary school. In secondary school there is a wide variety of subjects under study, and teachers specialize. The transition from primary to secondary school is sometimes difficult for children. After finishing the ninth form and getting the Certificate of Basic Secondary Education, schoolchildren may either continue their education in the tenth form, or leave school and go to technical (vocational) schools and colleges.
After eleven years at school the school leavers take examinations and get the Certificate of Complete Secondary Education. Those who have only excellent marks in the Certificate get a gold medal, which gives the right to enter higher school taking only one examination.
The admission to higher school is competitive and based on the system of entrance examinations, usually three or four. During the examinations the school leavers must show their abilities in the chosen field. Young people also have an option to get specialized secondary education in vocational schools after leaving the eleventh form.
Among higher educational establishments are institutes (colleges), academies and universities. The term of studying in higher school is from four to six years. Students can be involved in scientific research while studying. At the end of their final year at college, university or academy they take final examinations and get a diploma. Besides they can take postgraduate courses in the chosen field.