Education is one of the most important branches of the economy of all countries. Everybody knows that it´s necessary to invest in education in order for the society to prosper well in the future. It´s good to share ideas and experiences with people from different countries.
The level of education of each country depends on its social and historical developments. That´s why the ways of education of young generations differs from country to country.
There are four levels of education in Britain: preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary education. All of these levels of education are provided by different types of schools.
Preschool education is not compulsory in Britain. This type of education is provided by nurseries and kindergartens. They are not great in number though and thus are quite expensive. Nursery school begins at 3 years of age. The children have similar plans as in our country, so they play, paint, dance and sing and do the same things that all little children do. They do not have proper lessons.
Primary education is provided by Infant and Junior schools, while secondary education is provided by 4 types of secondary schools. Infant School is from 5 - 7 years of age and Junior School is from 7 to 11 years of age. The normal school day in Britain starts later, usually at 9 a.m. and finishes around 3.30 p.m., thus later than it in our Republic. It´s also interesting to know that some city schools in Britain are multi-racial, with black, brown and white children all learning together. It is also customary that there is a teacher´s assistant. Parents also often go to Infant school to help with painting, reading and practical lessons. Primary schools are for the ages between 5 and11 and Secondary schools are for the ages over 11. In Britain, there are 2 types of secondary schools: Grammar Schools and Secondary Modern Schools. Private schools also have a long tradition in Britain – confusingly, these are called Public Schools. About 8% of British children go to private schools.
In Britain there is also the possibility not to go to school at all. By law, parents have the right to educate their children at home, if they can show they can do it properly. Usually children who have been educated at home go to a secondary school at 14, in time to prepare for the main state examinations - the General Certificate of Secondary Education, which pupils take at 16.
As for subjects and tests, it´s interesting to know that children have to take tests at 7, 11 and 14 years of age, before they have to take the G.C.S.E. The subjects which are taught in Britain at secondary schools are according to the National Curriculum. Those are English, Maths, Science, History, Geography (humanities) and Art/Music, Technology, Religious education, Psychical education, and a foreign language (usually French or German).
At the age of 14, the children drop some subjects and choose others, but everybody has to take English, Maths, a Science, and a language. They can then choose which other subjects they want to continue with and take a G.C.S.E. exam in. Pupils often have 7 or 8 G.C.S.E.´s.
After the GCSEs, the pupils can leave school and go to work or they can continue their studies. They can go to Colleges of Further Education for more practical diplomas (like hairdressing, typing, mechanics etc.), or Sixth Form Colleges which prepare them for university. At the end of the course, the students take another (and much harder) national exam called the GCE “A” (advanced) level. This exam is mainly for those, who wish to go to higher education. The number of subjects varies from 1 to 4, and 3 are usually required for entry to a university. It is important to get very good results because the number of places available in the universities and polytechnics is limited. As for universities, it´s interesting to say that in Britain there are more than 35 universities. Britain is known to have two of the oldest and most famous universities in the world. They are Oxford and Cambridge. As for college boards, it´s interesting to say that there aren’t any in Britain. There are also a lot of universities, which are known as the “red-bricks”, which were built in Victorian times in the 18th century. For Britain, something typical in schools is wearing uniforms. The majority of British school children wear a school uniform. Sometimes it is very formal – a shirt, tie, and blazer with a school badge on the pocket. Girls also wear ties, but a dark skirt instead of trousers is worn even in the winter. Each school has its own school color. Today a lot of pupils rebel against their uniforms, altering them or covering their blazers in badges. Some schools send children home if they are not wearing their proper uniform or keep them in detention as punishment.
As for extra activities, it´s necessary to say that British schools have a lot of sports, often football, netball, hockey, and cricket.
I think the British school system is very different from ours, but I can´t say which system is better. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Going to school is one of the most important things in a man´s life. If we compared the British and Czech schools, there would be big differences. I think some things are better in our Republic and some things are better in Britain. It is the result of different development in British and Czech histories.