Образование в Великобритании
Great Britain is one of the most developed countries
in the world. Great Britain enters into the number of countries of “large
We all know that the Britains are very cultural people
and many possess an outstanding mind. What makes them similar? National
culture, heredity, traditions or may be education? But do many people in our
country know about education in other countries? Many students would like to
know about how their contemporaries in other countries live. In what schools do
they study? Does the state ensure all them with necessary means for studying?
What are their chances to obtain higher or technical education for worthy life
in the future?
This article opens the curtain above education in
Britain and contains sufficiently complete and comprehensive information for
the student and school staff. The purpose of this article is to study the
system of education in Britain and to look at from an objective point of view.
In the second half of the 20-century qualitative
changes in education system occurred in Britain: the system of education began
to be more oriented towards the development of useful knowledge. But in spite
of this in the British system of education many survivals of the past, which
strongly harm education, still remained.
In this synopsis the following reductions are
A-level (advance level) – an examination usually taken by pupils at their
final year at school at the age of eighteen. The exam was introduced in 1951.
A-levels are needed to enter most types of higher education and a student must
usually have three good grades to enter university.
AS level (advanced
supplementary level) – an
examination taken by some pupils in their final year at school when they are
taking their A-level. The AS level is a simpler examination than the A-level
and can be studied in half the time. The exam was first introduced in 1989 and
is intended to give pupils the chance to study a greater variety of subjects.
Cathedral school (choir
school) – a school in a
cathedral city, usually a preparatory school or, occasionally, a public school,
some of their pupils sing in the cathedral choir.
College of Further
Education (CFE) – a local college attended mostly by students between
the ages of 16 and 19 who are working for the NVQ’s and practical
qualifications; by some students taking A-levels and by mature students doing
· College – 1. An independent
institution of higher education within a university, typically one at Oxford
University or Cambridge University. 2. A specialized professional institution
of secondary higher education, such as a college of music or a college of
education. 3. The official title of certain public schools, such as Eton
· Comprehensive school – a large state secondary school for children of all
abilities from a single district, providing a wide range of education. Over 90%
of all secondary school students attend a comprehensive school. Comprehensive
schools were introduced in 1965 to provide an equal secondary (11 – 18 years
old) education. Comprehensive schools put pupils in different classes according
to their ability, but there are no entry examinations.
· Further education – a term used to apply to any kind of education after
secondary school, but not including university work (which is higher
· General Certificate of Education, the (GCE) – the standard school-leaving examination. It is
taken by school pupils at the end of their fifth year of secondary education,
at the age of 16. The GCE replaced the formed dual examination system of GCE
O-level (General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level) and SCE (Certificate
of Secondary Education, Ordinary Level), and the first GCSE examination were
held in 1988. GCSE certificates are awarded for each subject on a seven-point
scale, from A to G, and the examination’s syllabus and grading procedures are
monitored by the School Examination and Assessment Council.
· Local Educational Authority (LEA) – the local government body that is responsible for
the state schools in a district, as well as further education, and that engages
teachers, maintains school buildings and supplies schools with equipment and
· National Curriculum (NC) – was introduced into the education system in 1989.
Until that time LEA decided on the curriculum, the subjects which would be
taught in school in their area. The NC is designed to make a national standard
for all school pupils between the ages of 5 to 16. The main subjects are
English, Mathematics, Science and a foreign language, either French or German. There
are examinations for all pupils at the ages of 7, 11, 14, and 16 to check on
· Oxbridge – a colloquial term for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge,
jointly regarded as being superior to other universities and as enjoying and
giving special privilege and prestige.
· Secondary school – a state school or private school education for
school children aged between 11 and 18. Other types of secondary schools are
grammar schools, middle schools, secondary modern schools, technical schools
and public schools. An extension of a state secondary schools a tertiary
· Nursery school – a school for very young children, usually three or
four years old (before compulsory education, which begins at the age of five).
· Pidgin English (PE) – 1. A language made up of elements of English and
some other foreign language, especially Chinese or Japanese, originally
developing as a means of verbal communication when trading. 2. Loosely, any
kind of English spoken with the elements of another language, whether for
genuine communication or of comic effect.
The British educational system has much in common
with that in Europe, in that:
Ø Full-time education is compulsory for all children in
the middle teenage years. Parents
are required by law to see that their children receive full-time education, at
school or elsewhere, between the ages of 5 and 16 in England, Scotland and
Wales and 4 and 16 in Northern Ireland.
Ø The academic year begins at the end of summer.
Ø Compulsory education is free of charge, though parents
may choose a private school and spend their money on education their children. About 93% of pupils receive free education from public
funds, while the others attend independent schools financed by fees paid by
Ø There are three stages of schooling, with children moving from primary school (the first
stage) to secondary school (the second stage). The third stage (sometimes
called the tertiary level) provides further and higher education and includes
CFE, technical college, college of higher education, and universities.
There is, however, quite a lot that distinguishes
education in Britain from the way it works in other countries. The most
important distinguishing features are the lack of uniformity and
comparativly little central control. There are three separate government
departments managing education: the Departments for Education and Employment is
responsible for England and Wales alone; Scotland and Northern Ireland retain
control over the education within their respective countries. None of these
bodies exercises much control over the details does not prescribe a detailed
program of learning, books and materials to be used, nor does it dictate the
exact hours of the school day, the exact days of holidays, school’s finance management
and suchlike. As many details as possible are left to the discretion of the
individual institution or of the LEA.
Many distinctive characteristics of British education
can be ascribed, at least partly, to the public school tradition. The present-day
level of ‘grass-root’ independence as well as different approach to education
has been greatly influenced by the philosophy that a (public) school is its own
community. The 19th century public schools educated the sons of the
upper and upper-middle classes and the main aim of schooling was to prepare
young men to take up positions in the higher ranks of the army, the Church, to
fill top-jobs in business, the legal profession, the civil serves and politics.
To meet this aim the emphasis was made on ‘character-building’ and the
development of ‘team spirit’ (hence traditional importance of sports) rather
than on academic achievement.
Such schools were (and still often are) mainly
boarding establishments, so they had a deep and lasting influence on their pupils,
consequently, public-school leavers formed a closed group entry into which was
difficult, the ruling elite, the core of the Establishment.
The 20th century brought education and its
possibilities for social advancement within everybody’s reach, and new, state
schools naturally tended to copy the features of the public schools. So today,
in typically British fashion, learning for its own sake, rather than for any
practical purpose is still been given a high value. As distinct from most other
countries, a relatively stronger emphasis is on the quality of person that
education produces rather than helping people to develop useful knowledge and
skills. In other words, the general style of teaching is to develop
understanding rather than acquiring factual knowledge and learning to apply
this knowledge to specific tasks.
What’s a “public school”? A public school in Britain is not open to everyone;
the ordinary, local schools where most people go are called “state” schools.
Public schools are schools where parents have to pay money if they want their
children to attend. Public schools are old, often traditional and prestigious
institutions. Most of the kinds who go to them have very rich parents. Public
schools are often single-sex, which means they don’t permit girls and boys to
be educated together. There are sometimes boarding schools, that mean that
kids live at school during the week. Some famous public schools for boys are
Eton college, Harrow and Malvern, and for girls, Benedon and Cheltanham
Ladies College. Prince William was educate at Eton and his brother Harry is
still a pupil there. Eton is renowned for its academic excellence and some of
its traditions. The school was founded by Henry VI in 1440 – 1441 and was
intended for 70 highly qualified boys who received scholarships. This dates
back to the death of George III. The school wore mourning clothes but this
later became established as the official uniform. Weblink:
This traditional public-school approach, together with
the above-mentioned dislike of central authority, also helps to explain another
thing: the NC, the purpose of which was to do away with the disparities in the
type and quality of education, was not introduced until 1989 – much later than
in other countries.
§2. Pre-school and primary
There is no countrywide system of nursery (or
pre-primary) schools. In some areas there are nursery schools and classes (or,
in England, reception classes in primary schools), providing informal education
and play facilities, but they are not compulsory and only 25% of 3-4 year-olds
attend them. There are also some private nurseries and pre-school playgroups
organized and paid by parents themselves where children are brought twice a
week for an hour or two.
The present Labour government is working to expand
pre-school education and wants all children to begin school with basic
foundation in literacy and numeracy, or what is know as ‘the three Rs’
(Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic). From September 1998 it is providing free nursery
education in England and Wales for all 4-year-olds whose parents want it.
The average child begins his or her compulsory
education at the age of 5 starting primary school (infant schools
are for children between at the ages of 5 and 7 and junior schools for
those between the ages of 8 and 11).
in the partnership with private nurseries, playgroups and schools, have drawn
up ‘early years development plans’ of providing 4 year olds with basic skills
of reading, writing and arithmetic. The plans are designed to show how
co-operation between private nurseries, playgrounds and schools can best
serve the interests of children and their parents. In addition, the
government aims to establish ‘early excellence centres’ designed to
demonstrate good practice in education and childcare.
§3. Secondary education.
The majority of state secondary school pupils in
England and Wales attend comprehensive schools. These largely take pupils
without reference to ability or aptitude and provide a wide range of secondary
education for all or most children in a district. Schools take those, who are
the 11 to 18 age-range, middle schools (8 to 14), and schools with an age-range
from 11 to 16. Most other state-educated children in England attend grammar or
secondary modern schools, to which they are allocated after selection
procedures at the age of 11.
Before 1965 a selective system of secondary education
existed in England. Under that system a child of 11 had to take an exam (known
as ‘an 11+’), which consisted of intelligence tests covering linguistic,
mathematical and general knowledge and which was to be taken by children in the
last year of primary schooling. The object was to select between academic and
non-academic children. Those who did well in the examination went to a grammar
school, while those who failed went to a secondary modern school
and technical college. Grammar schools prepared children for national
examinations such as the GCE at O-level and A-level. These examinations
qualified children for the better jobs, and for entry higher education and the
professions. The education in secondary modern schools was based on practical
schooling, which would allow entry into a variety of skilled and unskilled
Many people complained that it was wrong for a person’s
future to be decided at a so young age. The children who went to ‘secondary
moderns’ were seen as ‘failures’. More over, it was noticed that the children
who passed this exam were almost all from middle-class families. The Labour
Party, among other critics, argued that the 11+ examination was socially
divisible, increasing the inequalities between rich and poor and reinforcing
the class system.
The Labour Party, returned to power in 1965, abolished
the 11+ and tried to introduce the non-selective education system in the form
of ‘comprehensive’ schools, that would provide schooling for
children of all ability levels and from all social backgrounds, ideally under
one roof. The final choice between selective and non-selective schooling,
though, was left to LEAs that controlled the provision of school education in
the country. Some authorities decided for comprehensive, while others retained
grammar schools and secondary moderns.
In the late 1980s the Conservative government
introduced another major change. Schools cloud now decide whether to remain as
LEA-maintained schools or to ‘opt-out’ of the control of the LEA and put
themselves directly under the control of the government department. These ‘grant-maintained’
schools were financed directly by central government. This did not mean,
however, that there was more central control: grant-maintained schools did not
have to ask anybody else about how to spend their money.
A recent development in education administration in
England and Wales in the School Standards and Framework Act (SSFA) passed in
July 1998. The Act establishes that from 1.09.1999 all state school education
authorities with the ending of the separate category of grant maintained
are some grant-maintained or voluntary aided schools, called City
Technology Colleges (CTCs). In 1999 there were 15
CTCs in England. These are non-fee-paying independent secondary schools
created by a partnership of government and private sector sponsors. The
promoters own or lease the schools, employ teachers, and make substantial
contributions to the costs of building and equipment. The colleges teach the
NC, but with an emphasis on mathematics, technology and science.
So, today three types of state schools mainly provide
secondary education: secondary modern schools, grammar schools and (now
predominant) comprehensive schools. There should also be mentioned another type
of schools, called specialist schools. The specialist school programme
in England was launched in 1993. Specialist schools are state secondary schools
specializing in technology, science and mathematics; modern foreign languages;
sports; or arts – in addition to providing the full NC.
State schools are absolutely free (including all
textbooks and exercise books) and generally co-educational.
Under the new NC a greater emphasis at the secondary
level is laid on science and technology. Accordingly, ten subjects have to be
studied: English, history, geography, mathematics, science, a modern foreign
language (at secondary level), technology (including design), music, art, and
physical education. For special attention there were chosen three of these
subjects (called ‘core subjects’): English, science, mathematics,
and seven other subjects are called ‘foundation or statutory subjects’.
Besides, subjects are grouped into departments and teachers work in teams
and to plan work.
Most common departments are:
Ø Humanities Department: geography, history, economics, English literature,
drama, PE, social science;
Ø Science Departments: chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics;
Ø Language Department: German, French, English;
Ø Craft Design and Technology Department: information and communications technology, computing,
home economics, and photography.
The latter (often as CTD) brings together the
practical subjects like cooking, woodwork, sewing and metalwork with the new
technology used in those fields. Students can design a T-shirt on computer
using graphics software and make-up the T-shirt design. Students can also look
at way to market their product, thus linking all disciplines. This subject area
exemplifies the process approach to learning introduced by the NC.
It is worth mentioning here the growing importance of
PSE (Personal and Social Education). Since the 1970s there has been an emphasis
on ‘pastoral’ care, i. e. education in areas related to life skills such as
health (this includes looking at drug, discussing physical changes related to
poverty, sex education and relationships). There are usually one or two lessons
a week, from primary school through to sixth form, and they are an essential
part of the school’s aim to prepare students to life in society.
Education in Britain is not solely concentrated on
academic study. Great value is placed on visits and activities like organizing
the school club or field trips, which are educational in a more general sense.
The organization of these activities by teachers is very much taken for granted
in the British school system. Some teachers give up their free time, evenings
and weekends to do this ‘unpaid’ work. At Christmas teachers organised
concerts, parties and general festivities. It is also considered a good thing
to be ‘seen’ to be doing this extra work since it is fairly essential for
securing promotion in the school hierarchy.
Classes of pupils are called ‘forms’ (though it has
recently become common to refer to ‘years’) and are numbered from one to six,
beginning with first form. Nearly all schools work a five-day week, and are
closed on Saturdays. The day starts at or just before nine o’clock and finishes
between three and four. The lunch break usually lasts about an
hour-and-a-quarter. Nearly two-thirds of pupils have lunch provided by the
school. Parents pay for this, except for the 15 per cent who are rated poor
enough and have it for free. Other children either go home for lunch or take
Schools usually divide their year into three ‘terms’,
starting at the beginning of September:
Christmas holiday (about 2 weeks)
Easter holiday (about 2 weeks)
Summer holiday (about 6 weeks)
Passage from one year to the next one is automatic. At
the age of 14 pupils are tested in English, maths and science, as well as in
statutory subjects. At that same age, in the 3rd or 4th
form pupils begin to choose their exam subjects and work for two years to
prepare for their GCSE qualifications. The exams are usually taken in the 5th
form at the age of 16, which is a school-leaving age. The GCSE can be taken in
a range of subjects (usually five in number). The actual written exams are set
by independent Examination Boards, and are marker anonymously by outside
examiners, but they must be approved by the government and comply with national
guidelines. There are several examination boards in Britain and each school
decided which board’s exam its pupils take. Most exams last for two hours,
marks are given for each exam separately and are graded from A to G (grades A,
B, C are considered to be ‘good’ marks).
16 is an important age for school-leavers because they
have to make key decisions as to their future lives and careers. There is a
number of choices for them.
§4. Education and training after 16.
The government has stated that
all young people should have access to high-quality education and training
after the age of 16. Young people have two routes they that can follow – one
based on school and college education, and the other on work-based learning.
About 70% of pupils choose to continue full-time
education after 16. Broadly speaking, education after 16 is divided into
further and higher education. Further (and adult) education is largely
vocational and covers up to and including GCE A-level and AC qualifications,
General National Vocational Qualifications (GNVQ) A-level. Higher education
covers advanced courses higher than GCE A-level or equivalent.
Since 1988 there has been introduced a new level of
examination: the AS exam, which is worth half an A-level and usually, involves
one year’s study. This means that if pupils wish to study more than two or
three subjects in the sixth form they can take a combination of ‘A’ and AS’
levels. A-level arts student, for example, can still study science subjects at
Some young people want to stay in schools for the
period between 16 and 18, not just to do academic work but also get ready for
examinations that lead to professional training or vocational qualifications
(and because the general level of unemployment is now high).
To the end of September 1992 there were introduced
the GNVQ. They are mainly undertaken by young people in full-time education
between the ages of 16 and 18 and focus on vocational skills such as business
and finance, information and technology. There are three GNVQ levels –
Advanced, Intermediate and Foundation. An Advanced GNVQ requires a level of
achievement broadly equal to two GCE A-levels. Most commonly the GNVQ’s courses
are studied at CFE but more and more schools are also offering them.
The following five levels of NVQs have been established:
Level 1 – Foundation;
Level 2 – Basic craft;
Level 3 – Technical, advanced craft, supervisor;
Level 4 – Higher technical, junior management;
5 – Professional, middle management.
There are also job-specific National Vocational
These are the awards, which recognize work-related
skills and knowledge and provide a path for lifelong learning. They are
prepared by industry and commerce, including representatives from trade unions
and professional bodies.
NVQs are based on national standards of competence
and can be achieved levels from 1 to 5.
With Britain’s new enthusiasm for continuing
education, far fewer 16 years-olds go straight out and look for a job than used
to. About a third of them still take this option, however. The importance of
creating a ‘gap’ in their education is ever appealing to young people in
Britain today. Experience outside classroom is also valued since it
demonstrates maturity and a willingness to be independent.
The first step for young people entering the job
market is their local Jobcentre or careers office. Some school careers advisors
teach such skills as filling out a curriculum vitae or writing letters applying
for jobs, which is a problem for many young people. Youth workers of Youth
Service organizations also can give advice and counseling. A large number 16
and 17 years-olds enter. Youth Training Programmes established by the
government as a means of helping young people to gain vocational experience.
The government guarantees a place on the scheme to everybody under 18 who is
not in full-time education or in work. Such programmes cover a wide
range of vocational skills from hairdressing to engineering.
To sum up, average pupils usually attempt six or
seven subjects, and the basic subjects required for jobs and further education
are English, mathematics, science and foreign language. Good GCSE results will
qualify pupils for a range of jobs, and for entry to further education if
desired. GCE A-level examinations are normally associated with more academic
children, who are aiming to entry higher education or to get professions. The
dispersion of all 16-17 years olds in Britain in 1990 was following:
36% were at schools or colleges;
49% were working (employment) or seeking work;
15% were in Youth Training placements.
As has been mentioned above, there is a considerable
enthusiasm for post-school education in Britain. The aim of the government is
to increase the number of students who enter into higher education. The driving
force for this has been mainly economic. It is assumed that the more people
who study at degree level, the more likely the country is to succeed
economically. A large proportion of young people – about a third in England and
Wales and almost half in Scotland – continue in education at a more A-level
beyond the age of 18. The higher education sector provides a variety of courses
up to degree and postgraduate degree level, and careers out research. It
increasingly caters for older students; over 50% of students in 1999 were aged
25 and over and many studied part-time. Nearly every university offers access
and foundation courses before enrolment on a course of higher education of
prospective students who do not have the standard entry qualifications.
Higher education in Britain is traditionally
associated with universities, though education of University standard is also
given in other institutions such as colleges and institutes of higher
education, which have the power to award their own degrees.
The only exception to state universities is the
small University of Buckingham which concentrates on law, and which draws most
of its students of overseas.
All universities in England and Wales are state
universities (this includes Oxford and Cambridge).
English universities can be broadly classified into
three types. First come the ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge that
date from the 12th century and that until 1828 were virtually the
only English universities.
Oxford and Cambridge are composed of
semi-independent colleges, each college having its own staff, know as
‘Fellows’. Most colleges have their own dining hall, library and chapel and
contain enough accommodation for at least half of their students. The Fellows
teach the students, either one-to-one or in very small groups (called
‘tutorials’ in Oxford and ‘supervision’ in Cambridge), the tutorial method
brings the tutor into close and personal contact with the student. Before 1970
all Oxford colleges were single-sex (mostly for men). Now, the majority admits
Among other older universities there should be
mentioned four Scottish universities, such as St. Andrews (1411), Glasgow
(1450), Aberdeen (1494), and Edinburgh (1583). The first of these, being the
oldest one, resembles Oxbridge in many ways, while the other three follow the
pattern of more modern universities in that the students live at home or find
their own rooms in town. At all of them teaching is organized along the lines
of the continental traditions – there is less specialization than at Oxford.
The second group of universities comprises various
institutions of higher education, usually with technical study, that by 1900
had sprang up in new industrial towns and cities such as Birmingham,
Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds. They got to be know as civic or ‘redbrick’
universities. Their buildings were made of local material, often brick, in
contrast to the stone of older universities, hence the name, ‘redbrick’. These
universities catered mostly for local people. At first they prepared students
for London University degree, but later they were given the right to award their
own degrees, and so became universities themselves. In the mid-20th
century they started to accept students from all over the country.
The third group consists of new universities founded
after the Second World War and later in the 1960s, which saw considerable
expansion in new universities. These are purpose-built institutions located in
the countryside but close to towns. Examples are East Anglia, Sussex and
Warwick. From their beginning they attracted students from all over the
country, and provided accommodation for most of their students in site (hence
their name, ‘campus’ universities). They tend to emphasise relatively ‘new’
academic disciplines such as social science and make greater use than other
universities of teaching in small groups, often known as ‘seminars’.
Among this group there are also universities often
called ‘never civic’ universities. These were originally technical colleges set
up by local authorities in the first half of this century. Their upgrading to
university status took place in two waves. The first wave occurred in the
mid-1960s, when ten of them were promoted in this way.
Another thirty became ‘polytechnics’, in the early
1970s, which meant that along with their former courses they were allowed to
teach degree courses (the degrees being awarded by a national body).
Polytechnics were originally expected to offer a broader-based, more practical
and vocational education than the universities. In the early 1990s most of the
polytechnics became universities. So there are now 80 universities and a
further 19 colleges and institutions of higher education in the UK. The country
has moved rapidly from a rather elitist system to one which is much more open,
if not yet a mass system of higher education.
Higher education in England and Wales is highly
selective; i.e. entrance to British universities is via a strict selection
process is based on an interview. Applications for first degree courses are
usually made through the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), in
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. After the interview a potential student is offered
a place on the basis of GCE A-level exam results. If the student does not get
the grades specified in the offer, a place can not be taken up. Some
universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, have an entrance exam before the
This kind of selection procedure means that not
everyone in Britain with A-level qualifications will be offered the chance of a
university education. Critics argue that this creates an elitist system with
the academic minority in society whilst supporters of the system argue that
this enables Britain to get high-quality graduates who have specialized skills.
The current system will be modified by the late 90s and into the 21st
century, since secondary system is moving towards a broader-based education to
replace the specialized ‘A’ level approach. The reasons for this lie in
Britain’s need to have a highly skilled and educated workforce, not just an
elite few, to meet the needs of the technological era.
The independence of Britain’s educational
institutions is most noticeable in universities. They make their own choices of
who to accept on their courses and normally do this on the basis of a student’s
A-level results and an interview. Those with better exam grades are more likely
to be accepted. Virtually all degree courses last three years, however there
are some four-year courses and medical and veterinary courses last five or six
years. The British University year is divided into three terms, roughly eight
to ten weeks each. The terms are crowded with activity and the vacations
between the terms – a month at Christmas, a month at Easter, and three or four
months in summer – are mainly periods of intellectual digestion and private
The courses are also ‘full-time’ which really means
full-time: the students are not supposed to take a lob during term time. Unless
their parents are rich, they receive a state grant of money, which covers most
of their expenses including the cost of accommodation. Grants and loans are
intended to create opportunities for equality in education. A grants system was
set up to support students through university. Grants are paid by the LEA on
the basis of parental income. In the late 80s (the Conservative) government
decided to stop to increase these grants, which were previously linked to
inflation. Instead, students were able to borrow money in the form of a
low-interest loan, which then had to be paid back after their course had
finished. Critics argue that students from less affluent families had to think
twice before entering the course, and that this worsened the trend which saw a
33% drop in working-class student numbers in the 1980s.
Cambridge is the second oldest
university and city in Britain. It lies on the river Cam and takes its name
from this river (Cam (тех. кулак) + bridge (мост)). Cambridge was
founded in 1284 when the first college, Peterhouse, was built. Now there are
22 colleges in Cambridge, but only three of them are women’s colleges. The
first women college was opened in 1896.
The ancient buildings, chapels,
libraries and colleges are in the center of the city. There are many museums
in the old university city. Its population consist mostly of teachers and
students. All students have to live in the college during their course.
In the old times the students’ life
was very strict. They were not allowed to play games, to sing, to hunt, to
fish or even to dance. They wore special dark clothes, which they continue to
wear in our days. In the streets of Cambridge, you can see young men wearing
dark blue or black clothes and the ‘squares’ – the academic caps.
Many great men have studied at
Cambridge, among them Cromwell, Newton, Byron, Tennyson, and Darwin. The
great Russian scientist I.P. Pavlov came to Cambridge to receive the degree
of the Honorary Doctor of Cambridge.
The students presented him with a toy
dog then. Now Cambridge is know all over the world as a great center of
science, where many famous scientists have worked: Rutherford, Kapitza and
Students studying for the first degree are called undergraduates.
At the end of the third year of study undergraduates sit for their examinations
and take the bachelor’s degree. Those engaged in the study of arts such
subjects as history, languages, economics or law take Bachelor of Arts (BA).
Students studying pure or applied sciences such as medicine, dentistry,
technology or agriculture get Bachelor of Science (BSc). When they have
been awarded the degree, they are known as graduates. Most people get
honours degrees, awarded in different classes. These are: Class I (known as
‘a first’), Class II, I (or ‘an upper second’), Class II, II (or ‘a lower
second’), Class III (‘a third’). A student who is below one of these gets a
pass degree (i.e. not an honours degree).
Students who obtain their Bachelor degree can apply
to take a further degree course, usually involving a mixture of exam courses
and research. There are two different types of post-graduate courses –
the Master’s Degree (MA or MSc), which takes one or two years, and the
higher degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which takes two or three
years. Funding for post-graduate courses is very limited, and even students
with first class degrees may be unable to get a grant. Consequently many post-graduates
have heavy bank loans or are working to pay their way to a higher degree.
The university system also provides a national
network of extra-mural or ‘Continuing Education’ Departments
which offer academic courses for adults who wish to study – often for the sheer
pleasure of study – after they have left schools of higher education.
One development in education in which Britain can
claim to lead the world is the Open University. It was founded in 1969
in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and is so called because it is open to all –
this university does not require any formal academic qualifications to study
for a degree, and many people who do not have an opportunity to be ‘ordinary’
students enroll. The university is non-residential and courses are mainly
taught by special written course books and by programmes on state radio and
television. There are, however, short summer courses of about a week that the
students have to attend and special part-time study centers where they can meet
their tutors when they have problems.
As mentioned above, the British higher education
system was added to in the 1970s, which saw the creation of colleges and
institutions of higher education, often by merging existing colleges or by
establishing new institutions. They now offer a wide range of degree,
certificate and diploma courses in both science and art, and in some cases have
specifically taken over the role of training teachers for the schools.
There are also a variety of other British higher
institutions, which offer higher education. Some, like the Royal College of
Arts, the Cornfield Institute of Technology and various Business Schools, have
university status, while others, such as agricultural, drama and arts colleges
like the Royal Academy of Dramatics Arts (RADA) and the Royal college of Music
provide comparable courses. All these institutions usually have a strong
vocational aspect in their programmes, which fills a specialized role in higher
V.A. Britain today: Life and Institutions. – Moscow: INFRA-M, 2001.
2. 200 Тем Английского Языка./Сост.: Бойко В., Жидких Н., Каверина В.,
Панина Е. – Москва: Издательство Иванова В.И., 2001.
“CLUB”, №3, January – February 2001.
4. Книга для чтения к учебнику английского языка для 8 класса средней
школы./Сост.: Копыл Е.Г., Боровик М.А. Изд. 2-е. Москва, «Просвещение»,
“English Learner’s Digest” №8, April 2001.
Room, An A to Z of British Life; OUP 1992.