Great Britain

Страница 7

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.

§5. Higher education.

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 both sexes.

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.

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