Sunday, November 27, 2011

Education Systems in Canada, USA, UK and Australia

By Joe Whitehouse

Most countries have their own unique educational system which influences the curricula of the schools and the examination and grading system used. While all educational systems are meant to prepare students for higher education, there can be significant differences in the level of academic knowledge imparted by each. Another thing to consider is the type of school; parents can elect to send their child to a private or public academic establishment or even a boarding school. So, if you are not sure about the education system that you ought to pick for your child, here is a look at the most popular options available.

The American education system comprises 12 academic years; parents have the option of enrolling their children in a public school or private school or home educating them. Alternatively, it is also possible to send kids to a boarding school. These residential academic institutions are available for children of various ages from kindergarten level children to teens in high school. In fact many boarding schools are well known for their high education level. While schooling is compulsory for all children in the country, the mandatory number of years that have to be spent in a school vary from one state to another. The twelve academic years are divided into three levels: elementary, middle school and high school. The scholastic life of a student culminates upon successfully clearing the SAT or the ACT or both depending on the high school they attend.

Within the UK education system about 60 to 70 years ago, it was normal for people from the upper echelons of society to send their children to a boarding school. On the other hand, the public education system was primarily reserved for the middle and lower income groups. However, things have changed drastically in the last few decades. Although, some families still consider it a matter of pride to have their children enrolled in a certain boarding school; most people are now comfortable with the education offered in public schools. The UK education system is divided into 12 scholastic years; a national curriculum is followed by all publically funded schools, private academic establishments and even senior boarding schools. It is a legal mandate for children to attend school from the age of 5 to 16; the 12 scholastic years are divided into stages 1 to 4 with core subjects prescribed for each level. At the 4th level students are expected to take the GCSE examination; clearing tests in 10 subjects.

The Canadian education system includes public and privately funded academic institutions including boarding schools. Children are expected to attend kindergarten for one to two years on a voluntary basis. Primary and secondary school combined form the kindergarten-12 grade levels of the Canadian education system; however, each province in the country has its own board of education. In the 12th grade, students take an exam set by the education board of the province in which they reside in order to secure their secondary school diploma.

Australian children are legally required to attend school for 10 years; the education system including the curriculum is set by the academic board of each state which also offers funding to the public schools. Although students are taught the same subjects at a given level across the country, the educational guidelines do offer a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to the curriculum. Unlike other countries, students can elect to pursue a high school certification after passing 10th grade or take a vocational course. While most of these academic boards vary significantly; there is distinct similarity in the core subjects taught at various levels. Mathematics, English and science are given priority while other subjects like history, geography, foreign languages etc. may be offered as electives in junior and senior school. A lot of countries have also started stressing the importance of computer education at the scholastic level.

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