EDUCATION

Schools- Historical development The first English schools were founded by the Church in the sixth century to train boys for the priesthood. During the Middle Ages most of the schools that existed were attached to cathedrals, monasteries or collegiate churches. The state played, therefore, virtually no part in education. In the past education was the prerogative of the rich, because, although schools for the poor existed, they were not enough. Thus, in many cases people were illiterate for life. However, during the late eighteen century a considerable number of "industrial schools" and "Sunday schools" were established by industrialists and philanthropists, with the purpose of providing a basic education for the working class. Unfortunately one of the great problems of these early schools was a shortage of trained teachers. At the beginning of the 19th century elementary schools were financed either by private individuals or by the Churches. In 1833 Parliment made a grant of 20000 pounds for the provision of school houses working the beginning of the state's involvement in education which culminated in the Education Act of 1870 or the Forster Act. By the end of the decade a national system had been established providing free compulsory education for all the children between the ages of 5 to 10. Although elementary education for all had been achieved secondary education was still a privilege of those who were able to pay for it. However, in the 20th century-1944-a new Education Act was passed, which reorganized secondary education in England and Wales. As a consequence, the President of the Board of Education was replaced by a Minister of Education. The Act also stipulated that education would be divided into 3 stages: -primary from 5 to 12 -secondary over 12 to under 19 -post-school

In addition the Act defined 2 kinds of state schools: 1) county and 2) voluntary. The former were provided by the local authority and the latter were founded by the Churches. Moreover, the secondary school was divided into 2 categories: the grammar school and the secondary modern school- therefore the choice was made on the basis of examination results. In 1964 the Labour Party announced the introduction of o system of comprehensive schools throughout the country. Another important reform introduced in the 1980 was the National Curriculum, which establishes for the first time what subjects should be taught in schools.

Independent schools To many people English Education means the public schools, but in fact , in terms of members, the public schools comprise a very small minority of the schools in England. Only 5 per cent of the school population receives their education in such institutions. In terms of influence and prestige, however, their importance is very great. Originally, "public" meant that a school was run by a govering body "in the public interest", as opposed to private schools that were run for the benefit of their proprietor. Today the public schools are usually held to be the 200 or 80 schools whose head-masters belong to the Headmasters' Conference (HMC) although recently the heads of some state schools have been invited to join this body. Public schools draw their finances from fees, from trusts and endowments, and from land and property. In recent years a useful source of extra money has been that provided by industry for the building of science laboratories or teaching rooms. Public schools receive no state support and have few scholarship places. Some public schools are very ancient: Winchester was founded in 1394 and Eton in 1400. But the majority of the schools were established during the 19th century. Although the number of public schools is very small in comparison with other secondary schools, they have a great influence on society as a whole. Children destined for public schools frequently attend private preparatory (or prep) schools between the ages of 5 and 13, after which they transfer to the public school. A child intending to go to a public school has to sit the "Common Entrance" examination.

The examination system

Until 1988 there were 2 examinations at the age of 16 in England and Wales, the General Certificate of Education, Ordinary level, and the Certificate of Secondary Education. In 1986 courses for the new General Certificate of Secondary Education were started and the first examinations took place in 1988. For the time being the Advanced level a GCE examinations will continue to serve as the school-leaving examinations for those who continue in full-time educations after the age of 16, but discussions are taking place as to how the examination might be modified. Scotland has its own examination system, pupils take the Scottish Certificate of Education at the Ordinary level at 16 and the "Higher" at 18. Higher education Broadly speaking, "higher education" covers universities, colleges and institutes of higher education. There are over eighty university institutions in Britain and more than 450 colleges offering higher education qualifications, that is, degree courses or professional qualifications. Universities The oldest universities in Britain are Oxford and Cambridge often referred to jointly an "Oxbridge"- founded at the end of the twelfth century. The first Oxford college, University College, was founded in about 1249; the first Cambridge one, Porterhouse, in 1284. Both Oxford and Cambridge restricted their membership to members of the Anglican Church until the 19th century. It was not until the 1830s when the universities of Durham and London opened their doors that non-Anglicans were admitted to higher education. There are no state universities in Britain, even though the state provides the largest part of the universities income through the Higher Education Finding Council. However, in recent years the government has begun taking a more intrusive role in deciding how the money allocated to universities should be spent and various exercises have been undertaken in an attempt to judge whether institutions are providing “value for money”. One of these resulted in the publication of a table giving each department in each university a ranking number. The standards for first degrees are intended to be the same at all universities, although in practice one university may have greater prestige than another. At the end of a first degree course, the successful student is awarded a Bachelor’s degree usually a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSC). The names and standards of higher degrees vary between different universities.

As far as the ADMINISTRATION OF UNIVERSITIES is concerned, in England and Wales the nominal head of the university is the CHANCELLOR – public figure – often a member of the royal family or the aristocracy. The professional head of the university is the VICE-CHANCELLOR, who in most cases is an academic of professorial rank. At most universities the vice-chancellorship is a permanent position, but at Oxford the office is held by heads of colleges for a period of 3 years. The bodies and committees which run the administrative and academic side of the university vary from institution to institution. The University Court – large body – consisting of local dignitaries, such as Members of Parliament, local councilors, Church leaders and others, together with members of the academic staff. However, in most cases the powers of the Court are purely formal. Executive control of the university is vested in the Council, composed of persons nominated by the Court; local authorities and senior academics. The Senate is the principal academic body of the university and it deals with academic policy, teaching, examinations and discipline. It is usually made up mainly of senior academics. Academic work is the responsibility of faculties each of which is headed by a Dean. A faculty consists of a number of departments and the head of department, usually a professor or senior member of the teaching staff. Associate and Assistant Professors are not normally found at the traditional British university: staff tends to be Readers-academics with strong research interests – Senior Lectures or Lecturers. The Open University Originally The Open University was conceived as “The University of the Second Chance “ designed for those unable to take advantage of a conventional university education when they left school. -people from all occupations are eligible to become students; -students study at home with the aid of lectures broadcast on television and radio. Students Students at British universities tend to be younger than those at many similar institutions on the Continent. The majority of British students go to university straight from school at the age of 18, which means that they have completed their studies by the time they are 21 or 22. Facilities for students vary greatly between universities. Most universities try to provide student hostels or halls of residence, at least for first-year students.

Further Education Further Education is provided by institutions of higher education, colleges of further education and technical colleges, which are financed and administrated by local authorities.

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