Education in Britain
In England and Wales
compulsory school begins at the age of five, but before that age children can
go to a nursery school, also called play school. School is compulsory till the
children are 16 years old.
In Primary School and First
School children learn to read and write and the basis of arithmetic. In the
higher classes of Primary School (or in Middle School) children learn
geography, history, religion and, in some schools, a foreign language. Then
children go to the Secondary School.
When students are 16 years old
they may take an exam in various subjects in order to have a qualification.
These qualifications can be either G.C.S.E. (General Certificate of Secondary
Education) or "O level" (Ordinary level). After that students can
either leave school and start working or continue their studies in the same
school as before. If they continue, when they are 18, they have to take further
examinations which are necessary for getting into university or college.
Some parents choose private
schools for their children. They are very expensive but considered to provide a
better education and good job opportunities.
In England there are 47
universities, including the Open University which teaches via TV and radio, about
400 colleges and institutes of higher education. The oldest universities in
England are Oxford and Cambridge. Generally, universities award two kinds of
degrees: the Bachelor's degree and the Master's degree.