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Education does not end with a diploma

“He, who does not care for being instructed, you shall in vain try to instruct, unless you awaken in him a fervent interest in learning.” This was said by Jan Amos Comenius, the author of many other wise sayings. In numerous countries of Western and Central Europe he is known as the instructor of the nations. He tried to apply his unique ideas to practical life and teaching. What was his concept of school? Among his important views are the following, given in his Didactica:

· All young people should attend school regardless of property or gender.
· Lack of talent can be compensated by diligence and effort by the pupil.
· Most learning takes place in youth.

If we begin with the last idea, how then does our school system measure up? Does our progeny receive enough care and attention? In Slovakia a child since the age of six months to three years can attend a day nursery and from three or two years of age, kindergarden. There children experience their first contacts with society, social rules and ethics.

Six years old children begin their compulsory school attendance in the elementary school. The school year begins on September 1st and finishes on June 30th . This is followed by a long-awaited two months of holidays.
The elementary school lasts nine years. In the final year many children face a problem. During this time everybody needs to choose the next school which he/she wants to attend. The choice depends not only on the interests but also on the performance and success at school.
We can choose from various options: to study at a secondary school or an apprentice training centre, or an art school.
At the present time there are also private and religious schools. In contrast with the past, more emphasis is placed on foreign language studies as well as computers and economics.

Secondary school studies last for four years. At the end of the fourth year students have to pass a school leaving exam, usually consisting of oral and written parts.
If a student doesn`t manage to pass the examination on his/her first attempt, he/she is offered a second chance in September.

If you want to study at a college or university, you have to successfully pass the entrance examinations and interviews. The choices are really quite wide-ranging. Universities have several levels. The lowest, usually lasting three years, is the bachelor`s degree. Upon successfully completing this course of study, we achieve the title of bachelor. At the present time this type of study is relatively expanding in our country.
We can also opt for study at a teacher`s college, upon the completion of which we obtain the title of master. After completing studies at an economics or technical college we obtain the title of engineer. The completion of studies is marked by a ceremony called graduation, where we get a diploma certifying the successful completion of our studies.

I attended the elementary school in Svit. When I was a child the elementary school lasted only eight years. In the final year I had to choose the secondary school. I wanted to attend bilingual Grammar school in Poprad. But they didn`t enrol me. So I attended the Grammar chool. In the third year of the Grammar school I was in Switzerland. I studied there at the Higher Secondary School of Marzilli. After my comeback I had to do exams in Slovak language and Mathematics. After this exams I was able to go to the final year of the Grammar school in Poprad. At the end of the fourth year I passed the graduation examination consisting of Slovak language, English, German and Mathematics.
After the Grammar school I wanted to attend an university. I sent three application forms; to Bratislava, Banska Bystrica and Presov. Finally I chose the Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica. I studied German and literature and technical education.
After my graduation I have started teaching at the elementary school in Svit. As a teacher I have to study the whole my life.
During my occupation I have started studying at the Komensky University in Bratislava. I had to write rigorous work and do orals for the lower doctorate.
After this study I said that I would never more learn something. But now I study English and later I will learn French or Spanish.

I think that nowadays more and more people need further education. In our state we have a lot of unemployed people and when these people want to become a work, they have to be better as the other people.
Many people want to move on in their work so they musn`t stagnate. They always have to become new information and skills.
Distance courses are for these people very helpful.

I have started with English learning on Humboldt. It is a school like the Open University in Great Britain. The Open University is dedicated to distance learning. You can study there many courses, not only languages. You can start your course when you want and the university has no upper age limit.

Nearly all students in Humboldt are studying part-time. Many students are in full-time employment.
Nowadays many employers sponsored their employees for their studies.

Most Humboldt courses are available throughout Europe.

The Open University and Humboldt`s style of teaching is called supported open learning. Open learning means that you will be learning in your own time by reading course material, working on course activities, writing assignments and perhaps working with other students. Supported means support from a tutor and the student services staff.
Some courses include a residential or day school. These are held at various times and locations.

By your study at Humboldt you will become a tutor. Your tutor will support your progress throughout the course. The tutor will be an expert in the subject and appreciates what it is like to study at a distance.
You need to be active in asking for help from your tutor – they won`t necessarily know just when you need it. Your tutor will support you by:

· Correspondence tuition. Your tutor will mark your course assignments and give you written back.
· For many courses, your tutor will arrange tutorial support for a small group of students. This support may be face to face or online.
· Individual assistance in writing or by e-mail. Your tutor will explain when and how to make contact so do get in touch when you need help.

Humboldt uses a variety of media to help its students learn. For example:

· printed course materials
· set books
· audio cassettes
· CDs
· web site etc.

All the printed materials, and many others, are yours to keep – use them in the way that suits you best. You`ll get the most benefit if you study actively, so it`s good practise to treat printed course materials as workbooks: write notes on them, highlight sections, underline key points, make notes on the pages etc.

After the course you receive a certificate of the successfully end of your course. In some courses you have to do some examinations at the end of the course.
If you find the thought of an examination a bit daunting, then don`t let it put you off. Only a very few people actually enjoy examinations but most students find that the process of revising for the examination helps to pull together the material they have learned during the course. There is also a great sense of achievement when you receive your final marks and realize that you have successfully passed a demanding academic course.

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