Schools in Great Britain
All children must go to school from 5 to 16. Small children may attend Nursery Schools from 3 to 5. Primary school education is offered in Primary schools from 5 to 11. Secondary education can be provided in Comprehensive Schools, Grammar Schools. There are number of private schools in Great Britain, many of them enyoing a high reputation both in teaching standards and character education. The best known are "Public Schools" (Eaton Harrow). There is no national curriculum in Britain. Schools have freedom in what and how to teach. School - leaving certificates are very important for getting good jobs and for studying at a university. The A level exam taken at 18, decides whether you will be accepted by a university.
In the morning school begins at 8.50. Pupils call teachers either "sir" or simply "Mr. ...". There are usually special rooms for each subject. Pupils wear their uniforms.
At the secondary school pupils start in the first form with about 12 subjects, some of which are compulsory, some free. At the age of 16 they only take between 5 and 10 subjects for GCSE exams (General Certificate of Secondery Education), after which they may leave school. Those who stay for two more years study only 3 subjects for the A-levels, which are their kind of "matura".
School usually lasts until 4 p.m. every day (except Saturday). There is much cooperation between parents, teachers and pupils. During the school year there are no examinations but at the end of every year every pupil has to sit exams for a whole week or longer. At the end of the year there is so called Speech Day which includes prize-giving. The English School system has been constantly changing over the past few years.
Schools in Slovakia
It is said that our system education is very good and can be compared to educational systems of many highly developed countries in the world. Of course there are some shortages today due to the latest changes in our society and also relationship beween teachers and students is not always O. K. We are proud of our system of pre-school education which is provided for parents having children of 6 months to 6 years of age. If both parents go out to work they can leave their children in crecnes or kindergartens during their working hours. They have to pay for these facilities but public kindergaren are still cheaper than private ones.
Compulsory education in our country is from 6 to 16 years of age and is realized in primary schools. Priary schools are almost in every village and so all the children have a chance to attend them and can learn to read, write, count etc. During the first four years of elementary school pupils have the same teacher for almost all subjects. He or she is also their class-teacher. During the last four years they have different teachers for different subjects.
At the age of 14 children have to decide about their further studies. The best ones can attend Gymnasia - general education aimed for students who intend to study at universities, other go on study at vocational schools - specialized schools preparing pupils for certain professions, jobs. Both gymnazia and vocational schools are finished with matura. Less bright pupils have a chance to be trained at apprentice schools and will be specialized for varios, mostly maual jobs as skilled workers. Gymnazia teach general subjects on quite a high academic level and their graduates have possibility to study at univerities after successful entry exams. There are various types of secondery vocational schools in the SR. There are schools for engeneering, electronics, chemistry, catering, there are so called trade academies, music schools and also the School of Librarianship and Information Studies - the only one located in Bratislava. The programme at these schools lasts four years and is completed also by the school leaving exams - written and oral.
Further stage of education in our country is university study. There are quite a lot of universities here, the best known being the Comenius University in BA. It has several faculties, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Sciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Faculty of Sports and Physical Education and Faculty of Management. University students are called undergraduates and those who finish studies are graduates. Some graduates feel like or have to study further and those are called post-gradual students. Some students can continue their studies at superstructural courses. These courses train them for various specializations. The top administrative authority for eucation in our country is the Ministry of Education with the minister at its head. The heads of primary and secondary schools are headteachers. The head of university is a rector, his deputies are vice-rectors, and the head of a faculty is a dean and his deputies are vice-deans. After finishing university study with final state exams, the graduates have a fesive occasion - graduation ceremony and a given diplomas.