It’s interesting to read about the education system in Slovakia. It’s quite different from the UK and Japan. I’ll try to summarise the two different systems as concisely as I can:
In the UK, most children these days attend pre-school before they enter primary school at around 5 years of age. At about 11 or 12 children then enter secondary school. When they get to about 14 or so they can choose which subjects they would like to study. However, like in Slovakia, they must study certain ‘core’ subjects, such as English, Maths, Science and a foreign language. At the end of secondary school, at age 16, they sit final exams in about 9 subjects. At this point they can choose their next path: go to college to do A-Levels, which are basically preparatory exams for university, or go to technical college or find work. I took the A-Levels route and then went to university. With hindsight I think I needed more guidance from teachers about which subjects to choose at each stage and future career opportunities. I think that many pupils choose subjects which may not be that beneficial to them in the long run. I think that it’s good you are taking such a close interest in Peter’s future; he’ll thank you for it when he's older, I’m sure.
In Japan, the system is quite different, and far more stressful, in my opinion. Children are put under a lot of pressure from a very early age to do well in exams and enter prestigious schools. In order to do well in exams many pupils attend ‘cram’ school in the evening after normal school. These children may also have to attend school club activities, too. It’s not uncommon to see children, who are absolutely exhausted, falling asleep in class. Compulsory education ends after Junior High School, at age 14 or 15, but the majority of pupils continue on to High School, until age 18, and a large proportion of them go to university. Most pupils don’t specialise in any particular subjects at school, but take a broad range. They have to take an exam at the end of High School and entrance examinations for the universities they wish to attend. However, many pupils fail these exams repeatedly and it’s not uncommon for them to retake the exams three or four times before being accepted to university.
I hope you are feeling a little better today Anita!
Useful English from today’s post:
(to) attend school
(to) enter school/college/university
(to) take/sit/do/retake/resit/redo an exam
(to) do something with hindsight
in the long run
(to) take a/n (close) interest in something/someone
(to be) put under pressure (from an early age, from parents)
compulsory education – voluntary education
(to) specialise in something
(to be) accepted by a school/college/university
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