16 votes

What's the education system like in your country?

Ok I'll start:

Brazil: here the schools are split between the fundamental level, which is 1-9th grade, which is then subdivided onto fundamental I and II, which range from 1-5th (ages 6-11) and 6-9th grades (ages 11-15) respectively. Then we have 'medium' level ("Ensino Médio") which goes from 10th-12th grade, and then we have a national test called ENEM, where everyone takes a test to be able to enroll in the many colleges/universities which accept it, where you then reach 'superior' class and take technical courses and the like.

Class goes from 7-12:20 Am for fundamental II and 1-5:20 pm for fundamental I. This is because each day is divided into six periods of 50 minutes (+a 20 minute break, like in most places) for the sake of making subject distribution easier.

There are 8 subjects in fundamental class, Portuguese (grammar), math, geography, history, science, physical education, English (still mostly grammar) and arts. (Unsurprisingly it's more about culture & music than how to draw)
In 'medium' class, 3 more subjects are added, which are biology, physics and chemistry.

Funding for education is reserved for the states to decide, although it usually goes from 15-25% of total tax revenue.

14 comments

  1. [2]
    patience_limited
    Link
    U.S.: The United States has a deeply fragmented education system with multiple bureaucratic layers. In broad strokes, the national bureaucracy sets standards, but provides inadequate resources and...

    U.S.:

    The United States has a deeply fragmented education system with multiple bureaucratic layers. In broad strokes, the national bureaucracy sets standards, but provides inadequate resources and oversight to ensure equitable outcomes.

    There are huge disparities in public school funding down to the level of individual schools, regardless of location. The federal government only provides 8% of overall school funding; the rest derives from property taxes, which vary drastically depending on state, county, and city levies. School boards (usually elected) determine allocation to each school, including funding by curriculum choices.
    There's a significant (10%) proportion of students in religious (78%) or other private schools. Another 6% of students attend "charter" schools, which operate outside the standard public education system (often run by private corporations) despite receiving public funding. If you follow U.S. news, you'll see mentions of "school choice" and "vouchers", which are basically means of diverting public funding to subsidize religious private schools that parents would otherwise have to pay out of pocket for their children to attend.

    Overall, U.S. total spending on primary and secondary education is in the top tier globally; we spend as much per student on average as does Norway. [At the college level, U.S. education costs twice as much per student as elsewhere.]

    Lobbying influence has established bloated textbook publishing monopolies; mandatory standardized tests result in diversion of billions of dollars to testing companies, all as you would expect with few safeguards against regulatory capture. Teachers in the U.S. are the worst paid professionals, with average income close to poverty level in many locales.

    That's before beginning to discuss the impacts of race and family income inequality.

    With that preamble done, the basics for U.S. education are:

    Primary school, split in elementary and middle divisions:

    • Elementary: Kindergarten (age 5) through grade 5 or 6.

    • Middle: usually grades 6 - 8 or 7 - 9 depending on state.

    Secondary or high school: grades 9 or 10 through 12.

    There's no nationwide public test for high school graduation. Students seeking college admission usually take one or both of the private standardized tests, SAT or ACT. It's rare for high schools to offer complete trade education, though there are partnerships with trade schools and community colleges for accelerated study.

    Post-secondary education usually divides into community colleges, trade schools, and universities.

    University education is required for most professional jobs; community college or trade school certifications are the usual entree' to working class roles.

    8 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      You said everything better than I could, patience_limited! I know that I'm often a voice for American educational pessimism here, but I will say that one thing that I very much appreciate about...

      You said everything better than I could, patience_limited!

      I know that I'm often a voice for American educational pessimism here, but I will say that one thing that I very much appreciate about education in the United States is that it is free and compulsory for all students, including those with disabilities or special needs. No matter the nature or severity of someone's condition, we still educate them at no cost to the parents. We've also made huge strides in understanding and including these students, such that they are increasingly less separated and othered, with far better supports than they've had historically. We're not where we need to be yet, but we're getting there.

      4 votes
  2. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    The main problems in the system are that (like in many other educational systems) 1:Teachers and other staff are paid too little and given too much work. (The average class has somewhere around...

    The main problems in the system are that (like in many other educational systems)

    1:Teachers and other staff are paid too little and given too much work. (The average class has somewhere around 35-45 students by 8th grade.)

    2: The schools are often not very well maintained. (Broken tables or chairs are not super rare in my school.)

    3: There aren't enough teachers and they aren't good enough because of 1. (In my school, there were days where 4-6 classes were vague because of missing teachers, enough free time for my classmates to take the desks, make a mini soccer field, and take a load of paper from their books to make a soccer ball and play on the field for 2 and a half hours.)

    4: As a result students don't do well and are usually playing mobile games or talking with eachother.

    6 votes
  3. [4]
    suspended
    Link
    I believe that it depends on where you are in the United States. The local public school system that my two boys attend is spectacular. We live in a rural area and the state that we reside in...

    I believe that it depends on where you are in the United States.

    The local public school system that my two boys attend is spectacular. We live in a rural area and the state that we reside in spends a lot of money on public education.

    6 votes
    1. somewaffles
      Link Parent
      It's crazy how different it is depending on your location in the US. The Philadelphia school system is atrocious, I have multiple teacher friends who have either dropped out of the profession or...

      It's crazy how different it is depending on your location in the US. The Philadelphia school system is atrocious, I have multiple teacher friends who have either dropped out of the profession or are at their limit and looking to get out of the city (all only a few years into their career.) But just a half hour away in the suburbs, there are some of the best districts in the state. It really comes down to how much money is going into the schools and youth programs.

      5 votes
    2. [2]
      Surira
      Link Parent
      May I ask what state? May be looking to move for that reason in the not too distant future...

      May I ask what state? May be looking to move for that reason in the not too distant future...

      2 votes
  4. [3]
    cwagner
    (edited )
    Link
    In Germany when I went to school 1992-2005 in Schlesig-Holstein: Grade 1-4, then a decision for your track: Hauptschule: year 5-9 Realschule: year 5-11 (qualification for university of applied...

    In Germany when I went to school 1992-2005 in Schlesig-Holstein:

    Grade 1-4, then a decision for your track:
    Hauptschule: year 5-9
    Realschule: year 5-11 (qualification for university of applied science in combination with vocational training)
    Gymnasium: year 5-12/13 (qualification for any university)
    Gesamtschule: year 5-[9-13] with some classes having people from all tracks, others only certain tracks.

    Not sure how the qualification at a Gesamtschule works.

    The upwards permeability of these tracks is there, but often harder than it should be, partially because the things you learn at higher tracks proceed far faster.

    Here I should mention that vocational training is a big thing in Germany and a university degree is by no means the only path one has. There are even certain vocational trainings that require Realschule or even Gymnasium.

    Both primary, secondary and universities are usually public, private schools are a rare exception (exception for the rarity would be the dual system schools, universities combined with an apprenticeship, those are private but free as your employer pays you a salary and the school fee; you need top grades to get into those).

    Universities cost anywhere between 100€ and 400€ per semester, this cost is mainly dependent on the ticket you get for free public transportation + some miscellaneous fees.

    For people whose parents don’t earn enough (or after a certain age who don’t have enough money themselves) there is BAföG which is a student loan with 0% credit rates and you only have to pay half of it back.

    I’m not sure if those year counts are still accurate as there have been quite some changes since I went to school. I know there was a lot of discussion about the track decision being too early (I agree) and the track system being bad in general (I disagree) which at least lead to more Gesamtschulen than during my time.

    edit: Also, as was pointed out to me education is the responsibility of the state and not federal government. So there can be differences between them. See the comment below ;)

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      Artrax
      Link Parent
      Very good explanation, but I'd add that education is mostly a responsibility of the state, so there are quite a lot of variations regarding the structure of the primary education. In some states...

      Very good explanation, but I'd add that education is mostly a responsibility of the state, so there are quite a lot of variations regarding the structure of the primary education. In some states like Berlin Gymnasium/Realschule etc. start with grade 7, in some states gymnasium is always till 13, in some only till 12, and if you look at the dual education system it gets even messier with many people getting their qualification for university as part of their trade school program.

      5 votes
      1. cwagner
        Link Parent
        Ah, very good points. My experience is solely within SH. I’ll edit that in :) Though I kinda remember the differences being smaller back then.

        Ah, very good points. My experience is solely within SH. I’ll edit that in :) Though I kinda remember the differences being smaller back then.

        1 vote
  5. [2]
    ibis
    Link
    In Australia schools are separated into primary school and high school. Sometimes they are at the same campus, but often the primary school is small and local, while the high school is bigger and...

    In Australia schools are separated into primary school and high school. Sometimes they are at the same campus, but often the primary school is small and local, while the high school is bigger and more regional.

    Primary school has grades kinder + 1-6 (in some states kinder is separate though), high school is 7-12.

    At the end of year 10 you can leave school to go and learn a trade, but less and less students are doing that. In years 11 and 12 you get to choose what classes you take.

    The school funding system is separated into public (cheap for parents, funded mostly by the state) and private (parents pay big fees - includes religious schools). The government gives as much or more funding to private schools compared to public. Why? You tell me - it makes no sense. The result is that public schools have significantly worse facilities (although academically they don’t really do that bad).

    5 votes
    1. ReapersGale
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      After Highschool we have: TAFE (Technical and Further Education) - this is like a tech/trades school and is where the folk that leave highschool at year 10 end up (note you are not required to go...

      After Highschool we have:
      TAFE (Technical and Further Education) - this is like a tech/trades school and is where the folk that leave highschool at year 10 end up (note you are not required to go to TAFE if you leave high school). This will get you a qualification like Cert [I II III IV] of [field] - it's generally favored above just high school completion but lower than an university degree.

      University - bachelors/masters/phds/etc

      For both these you can pay outright or get a government education loan (currently called 'FEE-HELP') which does not have interest (but is indexed each year to keep relative value). You don't start paying it back until you hit a certain income threshold (~45,000AUD) and it just comes out of your pay until you've paid it off.

      edit: load > loan

      3 votes
  6. mat
    Link
    The way the age splits happen in the UK is variable but one common one is Primary (4-10), Secondary (11-16), 6th Form (16-18, often part of secondary but not always. Vocational training can happen...

    The way the age splits happen in the UK is variable but one common one is Primary (4-10), Secondary (11-16), 6th Form (16-18, often part of secondary but not always. Vocational training can happen here, or academic), then 18+ for degree/equivalent. Degree level is payable, which is dumb but there you go. There are other splits - some places have Middle schools which I think are 8-13 but that's not the interesting bit. Most schools are state funded, although there are private options where you can pay up to £30,000 a year to send your kids there (Eton, possibly the most famous school in the world, costs that). Private schools have different rules, and some degree of tax exemption because you wouldn't want the rich to have to pay too many taxes, right?

    In the UK our system is horribly underfunded, the current government is slowly selling off our publicly owned schools to private companies, which is an absolute disgrace because all the Academy Trusts do is skim more money from their still-state-provided, but increasingly reduced, budgets to pay management and 'consultants' (never seems to be teachers!) and sell off assets like playing fields to developers. Nothing about being run by a private company is making these schools better for the pupils, but it is making those companies very rich.

    Along with that our approach to teaching is getting increasingly outdated. Evidence suggests that later starts (age 6-7), and play/project based learning is far more effective than 'traditional' teaching methods. The UK approach of vast amounts of testing, not to mention homework (there is no evidence homework is beneficial and some to suggest it's actively detrimental), is depressingly what happens when you let unqualified people be in charge of education. It's a funny thing, people seem to assume that because they've been to school, they are in any way qualified to say how schools should be run. They are not. Teacher training takes years of both academic study and experience. Teachers know that continuous assessment and coursework beats exam-style testing every time. Teachers know that homework isn't helpful. Teachers know that kids need to be mentally engaged in learning not say quietly learning things by rote. But time and time again government enforces all these things. It's odd. I use electricity but I don't think that qualifies me to be in charge of a power station. I have a body but at no point would I walk into an operating theatre and assume I was a surgeon, but it seems that logic doesn't apply to the people running the schools.

    Yeah. So there's that. You did ask. I am furious about the state of education in my country. My mum was a teacher most of her life and by the end she was absolutely sick of what her profession had become. She took early retirement, at some cost to her pension value, because she couldn't continue doing her job knowing she was failing her kids despite doing her very best to bend and break the rules imposed on her about how she was supposed to do a job she'd been doing very well for 40 years. I am seriously considering keeping my own kid out of the education system in favour of homeschooling, if possible.

    5 votes
  7. Grzmot
    (edited )
    Link
    Austria From age 6, the requirement to go to school begins, and lasts for 9 school years. School begins at age 6 for most people at the elementary school, of which there 4 grades. After this, it...

    Austria

    From age 6, the requirement to go to school begins, and lasts for 9 school years.

    School begins at age 6 for most people at the elementary school, of which there 4 grades. After this, it branches out (I've translated the names to the best of my ability):

    • Common school: 4 years, after which, except for 1 supplementary year at a different school called Tourism school to finish the 9 year requirement, no further higher education is planned
    • Gymnasium (lower level): 4 years, after which further education is basically required

    After this, your choices further branch out:

    • Gymnasium (upper level): Another 4 years, after which you earn a degree that qualifies you for any Austrian university and a lot of other educations. You can still go to universty without it, but you'll need to finish courses to earn that qualifiaction.
    • Economic academy: 4 years, at which you end up with the same degree as from the Gymnasium, but the education is more focused on economics.
    • Economic school: Same as economic academy, but easier and without the university qualifiaction at the end.
    • Secondary Technical academy: 5 years, depending on which school you pick, the focus usually lies on fields like engineering, IT, etc. Quite difficult, at the end you also have the same qualification as the Gymnasium, but can choose to begin to work immediately in a field specific to your education, or go to university.

    After this, the only higher education that remains is university. There are also finer decisions like Gymnasiums usually being divided in branches like natural sciences and language, but that depends on the school.

    What actually gets taught at school is first designed on a country level and then the 9 states get a little bit of leeway in what they want to finance more, so education is more or less uniform.