IntroductionThe United Kingdom and the United States share a very rich tradition of offering quality education. They both boast of excellent research facilities in their higher education programmes, and have both cultivated a culture that immensely promotes academic freedom and intellectualism. They both provide an excellent environment for pupils and students to learn in. Between the two education systems, there exist similarities and differences in the different facets of education (International student, 2014). The facets include the school system, the structure of the education systems: pre-school, primary, secondary and higher education levels, the national curricula employed in teaching, qualification of students, special education needs, the independent schools, and student finances.The school system in the UK is such that schooling for children aged between 5 and 16 years is compulsory, and they must get full-time education. Ninety percent of school-going children attends state schools which are maintained by funds collected from the public as tax money. The overall responsibility of their maintenance falls on the government, but the financing and maintenance of most schools is done by Local Education Authorities (LEAs). At these schools, education is wholly free, and schools that are maintained by public funds have a governing body comprised of teachers, parents, and members appointed by LEAs (Lorsch, 2011). Besides the public funded schools, there are independent schools where parents pay school fees. The independent schools may be privately funded or financed and maintained by churches (Lorsch. 2011).In the US, education is not the responsibility of the nation, but of individual states. Federal government gives money to schools, but it maintains very minimal control over administration and curriculum development. Each of the fifty states embraces its own school system, and all states are focused on all the children residing within the states to go school. Every child should get a minimum of thirteen years of education regardless of their race, sex, religion, ability to speak English, physical handicaps, and any learning problems they possess. School attendance is mandatory for children aged between 6 and 16. Normally, education varies from state to another, and usually there are grades one to twelve. Schools are basically managed by elected local bodies referred to school boards, and by the state or city they are situated. The types of schools present in the US are public and private ones. Public schools are owned by the public because they are financed by the local or state governments. Private schools are privately financed, and they tend to charge high fees for tuition far beyond the rich of children from poor backgrounds. There exist private schools funded by religious groups that are way cheaper and affordable.In both UK and the USA, most schools are co-educational accommodating both girls and boys. For USA, all public schools accommodate both boys and girls. However, some private and church schools accommodate only a single sex. Eighty percent of pupils in state secondary schools in the UK attend mixed schools. Majority of UK private schools are single-sex. The tendency in the UK is to focus on more schools becoming mixed and co-educational centres.Moreover, classes in both UK and USA education systems run from Monday to Friday. A large proportion of state schools in both the UK and the USA are day schools. Additionally, for both education systems, the school day kicks off at between 8 and 9 a.m. p.m. A school day in the USA ends around 3 p.m., and it includes a lunch break. Elsewhere, a school day in the UK ends around 4 p.m. consisting of a long morning, an afternoon break and an hour for lunch.Moreover, in the UK, children attending private schools and many state secondary schools usually wear uniforms. Children enrolled in some primary schools wear uniforms, but usually parents make a vote over this (International Student, 2014). However, in the USA education system, uniforms are normally worn by students attending private schools. Children in public schools make do with decent civilian wear.The school calendar in the UK usually begins in the September and ends in July of the following year (UK Government., 2012). In the case of the USA, school year usually varies from state to another; normally from mid-August to mid-September. The school year last till May or June. For both countries, the school is divided into three terms: fall, summer and spring. Summer term runs from September till Christmas, fall lasts through January till Easter, and spring term is normally between April till July.On the structure of education systems, the UK system is divided into 4 levels: pre-school and primary education, secondary education, further education, and higher education (UK Government., 2012). The USA education system has three stages: pre-school and elementary, secondary and higher education. In the UK system, pre-school education is provided by nurseries and target 3 and 4-year olds. In the USA, pre-school education includes nursery schools and kindergartens majorly for four to six-year-olds. Elementary education targets children between six and eleven years old. Elementary education is the equivalent of primary education in the UK. Primary education is provided by primary schools.Children pursuing elementary education in the USA education system usually learn to write, read, and work out arithmetic problems, arts and crafts, music, physical education, and elementary science (International Student, 2014). A friendly atmosphere is maintained at elementary schools, because of the idea that children’s interests and happiness are the most important things. In the UK system, children in primary school learn more systematic work, with a lot of learning through topic or project work. Emphasis is normally, on children finding out things for themselves. In both countries, secondary education is normally both academic and practical in nature. Many subjects are available for students to choose from as per their interests. On the practical front, students are presented with sporting activities, music; orchestra and choir bands, clubs and societies, specialized courses on music and film, computer science, and commerce.The keymost qualification taken by secondary pupils in the UK education system is the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). This is normally for pupils around the age of 16 years. A good result in the GCSE affords one the chance to prepare for A-level examination (Kadan, n d). The Advanced level exam is the main standard used in enrolling students in higher education and other forms of professional training. Elsewhere, in the USA education system, the basic school leaving after completion of a wide secondary school curriculum is the High School Diploma given to students around 18 years. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) national exam in English and Mathematics is used when selecting students for university or college education (Kadan, n d).In the UK, around a third of young people get into colleges and universities. High education institutions include teacher training colleges, universities, and colleges of technology, medical-allied professions and art. Britain has 89 universities 70 other higher education institutions. These institutions enjoy wholesome academic freedom; appointing their staff, individually admitting students, and deciding what degrees to award. In the USA system, higher education institutions comprise community colleges, vocational and technical schools, universities and colleges. Most colleges and universities offer 4-year courses. The US has both state universities and private universities.
ConclusionThe analysis gives an in-depth comparison and contrasting of both education systems. There exist some similarities in both systems. Furthermore, there are distinct aspects that characterize each education system making it unique from the other. Overall, it appears that both systems are oriented towards providing the highest quality of education to students and ensuring that every student in these education systems has a chance to succeed in life.
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