Economics: the economics of education in the US
It has been suggested that higher education rates for a country is a critical success factor in fostering the economic growth of a particular country. Empirical evaluations confer that demand for education depends on the human labor requirements for a country. In addition, recent studies report that countries that have high education enrolment rates have reported high economic growth in comparison to countries that have fewer rates of education enrolments (Gérin-Lajoie, 2008). The structure and the delivery of the education system usually determine its effectiveness. Just like any other public services such as health care, government involvement in the system through avenues such as funding and policy regulations plays an integral role in determining the quality of delivery of education services in a particular country. With a focus on the United States, it has been a global forefront in educational advances, especially during the onset of the high school movements (Ravitch, 2010). This paper attempts to provide a comparison of the education system in the United States, with the education system of Canada, which is more superior to the US education system, and China’s education system, which is ranked lower compared to the United States.
Overview of the United States education system
The education system in the United States is principally funded by the public sector, characterized by control from three major levels, which are the locals, state and federal levels. An important aspect of the Unites States education system is that child education is obligatory. Access to public education is available universally within the United States. The local levels in the control of education system are exercised by the school boards, who are elected locally, and they operate under the directives of the school districts and other directives from the state level. Some of the functions associated with the school boards include the setting of the school curricula, institutional policies and funding. School districts operate independently, without any authority from the directives of the state, in the sense that their budget allocation and officials are under the control of the state (Tillman, 2008). The principal role of the state governments in controlling the education system is through setting up education standards and ensuring compliance to these education standards by the academic institutions (Tillman, 2008).
The requirements for compulsory education in the United States often vary deepening on the state, and it is provided through public schools, private schools that have been certified by the state and home school programs that have been approved. The post secondary education and pre-secondary education are considered as different entities in the education system of the United States. The education levels before post secondary education comprise of categories, which are the elementary school, the middle school and high school, whereby pupils are classified according to grades, which vary depending on the state (Ravitch, 2010).
Statistically, United States has a literacy rate of 99 percent on its population of the age of at least 15 years. However, the country ranks below average in terms of understanding mathematics and science in comparison with other developed countries. In addition, its graduation rate from high school is lower than the majority of the developed countries. Such poor performance in the education system compelled the adoption of the No Child left behind. Act (Ravitch, 2010).
Comparison of the education system in Canada and the United States
Canada has one of the best education systems in the world, which is publicly funded and administered through the federal, provincial and local governments, which is analogous to the United States education system. There are vast similarities between the education system of Canada and that of the United States (Usa, 2009). A notable similarity between the education system of the two countries is that the education system in Canada is under the directive of provincial directives, which have the sole responsibility of designing the education curricula, which is analogous to the state directives in the United States education system (Usa, 2009)
Another similarity between the education systems of the two countries is in terms of the divisions of the levels of learning, with both education systems having three principal divisions. The Canada education system is principally divided into three basic levels, which are the primary education, secondary and post secondary education levels. The other similarity is in terms of the administration of the school programs, which is usually undertaken by the district school boards, who work under the directives of the ministry of education within the provinces in Canada while under the state directives in the United States. The aspect of compulsory education is a similarity concept in the Canadian and the United States education system, whereby in Canada, it runs up to the age of 16 years, although there are differences in some states such as Ontario, which the compulsory education age set to 18 years. It is widely evident that are similarities in the above highlighted aspects of Canadian education system when compared to the United States education system. This implies that the overall structure and delivery of education and Canada is similar in almost all accounts, with a notable difference being specifically in terms of age of compulsory education, whereby in the United States, it varies according to the state (Ravitch, 2010).
Another similarity in the education system of Canada and the United States is that the post secondary education is usually considered a responsibility of the provinces and the states respectively. The major funding for post secondary institutions in Canada and the United States often comes from the provinces and the states, with the federal and individuals making minor contributions to the education through federal grants and tuition fees respectively.
According to the provisions of the Canadian constitution, the delivery of education is a preliminary responsibility of the provinces, implying that provinces have more supreme authority in controlling their provincial education compared to the federal government. The outcome of this approach in the Canadian education system is significant differences in the education systems of the various provinces. The only significant role that the federal government plays in the education system is establishing high quality education standard that the provincial governments must put into check during the delivery of education (Gérin-Lajoie, 2008). On the other hand, the education system of the United States is under the principal control of the federal government, with the lower government levels operating under the jurisdiction of the federal directives. The outcome of this approach in the education system is that there will be minimal differences in the overall education system of the United States compared to Canada.
Comparison of the education system in Canada and the United States
The education system of India is delivered through public funding strategy, which is channeled through the federal, state and local levels. Just like most countries, child education in India is mandatory. The economic development of India can largely be attributed to the significant reforms in its education system, especially its focus on the private education market, which is predicted to have a net value of $ 68 billion during 2012. The significant challenge associated with the education system of India is its ability to cater for the rising population of students in terms of availability of facilities. Statistics reveal that 35 per cent of Indian populations are not literate, and that only 15 per cent of the student population in India manages to reach high school, with only 7 per cent graduating from high school. The following section compares the Indian education system with the United States education system through outlining the similarities and the differences in the system (Ravitch, 2010).
There are various similarities between the Indian education system and that of the United States. One such similarity is that the delivery of education in both countries is through a public funding approach, and control of the delivery of education takes place from the state, local and federal levels. A significant number of higher learning institutions in India are owned by the government. The education system in India is under the supreme control of the Union Government, although some states have autonomous control for their education system. This is similar to the US education system, whereby the federal government has the supreme controls and issues directives on matters regarding the delivery of education. Another similarity in the education system is the development of curricula, which is undertaken by the state government boards and the state districts in India and United States respectively. Generally, the framework of delivery, control and curricular structure of the education system of both India and the United States are similar (Sunder, 2009).
The most notable differences in the education system of India and the United States can be perceived in terms of their effectiveness. India being one of the largest education systems in the world implies that it is faced with acute shortages of facilities compared to the United States, as result; this significantly impairs its effectiveness. This has resulted to concerns over the quality of education in India. Shortage of resources and appropriate political will in the Indian education system also results to massive gaps in the education system such as high ratios of pupils to teachers, infrastructure shortage and poor delivery of teacher training.
Another notable difference in the education system of India and the United States is in terms of government spending in the education sector, with India having the lowest government expenditure per student compared to the United States. Other challenges that hinder the improvement of the education system in India include issues related to access and equity in the delivery of education (Sunder, 2009). This has been fostered by diverse poverty in the country and prejudice in the education system in the sense that private institutions that offer quality education are a reserve for the rich population. On the other hand, the United States education system has minimal cases associated with access to education and lack of equity during the delivery of education to the population.
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