The Development of Different British Education Systems

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Britain has a long history and rich culture, in this context, the UK has been very focused on education, and education as a cultural heritage, impact on society, to promote economic industry. Britain's world-class education level, has a good reputation, but also attracted many overseas students. (Johnes, 2004) The development of education not only help the UK to get a good international reputation, cultivate a large number of high-tech talent, but also has gained huge profits in the education industry for the United Kingdom. This article has an overview of the British education system detailed, as well as several different education systems in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Then, this paper will examine the British educational impact on society, especially on social economic, in order to figure out the importance and meaning of developing education for a country.

2.0 Introduction

The quality of people determines the quality of the nation, which influences the national development and social progress. Thus, to improve the overall quality of people should be vigorously develop education, and education is the urgent need for a nation's industrialization and modernization, and is a necessary requirement to improve the modern national education system, but also an important way to promote social employment.

There is a long history in different British education system. People think education investment is the best way to improve the economic achievements. (Moore, 2004). In the fifth and sixth centuries, the first school was built by the church which had enough power (Oakland, 2006). In England and Wales, the first time to establish a unified national elementary school system was in 1870, in 1872 for Scotland and in 1923 for Northern Ireland. The Labour government established a nationwide school in 1976. (Oakland, 2006) Britain had a haphazard school structure in the nineteenth century. (Oakland.2006) When the British education system began to perfection, the British economy also began to stronger at the same time.

This report will overview the development of the different education systems in UK and it will analyze its good effects focusing on the economy, because the success of the education system will benefit the economy of the country.

3.0 The development of different education system in UK since 1940s

3.1 Introduction of the education system in UK

Britain is a country with a long tradition of education. Its education system is quite perfect and complex after several years' evolution, and has a very large flexibility. The intention of the 1944 prepares to establish elementary and middle school education. There is a party-political battlefield in education in 1950s. "Labour governments from 1964 were committed to abolishing the eleven-plus, selection and the secondary school divisions." The Labour government prepares to establish comprehensive national schools in 1976. (Oakland, 2006)

Overall, it is in three stages: Compulsory Education, further education and Higher Education. Students in British receive compulsory education from the age of four, all free to enjoy the national welfare, schools even offer a free lunch, and all parents must put their children to school. General primary education usually lasts until the age of 11, and then the kids will go to middle school, which lasts for a total of five years: from Form 1 to Form 5. (Education Act of the UK, 1996)

Further education is the most distinctive and most exciting part in the UK education system; it is the "tertiary education" after the primary School and Secondary Education, which provides basis for entry into higher education or employment. Students receiving continuing education are between 16 and 18 years old in general. It is divided into two systems: academic route and vocational route. Academic route focuses on academic research talent, and vocational rout is a combination of professional needs at all levels of society, to develop personnel with specialized skills and knowledge in a variety of industries. The two systems are equal emphasis in the UK.

Higher education is an advanced stage in the British education system, which includes Bachelor Degree, Master Degree, Doctoral Degree and HND-Higher National Diploma. Higher education is usually provided by University, but many Colleges also offer Bachelor and HND courses. Undergraduate academic degree generally takes three years in the UK, but some special expertise in some universities requires four years' time or longer, such as medicine. Students get bachelor degree after graduating undergraduate, there are many kinds of bachelor in England, and the following are common types: BA-Bachelor of Art, BSc-Bachelor of Science, BEng-Bachelor of Engineering, and LLB--Bachelor of Laws. UK postgraduate courses only take one year, and students mainly write papers and do research in this year.

3.2 The different education systems in UK

United Kingdom has four regions: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The four regional education structures and institutions is basically the same type, but the Scottish education system is quite different with the other regions in some respects, the main difference is the different degree qualifications. In fact, there are three independent British legal education systems:

The United Kingdom Ministry of education and teaching is responsible for all levels of education in England, continuing education in Wales and university education throughout the whole Great Britain. In England, there are three kinds of school which are community, foundation and voluntary. (Great Britain. Dept. of Education and Science. 1978) The Wales Ministry of education is responsible for primary education by the Welsh Secretary of State Education Office Management through the Welsh. In Wales, the education system is similar as England, but the different is children in 11 years old in secondary schools, there are not selection. (Great Britain. Dept. of Education and Science. 1978) Northern Ireland Department of Education in charge of primary education, continuing education and university education in the region. In Northern Ireland, the education system is the smallest than other three countries. (Great Britain. Dept. of Education and Science. 1978) The Ministry of Education in Scotland is responsible for primary education, continuing education and non-university higher education. In Scotland, GTC (General Teaching Council) are better than any other three countries. (Great Britain. Dept. of Education and Science. 1978)

England, Wales and Northern Ireland's education system is somewhat different from the education system in Scotland. For example, in the aspect of secondary education, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the school focused on strengthening a number of optional courses, while the Scottish education are often more focused on broadening the range of subjects.

4.0 The current effects of education on society

Social impact of education is multifaceted, in the aspect of cultural, it is the record of a country's history, the social customs and moral concepts and values are transmitted to students by education, and play a guiding role in their growth process. Under the influence of public education, people have similar cultural backgrounds and world views, this cultural heritage and then will help the country's management and development. Besides the function in education, culture and communication, the economic impact of education is very significant. To improve education is the most direct way to help economy growth and more public expenditure on education has great effete on development of society (West, 1970).

First, People expend the various fees for the education and society investment of the direct expenditure in education, in order to promote the economic growth. (Porter, 1990) In modern society, people have recognized that knowledge is one of the best means to change the fate and the creation of wealth, so that each family is willing to invest in their children's education. Education was identified as an investment, rather than an individual consumption in 1960. (Moore, 2004) Expenditure of large sums of funding for education has promoted education as an industry, except gaining the prosperity in the profits, the education sector has more money invested in the construction of schools and teachers, making education have more rapidly development.

Second, education provides the labour forces with knowledge for economic to improve labour productivity and promote the economic growth. Britain's urbanization, (Peters, 2001) industrialization and modernization have entered into a more mature stage, economic development is no longer rely on a lot of labor, but pay attention to the knowledge and skills of workers. (Stern, Bailey & Merritt, 1996) Only with the advanced technologies and concepts, with scientific management, with the spirit of innovation, they can make the development of society more efficient and high-speed. Education is one of the most critical factors, which gives people a variety of knowledge, enabling them to improve efficiency at work and create interest. In this way, education changes the employment structure to promote the economic growth. Nowadays, to a large extent, economic competition between countries has become a talent competition, and education is to provide them with a different starting line.

Third, education improves the progress of science and technology to promote the economic growth. By imparting technical knowledge, education system trains people with scientific production skills, there are plans to gradually develop the potential of people in the occupation, which required so that the individual access to vocational knowledge, skills and self-learning ability, in order to promote individuals in professional positions improve labor productivity. (Coffield, 1995) In that way, people can improve the use of new technologies, new processes, new equipment capacity, resulting in increased technological innovation and production innovation. What's more is that the education is an effective way to form a kind of system to reduce the information transfer cost. That's why Michael says (1999) that "education promotes the development of the society and the economy".

Today, the knowledge economy has brought great challenges to our society, in various fields where take the human capital and technological innovation as competitive premise, education as the main body of personnel training and the main carrier of the knowledge production and dissemination, will become cornerstone of the development in various industries. (Binsardi & Ekwulugo, 2003)

Since the 1980th, all the countries have carried out reform of higher education, most important of which is to be market-oriented, and take the higher education as an industry to operate. The British has carried out educational market and educational privatization. (Teddlie & Reynolds, 2000) The development of private higher education industry is the most important measure in all countries, which financing for the development of private higher education in a lot of money from the public, reducing the country's financial burden; largely adhere to the school of academic freedom and autonomy, promoting the healthy development of science and culture; produced and developed group of domestic and international first-class universities; guarantee from a small number of stages of higher education to the popular stage and even the popular success of the transition phase; for the economy, especially for personnel transport a large number of SMEs; to better meet people's higher educational needs of a variety of services and so on. This series of results are the positive impact of current British education system on society, particularly the social economy. (Ursula, Richard & Iain 2002)

5.0 Conclusion

British have a good academic reputation in the world, trusted and widely recognized as a world-class level. The British education system is known as complex but the world's most rigorous and flexible education systems. It has many outstanding features: first, it is career-oriented, British universities are fully aware of the purpose of higher education is to send students in employment, the course of study firmly grasp the needs of the job market. British teaching methods focus on asking students to do many coursework and presentation. Assignment are more practical issue-oriented, which need hands-on, team collaboration and imagination, you can give full play to the creative power of students, this sense of innovation will be change to innovation ability which can promote social economic in the future work of students. And the education in the UK is always followed by the trend of the times, the teacher always choose the latest, most promising content to teach, which is easy to train people with the latest scientific theories.

With all these advantages, it's easy to understand why the education in the UK has so much impact on the society, especially supporting the development of the economy. Just as what Halsey (2003) stated that, "Throughout the 20th century, the relationship between education and the economy has constantly assumed ever greater significance." Through a rigorous education, the British have been influenced by knowledge and cultivated the ability to work and innovation. When they leave the campus and go to work, the power of talent makes the UK market is full of economic vitality and creativity. Powerful countries and economic prosperity relies on talents trained from education. (1950 words)

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