US Education vs European Education
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Analyzing from the world university rankings compiled by the time’s organization, almost half of the best universities in the world are located in the US and Europe. This is mostly due to the fact that they have a high regard for education, have access to the best research facilities and have rich intellectual culture. The aim of this paper is to analyze the education systems in the two regions, demonstrate major differences and identify areas that the US can do better so as to achieve similar or better results compared to Europe.
In Europe the system of education is set out as follows; as of the year 2007/08, approximately over 55% of the population aged between 0-29 were in school spreading from preparatory to postgraduate, adult school and in special needs. The official teaching language is English although welsh and Irish languages are also selectively applied. Public sponsored schools are common and they account for close to 90% of the schooling population, the rest are private schools and some in special needs schools. The department of children, schools, and families in England manages the education sector. At lower levels, they are managed by local authorities and down to the school management level.
The stages of learning in Europe include; the pre-primary education which is full time or part-time education suitable for children. Suitable for children of ages 2-4. Those below that are referred to private and voluntary care centers. After this level, there is the compulsory education level that consists of primary and secondary education. This stage has the age bracket of 4/5-16 years. No charges are to be made for admitting children to publicly funded schools. The length of school day /week and year vary according to age. Class size and grouping is also very important and there are limits within each country according to existing regulations. Teaching, however, occurs in a mixed ability classroom composition.
After this level, there is the Post-compulsory education comprised of upper secondary and post-secondary level. Students range from 16-18 and above. The study levels include secondary, college level and other tertiary institutions. After this level their higher learning. This is the top level learning centers. They are diverse and range widely from mission, history, and diversity. These institutions are autonomous and determine their own admission criteria upon the meeting of some minimum qualifications.
The United States curriculum, on the other hand, is set up as follows; the private, public and home schools provide education. As of the year 2013, about 87% of the school going population attended state-funded institutions. 10% in private and a 3% in approved homeschooling centers. Education is compulsory by the state over an age of 5 years to roughly around sixteen or eighteen years. Learning during this period is divided into three comprising of elementary, middle junior high and high school. Private schools are generally at liberty to develop their own curriculum style and staffing requirements.
There are also a large variety of private and public institutions of higher learning divided into college (first degree) and graduate school. The US is ranked best in the expenditure per student in the world. Despite this, students of the US score poorly in the programmed for international students’ assessment as compared to other countries. Some of the differences between the US and Europe education systems include the following; homework and grading, the US curriculum is broader thus requires weekly or inter-weekly studying, assignments and projects, on the other hand, Europe curriculum emphasizes more on lectures accompanied by the occasional issuance of assignments across the semester period. Sometimes no assignments are given and the entire grade depends on one exam at the end of the year. The US system, however, combines the performance of assignments and projects issued combined with the final exam to grade students.
The other major difference is the length of time. The time is taken to complete a bachelor’s degree usually is one year less in Europe than in the US with the exception of Scotland where it takes four years. One can move directly from an undergraduate degree to a Ph.D. most universities in Europe. The US students take much longer and have to go through a master’s degree. The reason as to why it takes a shorter time in Europe is because the course programs are generally more focused than those of the US.
The Cost of education is a major difference between the US and Europe. In both countries, the tuition fees are very expensive. However, the fees for EUROPE students is lower compared to that paid by students of the United States. Fees in Europe could go up to about 9000 pounds while in the US they could go up to 50,000 US Dollars. The universities control fees in the United States and the state has little influence on the matter.
Accommodation services are also a difference between the two countries. Both offer students with halls of residence and almost similar services although it is common to have a room to yourself in Europe and very likely to share a room in the United States. Dormitories in Europe are commonly self-catered while the US provides full dining options for its students. Other additional services are available for European students such as maid service that is not provided for in the US.
Sex Education demonstration is provided for within the curriculum in Europe. However, the United States curriculum is not as elaborate. Students are taught how to go about their sexuality in appropriate detail and are equipped with sufficient skills to handle eventualities. Use of protection is highly encouraged to reduce the spread of STIs and unwanted pregnancies. Lack of emphasis on the part of the US is blamed for the rising teenage pregnancies. This education involves sexual exposure, navigation of relationships and communication. In some countries, the sex education starts as early as 8 years old.
Some of the things that the US can do to better their education situation in relation to the standards of Europe include the following: Subsidizing tuition costs such that they can become more affordable to most students. Cheap tuition fees will enable the students from low-income family units to access higher learning and thereby improve their livelihood. The state can intervene and subsidize costs for students across all disciplines. Increasing the amount offered as loans towards supporting higher learning can also improve the situation and made higher learning more accessible.
Streamlining of courses to be more focused on the field being pursued. By doing this, the time taken by students in institutions of higher learning will be greatly reduced. This will, in turn, reduce the costs of partaking courses at higher learning institutions; accelerate graduation and consequently job placement of the youth. Reduced time will also motivate students to stay until the end of the programs.
Better remuneration for teachers to motivate them to deliver to their students. Teachers in the US work long hours with relatively lower pay. A teacher in the United States makes an average of about 41,000 US Dollars per year as compared to those of Finland that make an equivalent of 43,000 US Dollars per year. Better pay will generally increase the teachers’ attitude towards work and this will result in better grades on average for the students.
Revision of academic terms especially for schools that don’t have a trimester system of learning. The American system tends to have very long breaks. research has shown that when students take too long outside the learning system, they tend to forget some of the things they had learned earlier before they went for the break. Partially this may be the reason as to why American students perform poorly in global rankings.
In conclusion, while both countries offer quality education to their citizens, it is important to note that the approaches used to achieve this delivery are different for the two countries. There are numerous positive yields that arise from these approaches as well as shortcomings. Of the two, however, Europe comes out top in terms of time taken, cost of tuition and accommodation. Therefore, if you are thinking of going for higher education in either of the two, you can consider the differences mentioned above and make a wise selection.