Education around the world

Nov 2010
1,254
Bordeaux
#14
Belgium's system is not mentioned, but it's quite like that of France.
We start at 8, finish at 5 or 6 in some cases, but weeks days aren't necessarily full. Some days we finish at 3 or 4, or start at 9, etc depending on the timetable.
Until recently, no subject was dropped until the end of secondary school, you only chose a speciality, Humanities, Science, Economics and the core subjects of each speciality woud take up most of the school hours.
I did Humanities, in the early 1990s, and my core subjects were French, English, Spanish, History, Geography, Philosophy, Latin, but we still had some Maths, Biology, Physics and P.E. only less hours than for the other subjects. In all I had 11 subjects for my French "A-levels", plus music I took as an option.

Now it seems to have changed a little, but i haven't followed it up, so I'm not sure what. I think students in Science section now can drop History and Philosohy.
 

athena

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,959
Eugene, Oregon
#16
I teach at a public elementary school in South Korea, and the information about South Korea is not precisely correct.

1) Winter vacation starts at the end of December, and finishes in early February. The students then have two weeks of classes before the graduation ceremony, at which time spring vacation begins and lasts until March.

2) The actual school day ends at 3 o'clock, not 4 o'clock, though it's correct that many students do stay for after school classes.

3) Although government-mandated instruction in English begins in third grade, many students receive English instruction at their public schools from first grade or even kindergarten.

4) While the website is correct that classes did occur every other Saturday, starting this school year that policy is finished.

5) Class sizes vary wildly based on the location of the school. 30 might be some sort of nation-wide average, but that's only because the most sought-after schools will often have classes up to 40, while many schools have class sizes in the lower teens or even the single digits! My wife works at another public school, and she has had taught classes in which they are only two students. At one school I know of, an entire grade level actually had zero students.

It's also worth noting the exact, ridiculous scope of Korean student's after school private education. Many students attend private classes until 10 o'clock at night, and the only reason they stop then is because classes running past midnight were so common and problematic that the Korean government legislated a cut off time. Some private schools still try to skirt this mandate.

My goodness, it is so nice to have a teacher reporting from South Korea. Any teachers at all, are extremely appreciated. One of the best things about Asia is the respect for teachers.

Children being schooled late into the night is shocking? How does this fit any kind of family value? I am sure it does. I assume this would fit in with family honor? Or is it like say, Los Vegas, where so many parents work nights, it is practical to have night schools for these families.

Does South Korea have a problem with suicide? (whoops, you already answered my question. How sad) An Asian woman has a garden plot near mine and although she is highly educated she is staying home to be a mother, and the pressure on her son seems intense. He has all kinds of special schooling, and it seems very little time to just be a boy. It seems Asian people are very driven. Do you have anything to say about this?
 
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athena

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,959
Eugene, Oregon
#17
I've seen this sort of thing in Hong Kong as well, depending on the students' socioeconomic background. In some cases it results in very sophisticated pupils, but many kids are just burned out and end up detesting education. One of the aspects to note here is that some private classes are open and interesting, but many simply drill and teach students how to pass tests. I would imagine the same applies to Korea?
I remember burn out at the end of every school year, and in college. This leads me to believe we should break up education with regular breaks, but avoid long summer vacations where boredom sets in, and too much is forgotten. We aren't working the children in the fields anymore, so I think our long summer breaks do more harm than good.

I loved the contrast from college head work to physical activity when I was a janitor. Because I continue to use learning tapes of college lectures, I am starting to wonder if I am burning out again. There is a thin line between being interested and burnt out. I think we must take care to avoid burn out and boredom.

Hum, is there consideration of being in the body and in nature? I hadn't thought of this originally. Too much head activity seems to disengage us from the physical experience of life, and this might not be a good thing? I am intensely thankful for my walks alone the river that engage me with nature and being in my body.
 

athena

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,959
Eugene, Oregon
#18
The Asian obsession with education has become very unhealthy. The ridiculous hours and overly structured learning environment no doubt produces excellent drones to take their place in the corporate empire, but fails to produce healthy, well balanced human beings.
This is what I feared. What might this lead to?
 

athena

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,959
Eugene, Oregon
#19
The information about Chinese schools made me laugh. Class sizes approaching 70 are very common. The children get a 20 minute break for lunch and their normal school day runs from 7 in the morning until 9 at night.

There are few computers available to them and they are strongly encouraged not to, or should I say forbidden, to use the computer when they are at home. When a Chinese student sees an unattended computer they are drawn to it like flies to honey.

The teacher controls their entire life and even how their parents raise them. There are no outside activities that encourage anything other than rote learning. The entire system is a preposterous example of how to teach and learn.
Wow! am I glad I asked this question. No way can American students compete on the global market with our laize fair education, and promotion of self absorption. Yet it appears to get ahead in the US, student need to be focused on their education and the need to compete for a living. Surely having a larger work force than what is needed plays into this.

We are acting like education is assures upward economic mobility as it once did, and this is no longer true. It now takes a graduate degree for entry level jobs, than used to require only bachelor's degrees or related experience.

I think we need to seriously think about our values, family and education.
 

athena

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,959
Eugene, Oregon
#20
Children in the UK attend school for about six and a half to seven hours a day in state schools (in private schools the day tends to be longer).

Primary schools teach literacy, maths, science (known as the core subjects), and history, geography, religious education, art, music, and p.e.

At secondary schools they have to take English, maths and science which are compulsory, after the first three years they choose their GCSE subjects, and are allowed to drop some of the other subjects. I think they have to take at least six GCSEs, some take more. At 16, when they've done their GCSEs, they can leave school.

It used to be quite common when I was young for people to leave school at sixteen and get a job, but nowadays most stay on untio 18 and do A levels, which you need if you want to go to university, which increasing numbers do. Some don't do A levels but instead do vocational courses like plumbing, electrician, hairdressing, cooking etc.
Leave school at age 16? I think given our nature that sounds good, but what kind of work can these young people expect? We have a Job Core where young people can live and work and pick up some more education. This seems the most reasonable to me. I don't think it is natural for young people to remain as children in their parent's home, beyond the age of 16, but education and economics makes this necessary. However, Job Core youth are unlikely to become higher education students, or to realize high wage employment, so what is the value of their lives?

Thessalonian, I never heard of such a short day.

Frog33inUK, the schedule changes? It is hard to image how people live with that. Dropping history is not a good idea! I strongly believe to have a good perspective on life, we need history. However, with us becoming one world, who should decide what history should be taught? Oh, oh another thread.
 

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