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Higher education in Great Britain
The percentage of young people entering universities in Britain is lower than in the United States, where more than half attend. In Britain the proportion was one in three in 1996.
Nowadays the higher education in UK is not free. For a resident of the country the fee for a year of study is 2000 pounds, while for a foreign student this fee is much higher. A foreign student has to pay 16 thousand pounds a year.
So after finishing secondary school you can apply to a university. At the age of 16 students are tested in various subjects to earn a General Certificate of Secondary Education. If they wish to go on to higher education at a university, they take Advanced Level examinations, commonly known as “A” Levels. Good A-level results in at least 2 subjects are necessary to get a place at a university. However, good exam passes are not enough. Universities choose their students after interviews.
British universities are comparatively small, the approximate number of students studying there is about 7–8 thousand students. A university usually consists of colleges. The departments of the colleges are organized into faculties. The academic year in Britain’s universities is divided into 3 terms. In the university students have a series of lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory classes. Lectures are given to large groups of students while seminars are much smaller than lectures. Lectures and seminars are all one hour in length, laboratory classes last 2 or 3 hours. After three years of study a university graduate will leave with the Degree of Bachelor of Arts, Science, Engineering, Medicine, etc. Later he may continue to take Master’s Degree (I year of study) and then a Doctor’s Degree (from 2 to 5 years). It goes without saying that research is an important feature of university work.
Britain has more than 90 universities. The oldest and best–known universities are located in Oxford, Cambridge, London, Birmingham. English universities differ from each other in date of foundation, size, history, tradition, general organization, methods of instruction, way of student life.
The foremost universities are the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, both founded in the Middle Ages. Another type of university is the so-called redbrick variety – old and solid schools built in the 19th century when bricks were the standard building material. The large number of ultramodern universities that appeared in the last half of the 20th century are often called cement block and plate glass universities.
Students interested in advanced education can also attend polytechnics, which are schools dedicated to the sciences and applied technology. They offer the so-called sandwich courses (for people who work). An education act in 1992 changed the status of these colleges to universities.
Higher education can also be obtained through the Open University, founded in 1969, which offers extension courses taught through correspondence, television and radio programs, and videocassettes. It also sponsors local study centers and residential summer schools. The purpose of the Open University is to reach people who may not ordinarily be qualified for university study.
Did you know that
The University education in Britain was only for men until 1871, when the first women’s college was opened. Now almost all colleges are mixed.
Give the main idea of the text in one sentence
The main idea of the text is …..
The text is about …….
Answer the questions to the text
1. Is the education in the UK free?
2. Why do you think a foreign student has to pay much more money than a resident of the
3. What is the procedure of entering the university in the UK?
4. What is the approximate number of students studying in the UK colleges? Is it more or
less in comparison with Russian higher institutions?
5. What types of classes do the British students have?
6. How many years should an English student study to get a Master’s Degree?
7. What are the three types of universities in terms of date of foundation?
8. How do the methods of instruction in the Open University differ from the methods of
instruction in a traditional university?
9. What information in the text was new personally for you?
Exercise 1. Match the English phrases with their translation.
Fill in the correct word from the list below: approximate, a university, to give, summer, life, instruction, course, student, academic, applied.
1. sandwich _____
2. ________ year
3. methods of ______
4. ______ technology
5. ______ a lecture
6. student _____
7. to attend _____
8. a foreign _____
9. ______ number
10. ______ school
Insert the right prepositions. Consult the text
1. to apply ___ a university
2. to be dedicated ___
3. the lecture is one hour ___ length
4. to be tested ___
5. to consist ___ colleges
6. to get a place ___ a university
7. to leave the university ___ a degree
Give the English equivalents to the following Russian phrases
1. выпускник школы
2. традиция получения высшего образования
3. привилегия аристократии
4. плата за год обучения
5. аттестат о среднем образовании
6. консультации и лабораторные работы
7. без сомнения
8. отличаться друг от друга
9. степень бакалавра в области медицины
10. методы обучения
Try to complete the gaps using the factual information from the text
Higher education in Great Britain has a long history. First institutions of higher education appeared in _____. The most famous of them are ______ and ______ to which the term Oxbridge refer. For many centuries the tradition of getting higher education was the _____ of the ________.
Even nowadays higher education in Great Britain costs money, which means that it is not ____. To enter the university good ____ results in at least ___ ______ are necessary. Universities choose their students only after _______.
Tell about the system of Higher education of the UK to your friend who doesn’t know anything about it. You may use the answers to the following questions as a plan
1. What are the requirements to the applicant who wants to enter the university?
2. Is the higher education free in Great Britain?
3. Is the fee higher for a foreign student than for a resident of the country?
4. How many terms are there in the academic years in the UK?
5. What types of classes do the English students have?
6. What degrees are awarded in universities?
7. What kind of education do the polytechnics offer?
8. What is a sandwich course?
9. What is the purpose of the Open University?
Most English Universities have picturesque campuses with beautiful gardens decorated with modern sculptures, exotic trees, flowers and ducks swimming in ponds. Some universities have even special staff to take care about the gardens. But university campus doesn’t only comprise miles of well–organized nature but all the necessary facilities for the successful students’ study as well. Besides you should keep in mind that English universities compete for the students and they have to suggest the best conditions of study and high quality of education for the lowest cost.
You are a school leaver. Next year you want to enter a university. You want to leave your home and live in a university campus to have a new experience. You have heard from your friend that Exeter University is one of the beautiful and interesting places to get a degree. But you need some additional information about the university facilities and conditions of study. Your task is to ask all the necessary questions to make a decision on whether you will choose this university as a place to get a higher education or not.
Try not to forget to ask about:
1. Terms of admission
3. Methods of instruction
4. Libraries (information resources)
You are the Academic Officer of the university. You know the answers to all the questions about the university and students life. Your task is to provide information to the applicants and to make the university attractive for the applicant. Use the information given.
1. Terms of admission (General Certificate of Secondary Education + A–level results in at least two subjects + interview)
2. Fee (5, 000 pounds for a resident, 15, 000 pounds for a foreign student)
3. Methods of instruction (personal tutor, individual support and advice, choice of courses, a possibility to study for a year in Europe, lectures, tutorials, e-learning, Internet–based materials, interactive on-line Learning Environment which delivers 120 courses)
4. Libraries (1, 100, 000 volumes, over 3, 500 periodical subscriptions to journals, on–line access to 7, 000 journals, PC clusters available 24hours 7 days a week for Internet access and word-processing)
5. Accommodation (4000 thousand places, singles furnished with a bed, wardrobe, bookshelves, desk and chair. All rooms have a phone and high-speed network/internet link. The kitchens are modern and well-equipped).
Students’ life differs a lot from that you had at school. Some young people say they have become more serious and responsible for their study. What has changed in your character since you entered the university? Have you become more serious, more responsible, more independent or vice versa?
Model: I think I have become more independent from the opinions of my parents. At the university a student has more freedom and he has to take a lot of decisions. I like to take decisions myself.
Congratulating – Consoling
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