There is a common belief that one of the most important signs of envelopment in a country is the education system that it has. The system of education differs from country to country. However, people usually think that the education system around the world is quite similar everywhere with few differences. Also, in most of the countries people believe that their education system is the worst and it needs to change. In this report, we analyze the education system in high school and university, in 5 countries of Europe and in Brazil as well. For the Spanish version click here.

France

 «More information to be provided to students in high school about university and faculties, because I have many friends that the first year of their studies wanted to change and the next year again. Students in high school they don’t have a clear image in their minds of what university really is».

The system of high school and university in France is three years for the high school, two years for the university and three years after the master. The master is not obligate but most of the students choose to do it.

The day in high school lasts six hours, starts at 8:00 am until 10:00 that is the first 15 minutes break. The classes continue from 10:00 to 12:00 and then there is a two hour break for lunch. The last two or three hours are from 14:00 to 16:00 or 17:00. The grades of the students came from their work during all the year and not from final exams. It is important to have good grades in high school, because the entrance to university it depends to this. In addition, to enter the university students have to send letters with their CV to the university that they prefer, in order to be accepted.

Regarding to university, the final work of the students consists of 50% of work during all the semester, like group projects and 50% of examination in the end of the semester. The university does not provide to students books because their studies based in their notes in the lectures. The form of the lectures is the professor explaining the points of the subject. Practice program is including in institutes, but in universities there are not.

The public education in France is considered free for everyone. People that they accept financial help from the government they do not pay anything in the university, but for most of the people the academic year in university costs 500 euros. Finally, when a government in France change, does not necessarily means that the educational system has to change too. A French student, Flora in a question what she will like to change in the educational system of her country if she had the opportunity, answered: «More information to be provided to students in high school about university and faculties, because I have many friends that the first year of their studies wanted to change and the next year again. Students in high school they don’t have a clear image in their minds of what university really is».

 

Greece

«I think the problem about education that government needs to solve is the process that students follow to enter the university. It is a process quite stressful for the students and their families too».

The years of studies in Greece are three for high school, four for university and two for master. The day in high school starts at 8:00 and lasts at 14:00 o clock. One hour per subject and 5 minutes break between every hour. In the second year there are three directions that one student can choose, the theoretical, the mathematical and technological. Every direction leads the students to specific school options. For example, if in the second and the third year of high school you choose the theoretical direction the schools that you can choose to go to university are those for psychology, languages, philosophy, communication etc. Your entrance to university depends on points that you get from the final exams in the third year of high school.

On university the work that students have to do varies to the subject. There are subjects that you have to pass them with exam in the end of the semester and others that you have to do projects and presentations during the semester. Despite the economic crisis, the government still provides to students free books for each subject of the semester. The educational system both in high school and university in Greece is free, although in high school the majority of students attend extra courses in the afternoon for the school subjects, in order to be prepared for the final exams. The cost of the courses is really expensive, 400 euros per month for six subjects. The lasts years, several governments are still trying to change the educational system, in case not only the final exams of the third year to be considered but an overview of all the high school years. «I think the problem about education that government needs to solve is the process that students follow to enter the university. It is a process quite stressful for the students and their families too».

 

Portugal

«University needs to give to students more options about the classes that they want to attend. Also, it is necessary the university to be completely free for everyone and not students have to pay every month».

High school in Portugal is three years and for most of the faculties of university is also three years with two optional years of master.

One class in high school lasts one hour and half and after 15 minutes break. The hours and classes that you have to attend are varying from day to day. One day you can have classes from morning until the afternoon with lunch break and the next day maybe there are classes only in the morning or only in the afternoon. To pass the class, the grades of students during all the year are considered in an average with the results of their final exams. The process to enter to university is similar to France, students need to have good grades during high school because the 70% of their entrance to university depends on this and 30% to an exam that they have to do.

The work that they have to do in the university depends on the faculties and on the classes of the faculty. On the faculty of Fine Arts, for example, sometimes they have to do an exam in the end of the semester and sometimes they have to work during the semester. The classes are not just lectures, students participate in them and they have to work in the classes.

Education in high school is free but not also in the university. Students have to pay for the public university 103€ per month. There are many people that cannot afford paying this price. In these cases, government helps the families with low income with 200 or 300€ hundreds for the whole year, but still is not enough. For Leonor and Maria, who study Fine Arts in Madeira in Portugal, the current problem of education is that: «University needs to give to students more options about the classes that they want to attend. Also, it is necessary the university to be completely free for everyone and not students have to pay every month».

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Spain

«The university should devote more financial funds to improve the system in general and the government has to improve the system of grants, as it is very politicized»

In Iberian country, the 1978 Constitution stated in Article 27 that the access to higher education is free for everyone.

Secondary education in Spain begins at 8:30 am and lasts until 2:30 p.m. The secondary education covers age, about and by the month in which you were born, age 12 to 17, and consists of 4 compulsory years known as ESO (Compulsory Secondary Education). On the first stage in the secondary education structure, students can take two paths: first, continue to study two years in the so-called School, or opt for another two years of vocational education, better known as half module. Although pursue such studies is absolutely free, every student has to disburse the symbolic amount of 1.12 euros for student insurance.

Once the student has completed high school and intends to university studies, you have to make an entrance examination to college, changing the name by autonomous communities but known throughout Spain as the PAU (Test Access to University). This test consists of two parts, a general (with written exams of language and literature, English and history of Spain or philosophy) and other specific, where the student for up note, may also be examined in written other subjects taught in second year of high school as geography, biology, art history or classical languages.

University works totally different. The existing program in Spain flame Bologna, and under that name all the races have adopted the name of degree. The program also regulates the duration of university studies, which are 4 years in all grades except the more demanding ones such as medical studies.

Moreover, in the Spanish University each course consists of 10 subjects, divided into 5 for the first four months (September to December with exams in January) and another 5 for the second (February to May with exams in late May and early June) . Each course consists of two sessions, or two tests, once you’ve paid the first enrollment should not be approved in any of these two, you will have to pay a second registration, increasing the price to pay for tuition students next year.

Regarding to higher education, it is not free. Although the autonomous region to which the university belongs takes over the higher cost of these studies, the student must pay the known rates, a «tax» that each region sets. For example, a full year to enroll in first registration (10 subjects) in Journalism Degree offered by the University of Castilla-la Mancha costs 903.59 euros per student, I feel that the total cost of tuition is 5,832 euros. «The university should devote more financial funds to improve the system in general and the government has to improve the system of grants, as it is very politicized», said a student who studied at the University of Castilla-La Mancha.

 

Italy

«The university in Italy is not free. The tuition fees that students have to pay depends on their family income.»

As in the case of Spain, in the land of pizza and pasta similar studies begin at the age of 14, although that can vary by the month of birth. It lasts 5 years, 3 of which are common to all, then, once you graduate in those three years, you can choose between doing the technical school where the students are educated to perform once finished a job with more practical training. If you do not want to opt for this branch the student can go to Lyceum, where training is more theoretical with subjects such as philosophy, ancient languages ​​or mathematics. It may be in different ways and technical, psycho or classic. The school schedules often start as in Spain, at 8.30 am and usually the classes end about 13 pm, in Italy.

Once you have completed studies at the technical school, you can opt into employment. Conversely, when the Lyceum finished Maturità test needs to be done. It is an exam consisting of four parts: the first part of an examination of Italian language, after one written in relation to the subjects studied in the two years of Lyceum and the third test involves another written test where the questions were not included in the second part and the fourth is the oral test, where a text written by the student, teachers ask questions to see how students orally operate. Tests in Italy are decided by the teachers: be both oral and written. In addition, in order to pursue high Italian education you must pay a small contribution that is between 100 and 200 euros.

To enter university, a test is made according to the University and the faculties and places that there are offered. The higher education system in Italy varies from university to university. For the most of faculties, university provides the possibility of taking the ‘Laurea Triennale’ program, that is three years of studying, and then the university can offer two more years of master. There are also schools like ‘Vecchio stampo’ for studies like medicine and law offering a ‘laurea magistrale’ program which is 5 years obligatory.

The university in Italy is not free. The tuition fees that students have to pay depends on their family income. There are different groups like those for the poor, the middle class and those with more profit. You can go from 1,000 euros the whole course if you are in the middle group or for 2,000 if you are in the highest. In case that no income is appeared, you pay minimal taxes or you don’t pay anything. Regarding to exams, are usually oral tests unless the teacher chooses otherwise.

The academic year is divided between late September and late December, with January and part of February the month for conducting the tests. To examine a subject there are up to 7 different days to present, three in January-February, three in June-July and one in September.

A student of this country said that she prefer not to tell her opinion about the Italian education, but thinks «that the crisis has caused number of teachers and cutting funds for education, which does not allow to schools to have an excellent performance. «

 

Brazil

«Many people that they want to study they cannot because of the limited numbers of schools and the inability to go to private schools that they are expensive. Some public high schools offer to the students, food that their family cannot afford to provide them.»

High school in Brazil is three years. The classes start at 7:00 am and last until midday with 15 minutes break between. The problem with high school in Brazil and especially in Sao Paolo is that there are not many schools in the city, so the classes in the schools that exist consists of between 30 and 40 students. Many people that they want to study they cannot because of the limited numbers of schools and the inability to go to private schools that they are expensive. Some public high schools offer to the students, food that their family cannot afford to provide them. The entrance to university, comes from the “Vestibular” test that every university provides to the student that wants to follow the program of their faculties.

The university education is for most of the faculties four, but five for medicine and architecture ones. The exams in the university depends of the subject, sometimes are in the end of the semester and sometimes you have to work during the semester. In the most of the classes you have to participate in them and change ideas, interact with other students and doing presentations.

It is necessary government to establish more public schools in Sao Paolo, in order to be more classes and with less students on each. Raquel from Brazil told that: «I really wish to have more free time because we have work in the morning and classes in the afternoon and not enough time then to do things that we want».

Feature and differences

In conclusion, the education system in the countries that are referring to this report are different with only few things in common. The system of high school is almost the same in every country, with differences in the hours that the students have to attend their classes. The most of the differences are in the way that the students enter to university, if the university is free or no and the general problems that they have to solve. For example, in France, Portugal, Spain and Italy the university is not completely free but you have to pay once in year or once in a month. Instead, in Greece and Brazil it is free. In all countries, students have to do a test to enter the university except France and Portugal that the grades from high school are considered too. The examinations both in high school and universities are similar to every country with few differences. Every country has their problems in the education system and everyone understands that the governments have to find the best solutions for such an important part of society like education is.

Differences between the six systems
France Greece Portugal Spain Italy Brazil
The university doesn’t have a practice program Access to university is demanding for the students Students must pay a certain amount per month to attend the university The college tuition goes up if you do not pass a subject the same year that you attend it Depending on the faculty that you want to study you should have an entrance exam to college or not The overcrowded classrooms of students, don’t allow the entrance of other people to education
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