Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №4/2004



Comparing education

Debates about education will never end. Some people consider our educational system to be close to perfect; others say that it is too hard and that it is unnecessary to study all the school subjects. Comparisons of the American and Russian educational systems are usual, as they represent different kinds of philosophies.

In Russian schools children have to study about 15–17 subjects – not more and not less, as they are required. Very rarely do schools have in the schedule special or professional subjects. In the United States, drama, journalism and photography are as important as chemistry and history. In our schools the curriculum is strict. In the USA you can choose what to study; but government, history, English and math are obligatory. There are also a number of subjects, like geography, Spanish, chemistry, physics, trigonometry, biology and computer classes, that you have to take during a year or a half-a-year during your high school years. You can also take one of these subjects at an advanced level. A program of chemistry at the advanced level of a graduate class is common with our 9th grade program. In Russia we can’t study management or TV-production at school.

Such democracy in choosing subjects according to your own preferences makes school life easier and calmer. American students don’t usually have much homework – half an hour of homework is too much for them. On the other hand, they have holidays only twice a year, and their summer vacations are only two and a half months long, while our children don’t study in the summer at all. Americans study at school for 12 years, while we study only 11.

The average level of education in America is lower than in Russia, but at school they have the opportunity to study advanced subjects that they would take at a university. So it is very hard to say which is the best way of studying. Is it better to have students choose their own subjects and make studying pleasant, or create a non-flexible schedule for a more effective educational process? This is a problem for the new generation to solve.

By Kirill Kutyrev