Idée de progrès / Idea of progress : University system in the United Kingdom - Anglais - Terminale STMG

Idée de progrès / Idea of progress : University system in the United Kingdom - Anglais - Terminale STMG

digiSchool Bac STMG vous propose un cours d'Anglais, rédigé par notre professeur, sur la notion "Idée de progrès" (Idea of progress), et s'intéresse ici au système éducatif au Royaume-Uni.

Le système éducatif au Royaume-Uni est très différent du système français. Vous verrez donc comment s’organise le cycle du secondaire (GCSE, A-Levels) ainsi que les études supérieures avec l’exemple de célèbres universités d'Oxford et Cambridge et leurs coutumes très particulières (conditions d’admission, vie étudiante, clubs et associations...).

Téléchargez gratuitement ci-dessous ce cours d'Anglais sur la notion "Idée de progrès".

Idée de progrès / Idea of progress : University system in the United Kingdom - Anglais - Terminale STMG

Le contenu du document

 

 

Introduction

The educational system in the United Kingdom is very different from the system in France. Universities are often big structures, very independent from the state, and all appeal to different students, with different objectives and visions. Studying in the UK and taking part in student life represents a major step, and university studies are always greatly valued in someone's CV.

Unlike France, where the fees are rather minimal for most academic courses, the United Kingdom is known for its high fees of thousands of pounds per year. With such a high price, universities have to offer a vast selection of quality services, with various courses, good infrastructures, a developed student life and a student union, putting forward a strong sense of community.

Student life is a big step, both in education and in life, and we are going to see how universities in the UK function and how they shape the students' lives and their education.

 

A Short Presentation (in French)

L'université et la vie étudiante semblent avoir une place plus importante au Royaume-Uni qu'en France. Les universités britanniques, dont un grand nombre ont une grande réputation au niveau international, sont de très grosses « machines » qui attirent les étudiants à la fois pour leur cadre académique, mais aussi pour la vie étudiante, une étape prisée après les études secondaires et avant l'entrée dans la vie/l'âge adulte.

Certaines universités anglaises, comme Oxford et Cambridge, sont connues dans le monde entier comme des établissements prestigieux, très prisés et offrant des compétences et diplômes très valorisés. Un étudiant venant d'Oxford se verra ouvrir plus de portes qu'un étudiant d'une plus petite université dans le pays. Dans leur ensemble, toutes les universités du Royaume-Uni offrent des cursus de qualité et une vie étudiante avec de nombreux clubs, sports et événements divers sur les campus. Les Students’ Unions, associations étudiantes, ont leurs propres élections, des réunions, des sponsors, et sont chargées d'animer la vie étudiante de chaque université et défendre les droits des étudiants.

Avec des services aussi variés et un fonctionnement complexe, à grande échelle, les universités britanniques ont un coût conséquent. Frais de scolarité, loyer (de nombreux étudiants quittent leur domicile familial pour étudier dans une université loin de chez eux, et ont recours à des logements universitaires), coûts liés à la vie étudiante... être étudiant au Royaume-Uni est un investissement. C'est pourquoi des prêts sont mis en place et des systèmes de remboursement différés sont mis en place par le gouvernement pour permettre au plus grand nombre d'étudier. Malgré tout, beaucoup de jeunes diplômés de l'enseignement secondaire décident de ne pas poursuivre leurs études à l'université, que ce soit pour des raisons financières que par choix personnel. L'université est vue comme un cadre très académique, où l'apprentissage intellectuel est plus valorisé que l'apprentissage technique que l'on peut acquérir en formation professionnelle spécialisée. Il n'est ainsi pas rare de croiser des professionnels en milieu de carrière qui ne sont jamais allés à l'université.

Malgré tout, l'université reste une expérience unique et valorisée, qui se prépare dès l'enseignement secondaire : en Angleterre, les élèves sont amenés à se spécialiser assez tôt, pour leurs premiers examens. Ainsi, pour mieux illustrer le fonctionnement universitaire, il faut également comprendre le système éducatif britannique dans son ensemble.

 

Before university: a quick overview of secondary education

In the UK, it is possible to decide the subjects you want to study for the first exams in secondary school (equivalent to the collège in France.) After primary school, which goes until 11 years old, there are national tests in maths and reading to assess the pupils' most important skills. Then, they go on to secondary school, the first stage going from Year 7 (equivalent to the 6ème in France) to Year 11 (equivalent to the 3ème). In Year 11, students all have their first national exams, the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education). Thus, if in France pupils have four years of secondary school before having the exams for the Brevet, pupils in the UK have five years.

For their GCSEs, they have to choose their subjects. There are three compulsory subjects : English, maths and science (but they can take double or triple science if they want to focus on that subject). For the rest, pupils can choose their optional GCSE between a great variety of subjects, depending on the school. It can be as diverse as drama, dance, computer science, modern languages, history or geography (which are, unlike the Brevet, optional for the GCSE), Art, physical education, etc. The government is in control of these exams, as it is a national degree. This year, they have actually made some reforms to change the format of the exam and the grading system: if this year, GCSEs are still graded using letters (A* and A being the best and G being the worst, and U being used for « ungraded », meaning that the student has not passed the exam), next year grades will be marked using numbers (9 being the best and 1 the lowest grade).

Idea of progress : University system in the UK - Bac Anglais

After their GCSEs, the students can choose to go on with secondary school by taking their A-levels, which is the equivalent to the Baccalauréat. If they take their A-levels (short for Advanced Level), they go to Sixth Form, which is the last two years (Year 12 and Year 13) of secondary school. There is no high school as such in the UK. They can also study for their A-levels in college.

Students decide to take A-levels when they do their GCSEs, and they need at least five GCSEs, in grades from A* to C, to be able to pass A-levels afterwards. Just like the GCSEs, the students choose their A-levels. It can be a continuation of the subjects they have studied for the GCSEs, or it can be totally new subjects.

A-levels are necessary for the students who want to go to university. They develop their academic learning and skills, which is important if they want to carry on studying to get a higher education degree. However, not all students decide to study for A-levels. The only compulsory exam is the GCSE. After secondary school, some students decide to go for practical courses, apprenticeships, which give them professional skills and prepare them directly for a job. A-levels and university are chosen by students who enjoy academic studies and would like to carry on and get university qualifications.

Once they pass their A-levels and have obtained satisfactory grades, and if their applications to university and their interviews have been successful, students are admitted to higher education and start their university years.

 

How do universities work ?

When they arrive at university, students start with undergraduate studies. It is the equivalent of the French licence. Most students go for a Bachelor's degree, which is obtained after three years of studies. All universities offer a large variety of Bachelors (abbreviated BA), and students, when they apply, pick the universities that they think would be the best for the subject they want to study.

At the end of the BA, students are awarded an Honours Degree, the diploma of their three years of undergraduate studies. As in France, they can have honours (which is like a mention) if their grades are satisfactory enough. The honours are, from the higher to the lower: 1st (equivalent to a mention très bien), upper 2nd , lower 2nd, and 3rd class honours. You can also have a degree without honours. However, honours are quite important to carry on studies at postgraduate level: to apply for a master's degree or higher qualification after the Bachelor, universities often ask for at least a upper 2nd honours to be admitted.

The postgraduate level of studies at university comprises the Master's degree and the Doctorate. After a Bachelors, students who want or need to study more to have better qualifications go on to a Master's degree. They generally take two years, just like in France, but some programmes can only take one year. Usually, students choose a Master's degree that follows what they have been studying as undergraduates. Most of the time, students who go to university get a Bachelor and a Master's degree, don't undertake a Doctorate. Those who go on to Doctorate studies, who are called PhD students (abbreviated form of a Latin construction meaning Doctor of Philosophy), do research in a particular field of study and have to write a thesis about their research and theories about their subject. Just as in France, Doctorates are an advanced level of studies and are taken by students who want to dedicate themselves to their subjects or want to attain high qualifications and professional positions.

 

The costs :

Going to university in the United Kingdom is really expensive. Home students (students who come from the UK pay, in 2016-20107, £9.250 per year for most courses. Students from the European Union pay the same fees as home students, while overseas students (students from countries outside of the EU) can pay as much as £15.000 per year, or even more for specialist courses like medicine or dentistry.

The government has put in place a system of loan. The students’ fees are paid by the government itself, ahead of the start of the year, and the students pay the money back when they have a job and reach a certain wage (they don’t have to pay until they can afford it.) Some students also take a loan from banks to face the costs of their higher education. Money matters can be one of the reasons why some students, from less favourable backgrounds, don’t go to university and choose to get into the professional world straight after secondary school.

 

Choosing a university (courses, reputation, services)

There are more than a hundred universities and colleges in the United Kingdom, each offering a great variety of courses. Future students have to apply online, through an application platform called UCAS (just like students in France apply through the APB website.) On UCAS, they can choose three universities to apply to. In some universities and for some selective programmes, students can be asked to go for an interview. Thus, applying to universities is often an important and long process, as students may have to travel to the university of their choice to go to the interview.

A lot of students move away from their home to go to university, and geographical situation isn’t considered as big a problem as it can be in other countries where students go to university but stay living with their parents. In the UK, if students really want to go to a particular university, they will move in new cities, often in student accommodation. Most universities have a good choice of accommodation to house the students who come from other places in England.

When choosing a university, an important step is to look up information about the quality of the university. There are several aspects to take into account: the quality of the teaching, the facilities and buildings (the library, the campus, the computer or sports equipment), the quality of student life (clubs and groups, events, campus life, etc.) Some universities are more famed for some of their courses. For example, the University of Warwick is graded as a very good university for business and management studies.

 

In UK universities, you can study some specific subjects that you generally split into different schools or structures in France (écoles de commerce, classes prépa, écoles vétérinaires, écoles de journalisme). In the UK, you can study business, zoology or journalism at university. Thus, university is the most popular choice for students who want to continue their academic career before getting into the world of professional work.

 

Life on campus

In the UK, universities have campuses where the life of the students in centralised. Depending on the size of the university, there can be several campuses (generally a big one and one or two smaller ones). Around the campus, you can find the buildings of the university, the library, sometimes a few shops and cafés. You can also find the Student’s Union there, where events are organised. For example, at the University of Reading, the campus has an area that is used as a nightclub, there are also two bars where quizzes or karaoke evenings take place very often.

The Students’ Union, the members of which are themselves students of the university and are elected each year by all the students who want to participate in the vote, is a group that organises events at the university and suggests projects to the university managers. Thus, university is not only a place to study, it is also a place to socialise, do sports for fun, have drinks with friends or participate in extra-curricular activities like open debates, food markets, Erasmus events, etc.

The main campus of the University of Reading

Oxbridge, the symbol of excellence in British education

Oxbridge is a contraction of the names of the two most prestigious universities in the UK, Oxford and Cambridge. Both are very old and famed universities, set in rich historical cities, and are said to be amongst the best universities in the world in terms of education. Today, the demand to study there is still very high, with applications coming from the entire world. Studying at Oxford or Cambridge is a great asset, that is highly regarded by future employers. The two universities have a lot in common and are known to be in competition with each other.

 

The University of Oxford :

The foundation of the university dates back to around the 11th century, and makes it one of the oldest universities in the world. It started developing in the 12th century, and since then has been a place praised for the quality of the education delivered. The university is divided into 38 colleges, created over time. Some of the most famous colleges are Christ Church College (where some scenes of the Harry Potter franchise were filmed), Balliol College, Magdalene College, Merton College… There are colleges all around the city (thus there is not just one or two main campuses), and each student belongs to a college. All colleges are different and have different organisations, all have social events and a community spirit to create links between the students. Students can live in the colleges, as there is accommodation and dining facilities, where food is provided for the students.

The dining hall at Christ Church College

 

The libraries at Oxford hold the biggest collection of books out of all universities in the UK, with old and recent works in all subjects; literature, medecine, essays, dictionaries, etc. The Oxford University Press is an important printing and publishing company. The university also possesses numerous museums, among which the Ashmolean museum, which is the oldest museum in the UK. The museums display collections acquired and studied at the university over the centuries.

Numerous famous authors, scientists and politicians have studied at Oxford. A lot of UK Prime Ministers studied there: Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, David Cameron, and the present Prime Minister Theresa May. In literature, Oscar Wilde and J.R.R Tolkien (writer of The Lord of the Rings) studied at Oxford, along with Lewis Carroll (writer of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, who studied at the university and later became a mathematics lecturer there) or poets Percy Shelley and T.S Eliott.

Due to its high-quality teaching, it has a strict selection, Oxford is always in the top ten of the best universities in the world. They are leaders in a lot of subjects, especially Humanities (English literature, languages, history and geography.) They often obtain a high rank in medicine and science too.

Balliol College, Oxford

 

The University of Cambridge:

It was founded in 1209, by former Oxford students who left the university after an incident, to establish themselves in other places. Some went to Cambridge, and that is how the university started (even though the tradition of education was already important in Cambridge, with religious education and monks being there before the university was created.)

Just like Oxford, Cambridge is divided into colleges, there are 31 of them. The most famous are Trinity College, King’s College or St John’s College. Students choose a college where they become part of a community, live, and have dinner. Some colleges are smaller than others, and they are, as in Oxford, located all around the city.

King’s College, Cambridge

 

The University of Cambridge also has a few museums displaying various collections of historical and scientific items, and the Cambridge University Press is the biggest publishing house in the world, printing a lot of books, literary or academic. A lot of illustrious people, over the centuries, have studied at Cambridge: Isaac Newton in the 17th century (who theorised the law of gravity), Charles Darwin, the naturalist, the economist John Keynes, the poets John Milton and Lord. In our present times, some famous actors have been students of the university, such as Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Eddie Redmayne, Emma Thompson, Rachel Weisz…

 

Two universities in competition :

Because of their excellent reputation worldwide, the quality of their education, and also because they have a lot of similar features, Oxford and Cambridge, which are often mentioned together as Oxbridge, they have always been rivals and are competing against each other. Students are proud to be in their university and will defend it to the detriment of the other.  There are sports competitions organised each year between the two universities, like the Boat Race, where the Oxford team and the Cambridge team face each other during a race on the Thames. This is one of the most popular competitions between the two universities.

Of course, they are also competing in terms of rank for their academic skills. Oxford and Cambridge often swap places in top lists of the best universities in the UK and in the world.

The Boat Race between Oxford (on the right) and Cambridge (on the left)

 

Useful words

the fees : les frais de scolarité

to assess : évaluer

compulsory : obligatoire

apprenticeship : apprentissage, stage

undergraduate : premier cycle universitaire

postgraduate : troisième cycle universitaire, études universitaires supérieures

student accommodation : logement étudiant

facilities : installations, équipement

loan : prêt, emprunt

asset : avantage, atout

former : ancien

monks : moines

to row : faire de l’aviron

Fin de l'extrait

Vous devez être connecté pour pouvoir lire la suite

Télécharger ce document gratuitement

Donne ton avis !

Rédige ton avis

Votre commentaire est en attente de validation. Il s'affichera dès qu'un membre de Bac STMG le validera.
Attention, les commentaires doivent avoir un minimum de 50 caractères !
Vous devez donner une note pour valider votre avis.

Nos infos récentes du Bac STMG

Communauté au top !

Vous devez être membre de digiSchool bac STMG

Pas encore inscrit ?

Ou identifiez-vous :

Mot de passe oublié ?