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The system of higher education in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
1. Write down three important facts related to the topic The system of higher education in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
2. Skim the text, present its main ideas and discuss them in pairs.
The structure of higher education in Great Britain is very complex. The main sources of higher educational institutions are: universities (including the Open University1), teacher-training colleges and polytechnics. British universities come in all ages, sizes and shapes. The oldest of them, Oxford and Cambridge, founded in the 12-th and 13-th centuries took the students from all over the country. The younger civic or “Redbrick” universities serving the needs of their cities were organized in the 19-th century. The newest “Whitebrick” universities came into existence during the 1960s. Admission to universities is by examination or selection in the for of interviews. Applications from candidates for admission to nearly all universities are submitted to the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS). It is the UCAS that sends the copies to different universities and each university selects its own students.
British universities are independent, self-governing institutions. Although they all receive financial support from the state (about 79 per cent), the Department of Education and Science has no control over their regulations, curriculum, examinations and the way in which the money is spent. Teacher education includes all forms of education provided mostly by teacher-training colleges which receive their grants directly from the Department of Education and Science. The great majority of colleges are maintained by the Local Education Authorities. The most usual route to a teaching qualification is by way of three or four year course, leading to the Bachelor of Education Degree.
The universities and teacher-training colleges are classed as higher educational institutions because they awarddegrees. The normal duration of a first degree course is three of four years. At the end a Bachelor Degree is awarded on the results of examinations. A Master Degree is usually awarded after a further year or two years of studies. The highest degree is the Doctor of Philosophy. It is awarded for research and submission of a thesis-normally after Bachelor and Master Degrees.
Apart from the Universities and teacher-training colleges there are 30 polytechnics in England and Wales and 14 Scottish central institutions. The work of the Polytechnics is of university level. But the universities, funded directly by the state, are less controlled than the Polytechnics. Local Education Authorities are responsible for the budgets of the Polytechnics. Their work is planned and financed by the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council.
Most degrees in Polytechnics are awarded by a national body called the Council for National Academic Awards. The Council ensures that the degrees awarded in polytechnics are equal to the degrees awarded by universities. Polytechnics award the Diploma in Technology. The usual course for the diploma is 3 years for full-time students and 4 years for “sandwich” course ones. The “sandwich” course students alternate periods of full-time education and full- time employment. These courses provide many people with the opportunity of receiving higher technical education.
3. Read the text again and put the sentences and phrases below in the correct order.
1. The main sources of higher education in Great Britain.
2. Academic year in British higher educational establishments.
3. Types of British universities.
4. Admission to British universities.
5. Functions of the Department of Education and Science.
6. Scientific degrees awarded by the British higher educational establishments.
7. Polytechnics and their educational and financial authorities.
4. Match the highlighted words in the text with the definitions (1-6) below.
1. a list of subjects which are to be taught at some educational institutions
2. academic title given by a university to one who has passed an examination or defended a thesis.
3. a request, especially in written form.
4. to give as a result of an official decision, e.g. a degree, a prize, a medal.
5. money given by the state for a particular purpose, e.g. to a university or a student
6. a group of persons who do smth. together in a planned way.
5. Read the text again and decide if the sentences (1-6) below are true or false.
1. The applications for admission to British universities are sent to the Department of Education and Science. T\F
2. The Department of Education and Science does not control rules, programs
and examinations in most British universities. T\F
3. Almost all teacher-training colleges receive their grants directly from the Department of Education and Science. T\F
4. The work of the Polytechnics is planned and financed by the Polytechnics and
Colleges Funding Council. T\F
5. Local Educational Authorities do not bear responsibility for the budgets of the
6. The Council for National Academic Awards ensures that the degrees awarded by Polytechnics are equal to the degrees awarded by Universities. T\F
6. Read the text again and answer these questions:
1/ What are the main sources of higher education in Great Britain? 2/ How are British universities classified? 3/ How are the British students admitted to the universities? 4/ What is the role of the Department of Education ad Science in controlling universities? 5/ What financial support do the universities get from the state? 6/ What are the main sources of teacher education in Great Britain? 7/ How are the teacher-training colleges maintained?
7. Make up the plan of the text and retell it according to the plan (not less then 100 words).