Schools: British vs International Systems

Alexander Carbon

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This is an opinion, and based purely on experience with the British and International school systems.

Education is undoubtedly superior today compared to the past 100 years, simply because great incentive for our development as a species is to learn and gain knowledge. Every student complains about how trigonometry and cell structure are unimportant to later life, even though they are. School is simply a preparation for university and later life, so even if knowing the periodic table is irrelevant to you later on, you are bound to learn better ways of memorization through the learning process. Not only this, but what we learn in middle school and high school creates a base for what we learn later on in more advanced courses. Think of primary school as the plantation of a seed, and highschool as the growth of the roots that support the plant.

From 1st to 6th grade, I attended a British school. Education there was quite good. Teachers were strict yet highly focused on class work, only giving us homework when classwork was incomplete. In this way, Free time was aplenty and we were learning concepts quicker and more effectively with the continuous aid of our teachers. Compared to the average International school system, I believe that this is far more effective and glues the concepts into our minds permanently. The increased amount of homework in the International system, on the other hand, repeats concepts over and over until it is learned. The International system focuses greatly on memorization, therefore studying, a skill that I had never really developed in the British school, is definitely required. I have also noticed that the International system involves testing much more often than the others, with quizzes or tests almost every week compared to the monthly tests in the British school.

Another large factor that could be taken into consideration is the intensity of the learning. I found the British school system to be quite a bit more difficult than the International system, due to the higher amount of mandatory classes and limited time in class. Take algebra for example, in the British school math was only 50 minutes 4 days a week, with constant work and the learning of new concepts almost every other day while in the International systems there are fewer (longer) classes (two 120 minute sessions and one 45 minute session). This to me is rather inefficient, as I find it hard to focus on certain subjects for prolonged periods of time, while the British system engages my mind with new subjects every 50 minutes.

Ultimately, I find the British system more efficient and enjoyable. However, this does not mean that the International system is anything to scorn at. It is really difficult to compare the two education systems due to their major differences, though I do believe that the communities created by the International systems are far superior to the British system, with students being close and caring for one another. The strictness and more monotone atmosphere of British schools can also get to you over time, and I believe that the International priority over IB is very important for the future of students. To conclude, Both school systems are great, however it is through the International system that you can be more prepared for later life, with IB giving infinite opportunities to all students who partake in the program.