American Education Week

American Education week is November 16-22, 2010 which is a good time to wonder what it would be like to be educated in, say, Trinidad and Tobago. Here are some fun facts to study, and no, there won’t be a quiz at the end.

  • The British call elementary school “infant school” and high school “college.” High school students can take vocational classes like hairdressing, makeup, fitness instructing, construction and tourism. They can also study languages like Russian, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu.
  • French high school is called lycée and students take an exam, called the baccalauréat or bac, to get their high school diploma, which is also called a baccalauréat.
  • Until recently, all kids in China started school at age 7 and went six days each week, now kids in rural areas have more flexible school schedules so they can help their families farm. City kids still go to school six days a week.
  • Japanese students spend afternoons and weekends participating in extracurricular activities like sports, bands or jukus or “cram schools” where kids study math, science, languages and social studies. Until 2002, Japanese kids went to school half days on Saturdays, too. Now they have the day off and they call it yoturi kyoiku or “unhurried education.”
  • The school day is four hours long in Mexico and some kids in the cities go to school in the afternoons so they can work in the mornings.
  • In South Africa, the school year ends in December and all public school kids wear uniforms.
  • In Trinidad and Tobago, most kids go to private school—only about 27 percent go to public school. All kids have to go to school until they turn 12.

If you could change something about our education system what would it be?

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