Reading

Reading Unit 12
Reading Comprehension
Visit schools anywhere in the world, and you will probably notice a number of similarities. There are students, teachers, books, blackboards, and exams everywhere. However, a school system in one country is not identical to the system in any other country. It cannot be exactly the same because each culture is different. The educational system is a mirror that reflects the culture. Look at the school system, and you will see the social structure and the values of its culture.

Mexico

In Mexico, the educational system reflects some of the country’s many contrasts. On the one hand, it is believed that the nation can achieve equality of rights for everyone through education. The basis of the Mexican educational system is the country’s constitution, which was written in 1917. It requires education to be free, compulsory, and universal. It also states that education should support national unity and lead to social, economic, and cultural improvement of the people. At lower levels, this means that there is emphasis on the country’s rich cultural history. Children read about national heroes –especially native people (Indians). However, it is often difficult to provide education in rural areas, where many of the indigenous people live. People in these areas are poor and isolated geographically. There aren’t enough schools, and rural teachers must be able to teach all six grades of primary school. Also, traditions among some indigenous people do not typically include school attendance.

Japan

The Japanese value education highly. One statistic reflects this: the Japanese place such importance on education that 88 percent of all students complete not only primary school but also high school. Public schools are all both free and egalitarian; all students are considered equal and learn the same material. For social reasons, it’s important for a student to receive a university degree – and a degree from “the right university”. To reach this goal, students have to go through “examination hell”. There are difficult exams for entrance to all universities, to many of the better primary and secondary schools, and even to some kindergartens! Japanese students need great discipline; in order to make time for their studies, they need the self-control to give up hobbies, sports, and social life. Results of these exams affect the entire family because there is high status, or social position, for the whole family when the children have high test scores.

Britain

In the United Kingdom (Britain), the educational system reflects the class system. All state schools – primary, secondary, and university – are free, and the first nine years are egalitarian; all students learn the same material. At age eleven, students take an important national exam. After this, they attend one of these three possible secondary school: college preparatory, vocational (for job training), or comprehensive (with both groups of students). However, 6 percent of British students attend expensive private schools. These are students from upper-class families. Half of the students at Oxford and Cambridge universities come from such expensive secondary schools. It might seem that anyone can afford to go to a university because all universities are free, but only 1 percent of the lower class goes to university. Because graduates from good universities get the best jobs, it is clear that success is largely a result of one’s social class.

The United States

Education in the United States is available to everyone, but not all schools are equal. Public primary and secondary schools are free for everyone; there is no tuition. Almost 80 percent of all Americans are high school graduates. Students themselves decide if they want college-preparatory or vocational classes in high school; no national exam determines this. Higher education is not free, but it is available to almost anyone, and about 60 percent of all high school graduates attend college or university. Older people have the opportunity to attend college, too, because Americans believe that “you’re never too old to learn.” On the other hand, there are also problems in U.S. schools. In many secondary schools, there are problems with lack of discipline and with drugs and crime. In addition, public schools receive their money from local taxes, so schools in poor areas receive less money. As a result, they don’t have enough good teachers or laboratory equipment, and the buildings are often not in good condition. Clearly, U.S. education reflects both the best and the worst of the society.

Conclusion

It is clear that each educational system is a reflection of the larger culture – both positive and negative aspects of its economy, values, and social structure.Look at a country’s schools, and you will learn about the society in which they exist.
Practice :

Read the passage carefully and choose the name of the country (or countries) that the statements below refer to:

1
Public schools are all free.
2
Only public primary and secondary schools are free.
3
Six percent of students attend expensive private schools because they are from upper-class families.
4
It is often difficult to provide education in rural areas because of the shortage of good teachers.
5
There are difficult exams for entrance to all universities, to many of the better primary and secondary schools, and even to some kindergartens.
6
60 percent of all high school graduates attend college or university.
7
Students themselves decide if they want college-preparatory or vocational classes in high school.
8
88 percent of all students complete not only primary school but also high school.
9
Students have to take an important national exam when they are eleven.
10
Some indigenous people do not have tradition of going to school.
New words/ Phrases:
Constitution:
/ˌkɑːnstəˈtuːʃn/
(n.)
hiến pháp, luật
The basis of the Mexican educational system is the country’s constitution.
A two-thirds majority is needed to amend the club's constitution.
Unity:
/ˈjuːnəti/
(n.)
sự thống nhất
The consitution states that education should support national unity.
If society is to exist as a unity, its members must have shared values.
Indigenous:
/ɪnˈdɪdʒənəs/
(adj.)
bản địa
It is often difficult to provide education in rural areas, where many of the indigenous people live.
The kangaroo is indigenous to Australia.
Isolated:
/ˈaɪsəleɪtɪd/
(adj.)
cô lập
Elderly people easily become socially isolated.
The decision left the country isolated from its allies.
Egalitarian:
/iˌɡælɪˈteriən/
(adj.)
bình đẳng
Public schools in Japan are all both free and egalitarian.
In the past, society in Northern Ireland has been very egalitarian.
Vocational school:
/voʊˈkeɪʃənl skuːl/
(n.)
trường dạy nghề
The vocational school students are selected by the schools on the basis of criteria set by the Ministry of Education.
In most vocational schools, students do not pay tuition and they must be provided with health care and a free daily school lunch.
Comprehensive school:
/ˌkɑːmprɪˈhensɪv skuːl /
(n.)
trường phổ thông hỗn hợp
Finland has used comprehensive schools since the 1970s, in the sense that everyone is expected to complete the nine grades from the age 7 to 16.
The first comprehensive schools were set up in Britain after the Second World War.
Practice:

Drag and drop the words to complete the following sentences.

Translation

Visit schools anywhere in the world, and you will probably notice a number of similarities.There are students, teachers, books, blackboards, and exams everywhere. However, a school system in one country is not identical to the system in any other country.It cannot be exactly the same because each culture is different.The educational system is a mirror that reflects the culture.Look at the school system, and you will see the social structure and the values of its culture.

Mexico

In Mexico, the educational system reflects some of the country’s many contrasts.On the one hand, it is believed that the nation can achieve equality of rights for everyone through education. The basis of the Mexican educational system is the country’s constitution, which was written in 1917.It requires education to be free, compulsory, and universal.It also states that education should support national unity and lead to social, economic, and cultural improvement of the people.At lower levels, this means that there is emphasis on the country’s rich cultural history.Children read about national heroes – especially native people (Indians). However, it is often difficult to provide education in rural areas, where many of the indigenous people live.People in these areas are poor and isolated geographically.There aren’t enough schools, and rural teachers must be able to teach all six grades of primary school.Also, traditions among some indigenous people do not typically include school attendance.

Japan

The Japanese value education highly.One statistic reflects this: the Japanese place such importance on education that 88 percent of all students complete not only primary school but also high school.Public schools are all both free and egalitarian; all students are considered equal and learn the same material.For social reasons, it’s important for a student to receive a university degree – and a degree from “the right university”.To reach this goal, students have to go through “examination hell”.There are difficult exams for entrance to all universities, to many of the better primary and secondary schools, and even to some kindergartens!Japanese students need great discipline; in order to make time for their studies, they need the self-control to give up hobbies, sports, and social life.Results of these exams affect the entire family because there is high status, or social position, for the whole family when the children have high test scores.

Britain

In the United Kingdom (Britain), the educational system reflects the class system.All state schools – primary, secondary, and university – are free, and the first nine years are egalitarian; all students learn the same material.At age eleven, students take an important national exam.After this, they attend one of these three possible secondary school: college preparatory, vocational (for job training), or comprehensive (with both groups of students).However, 6 percent of British students attend expensive private schools.These are students from upper-class families.Half of the students at Oxford and Cambridge universities come from such expensive secondary schools.It might seem that anyone can afford to go to a university because all universities are free, but only 1 percent of the lower class goes to university.Because graduates from good universities get the best jobs, it is clear that success is largely a result of one’s social class.

The United States

Education in the United States is available to everyone, but not all schools are equal.Public primary and secondary schools are free for everyone; there is no tuition. Almost 80 percent of all Americans are high school graduates.Students themselves decide if they want college-preparatory or vocational classes in high school; no national exam determines this.Higher education is not free, but it is available to almost anyone, and about 60 percent of all high school graduates attend college or university.Older people have the opportunity to attend college, too, because Americans believe that “you’re never too old to learn.” On the other hand, there are also problems in U.S. schools.In many secondary schools, there are problems with lack of discipline and with drugs and crime.In addition, public schools receive their money from local taxes, so schools in poor areas receive less money.As a result, they don’t have enough good teachers or laboratory equipment, and the buildings are often not in good condition.Clearly, U.S. education reflects both the best and the worst of the society.

Conclusion

It is clear that each educational system is a reflection of the larger culture – both positive and negative aspects of its economy, values, and social structure.Look at a country’s schools, and you will learn about the society in which they exist.
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