Education in Great Britain

: 10/13

The University was only for men until 1871, when the first women' s college was opened. In the 1970s, most col- leges opened their doors to both men and women. Almost all colleges are now mixed.

great men studied at Cambridge, among them Desiderius Erasmus", the great Dutch scholar, Roger Bacon", the philosopher, Milton, the poet, Oliver Cromwell", the soldier, Newton, the scientist, and Kapitza, the famous Russian physicist.

The universities have over hundred societies and clubs, enough for every interest one could imagine. Sport is part of students' life at Oxbridge. The most popular sports are rowing and punting.


The Cambridge Folk Festival. Every year, in summer, one of the biggest festivals of folk music in arrive in Cambridge for the Festival. Many of the fans put up their tents to stay overnight. The Cambridge Folk Festival is always very well organized and there is always good order. However, some people who live nearby do not like Festival. They say that there is too much noise, that too much rubbish is left on the ground, and that many of the fans take drugs. On the other hand, local shopkeepers are glad, because for them the Festival means a big increase in the number of customers.

The second group of universities comprises various institutions of higher education, usually with technical study, that by 1900 had sprang up in new industrial towns and cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds. They got to be know as civic or redbrick universities. Their buildings were made of local material, often brick, in contrast to the stone of older universities, hence the name, redbrick. These universities catered mostly for local people. At first they prepared students for London University degree, but later they were given the right to award their own degrees, and so became universities themselves. In the mid-20th century they started to accept students from all over the country.

The third group consists of new universities founded after the Second World War and later in the 1960s, which saw considerable expansion in new universities. These are purpose-built institutions located in the countryside but close to towns. Examples are East Anglia, Sussex and Warwick. From their beginning they attracted students from all over the country, and provided accommodation for most of their students in site (hence their name, campus universities). They tend to emphasise relatively new academic disciplines such as social science and make greater use than other universities of teaching in small groups, often known as seminars.

Among this group there are also universities often called never civic universities. These were originally technical colleges set up by local authorities in the first half of this century. Their upgrading to university status took place in two waves. The first wave occurred in the mid-1960s, when ten of them were promoted in this way.

Another thirty became polytechnics, in the early 1970s, which meant that along with their former courses they were allowed to teach degree courses (the degrees being awarded by a national body). Polytechnics were originally expected to offer a broader-based, more practical and vocational education than the universities. In the early 1990s most of the polytechnics became universities. So there are now 80 universities and a further 19 colleges and institutions of higher education in the UK. The country has moved rapidly from a rather elitist system to one which is much more open, if not yet a mass system of higher education.

Higher education in England and Wales is highly selective; i.e. entrance to British universities is via a strict selection process is based on an interview. Applications for first degree courses are usually made through the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. After the interview a potential student is offered a place on the basis of GCE A-level exam results. If the student does not get the grades specified in the offer, a place can not be taken up. Some universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, have an entrance exam before the interview stage.

: 12/01/2010