School Systems

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you would’ve noticed that I mostly read young adult books and fantasy. Most of the contemporary fiction books that I read are set in the States although I’ve also read a couple of books set in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. When you read YA books, most of the characters are teenagers so therefore, they go to school. Do you ever wonder why school systems differ from one country to another? I mean I’d understand that school terms would depend on the seasons, like vacations should be set during summer, but the grade levels are also different.

I live in the Philippines so I thought I’d paint a picture of how the school system works here. School starts in June and ends in March. Summer here occurs from March to May and the school summer vacation only has two months – April and May. I’ll skip the pre-school years and go straight to grade school. Our grade school years start with grade one and end in grade six. Some schools have grade seven but that’s optional and not really a requirement. After grade school, we have four years of high school – freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. After high school, there’s college. Depending on your major, you can have four or five years of college. My major was Electronics Communications Engineering so I spent five years in college.

I know that school systems are different in each country. I’m familiar with the US system since I’ve read a lot of books and watched a lot of movies/TV shows based in the States. There’s grade school, middle school, high school and college, right? I’m not sure how different the systems in other countries are. Maybe we just have different names for the year levels: like the senior level in high school is called Year Twelve in Australia or seventh form in New Zealand (correct me if I’m wrong, I just deduced these based on what I’ve read). In the UK, I think they have a junior college before they go off to university.

If you’re from any country that has a different school system, feel free to enlighten me with your comments. Or am I the only one who finds this fascinating?

13 thoughts on “School Systems

  1. In Sri Lanka at the international school I went to, it was similar to the US system – elementary school (1-4), middle school (5-8) and high school (9 to 12). In high school it wasn’t called freshman, sophomore etc year – it was just called Grade 9 to 12. School year was end of Aug/early Sept to end of May/early June/. Summer was end of May/early June till end of Aug/early Sept. From Grade 9 to 10 we had the IGCSE (international general certificate of secondary education) – graded by people in the UK I think, and then in 11th and 12th we had the IBs – International Baccalaureate Diploma – graded by people in Switzerland.

    In Canada they have a grade 13 but I believe this is related to what you are doing in college and is optional? Not sure.

    • Oh I didn’t even take into consideration the international schools over here! I know they have different rules as well, some follow the US system while others follow European systems. Was the international school that you attended in Sri Lanka similar to the other school systems over there?

      It’s weird that for your grades 9 and 10, you were graded by people in the UK but for grades 11 and 12, you were graded by people in Switzerland. Why were you graded by people from different countries?

      • That’s because the exams you do at the end of the two years get sent to the places that created them. It’s like when you do the SATs. You do them at your school then they’re mailed off.

        Not sure what the other international schools did, although I think it was similar. Maybe different tests. I think I remember other schools doing O-levels or something like that, I don’t remember though.

        What was weird was we had teachers from different countries and so we’d have UK text books for some things and American textbooks for others. And it used to MESS UP my spelling.

      • Oh so that’s why. We don’t have exams like the SATs here. All that matters is you get your high school diploma, we don’t have certification exams.

        O-levels sound like the O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. in the Harry Potter books, LOL.

        That is weird! They should have a standard on what books the students should use regardless of where your teacher came from. I can just imagine how had it is not to use consistent spelling.

  2. Yeah, the US school is system how you explained it Chachic. What is also interesting is what kind of requirements you have in order to pass a grade. For example, the high school I went to, we had to do a “Senior Project” in order to graduate. Do you have a similar project? Also in the US kids have to do these SAT 9’s which are basically state testing. It just a way for administration to get statistics on students on how well they do in school and it’s different from state to state.

    • I agree but where I went to school it was called junior high, not middle school (where I live now is middle school). Junior High tends to be only 7th and 8th grade. Middle school tends to be 6th through 8th or 7th through 9th.

      I’m sure school has changed thought since I was in school. That’s kind of sad…I’m getting old!!! LOL!

      • Oh yeah, I’ve seen the term junior high from time to time. I didn’t know it was different from middle school! I thought they were just the same.

        Me too, I’m sure a lot of changes has happened since I was in school but I know that the system is basically still the same.

    • Hmm we did have a science research paper that was one of the major requirements during high school but it was just for one subject and I don’t know if that’s because I went to a science high school. Other schools don’t have that kind of requirement.

      We don’t have SATs over here or something similar. Colleges rely on your diploma and their entrance exams for acceptance.

  3. Chachic, there are Chinese schools here in the Philippines that have two sets of curricula for Chinese and English. This means you graduate twice, one for English and one for Chinese. And sometimes, you can get held back in one curriculum, which means you can be fourth year in English and still be in second year in Chinese. Too complicated.

    • I know, I didn’t even take into consideration the other schools that we have over here. I mean I just covered the usual system and didn’t describe the ones for international schools or even Chinese schools like you mentioned. School systems are complicated!

    • It’s interesting to know that there are so many different school systems out there, isn’t it? I can’t imagine having a US K-12 system over here. Won’t that mean more school for Filipinos when school is so expensive already? And oh no, Filipino during pre-school and early grade school will be hard for Allen! How can you teach math and science in Filipino, I wonder?

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