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Лингво страноведенье / Q- 11 higher education

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Question 11. UNIVERSITY EDUCATION

There are 44 universities in Britain. Although the Government is responsible for pro­viding about[ 80 per cent of universities’ income, it does not con­trol their work or teaching nor does it have direct dealings with the universities. The grants are distributed by the University Grants Committee, a body appointed by the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

The English universities are; Aston (Birmingham), Bath, Birmiugham, Bradford, Bristol, Brunel (London), Cambridge, City (London), Durham, East Anglia, Essex, Exeter, Hull, Keele, Kentat Centerbury, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Loughborough, Manchester, Newcastle upon . Tyne, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading, Salford, Sheffield, Southhampton, Surrey, Sussex, Warwick and York. The federated University of Wales includes five university colleges, the Welsh National School of Medicine, and the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology. The Scoltish universities are: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburght,Glasgow, Heriot-Watt (Edinburgh), St. Andrews, Stirling, and Strathclyde (Glasgow). In Northern Ireland there is Queen’s University, Belfast, and the New University of Ulster in Coleraine.

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge date from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and the Scottish Universities of St. And­rews, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. All the other universities were founded in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries.

There are five other institutions where the work is of univer­sity standard: the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology; the two postgraduate business schools which are supported jointly by industry and the Government the Man­chester Business School and the London Graduate School of Busi­ness Studies, associated with the London School of Economics and the Imperial College of, Science and Technology; Cranfield Institute of Technology for mainly postgraduate work in aeronautics and other subjects; and the Royal College of Art.

STUDIES AND DEGREES

Courses in arts and science are offered by most universities Imperial College, London, the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and some of the newer universities concentrate on technology although they also offer а number of courses in social studies, modern languages and other non-technological subjects. About 45 per cent of full-time university students in Great Britain are taking arts or social studies courses and 41 per cent science and technology: about 10 per cent are studying medicine, dentistry and health, and the remainder agriculture, forestry, veterinary science, architecture and town and country planning.

University degree courses generally extend over three or four years, though in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science five or six years are required. The first degree of Bachelor (Master in the arts faculties of the older Scottish universities) is awarded on the completion of such a course, depending on satisfactory examination results. Further study or research is required at the modern universities for the degree of Master and by all universities for that of Doctor. Actual degree titles vary according to the practice of each University. A uniform standard of degree throughout the country is ensured by having external examiners on all examining boards. In the last decades there has been a tendency for degree courses to become more broadly based in subject matter, particularly in the new universities.

University teaching combines lectures, practical classes (in scientific subjects) and. small group teaching in either seminars or tutorials.

Most members of the academic staffs devote time to research and at all universities there are postgraduate students engaged in research.

STUDENTS

Over a third of all full-time university students in Britain are living in colleges and halls of residence, slightly under a half are in lodgings, and the remainder live at home.

Despite recent expansion programmes, applications for places at universities for arts studies still exceed the number available. Prospective candidates for nearly all the universities apply for places through the Universities Central Council on Admissions. The only students who apply directly are applicants to the Open University and British candidates who apply only for the university of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Strathclyde.

STAFF

In 1970—71 there were about 23,000 full-time university teachers in Great Britain; about 10 per cent of them were professors. The ratio of staff to students was about one to eight.

ADMISSION PROCEDURES

Students are admitted to British universities largely on the basis of their performance in the examinations for the General Certificate of Education at ordinary and advanced level. The selection procedure is rather complicated. It has been designed to combine as much freedom as possible for the universities to choose the students they want with as much freedom as possible for students to choose the university they want. This was done by setting up in 1954 the Universities Central Council on Admissions (UCCA).

A student who wants to go to university usually applies for admission before he takes his Advanced level examinations. First of all he must write to the Universities Central Council on Admissions and they send him a form which he has to complete. On this form he has to write down the names of six universities in order of preference. He may put down only two or three names, stating that if not accepted by these universities he would be willing to go to any other.

The UCCA sends photocopies of the form and enclosures to the universities concerned. Each applicant is first considered by the university admission hoard. In some cases the board sends the applicant a refusal. If there are no reasons for immediate refusal, the university admission officer passes the candidate’s papers on to the academic department concerned. One or two members of this department will then look at the candidate’s application: see what he says about himself, look at his marks at the ordinary level examinations, see what his headteacher and other referee say about him.. The minimum requirement for admission is a pass in four subjects at Ordinary level and in two subjects at Advanced level, but most universities demand three passes at Advanced level. The more popular universities also demand higher grades in these three subjects.. The standard offer is grade В in two subjects and grade С in the third (ВВС).*

OXBRIDGE

Oxford and Cambridge are the two oldest and most prestigious universities in Britain. They are often called collectively Oxbridge to denote an elitarian education. Many Oxbridge students come from public schools, and Oxbridge graduates often go on to become influential and powerful in British society.

The tutorial system is one of the ways in which Oxford and Cambridge differ from all the other English universities. Every student has a tutor and as soon as you come to Oxford one of the first things you do is to go and see your tutor. He, more or less, plans your work, suggests the books you should read and sets work for you to do. Each week you go to him in his rooms, perhaps with two or three other students, and he discusses with you the work that you have done, criticises in detail your essay and sets you the next week’s work.

Oxford and Cambridge universities consist of a number of colleges. Each colledge has its own character and individuality. The universities have over a hundred societies and clubs: dramatic societies, languages clubs, philosophy societies, debating clubs, political clubs of all colours – in fact, clubs for almost every activity under the sun.

Both universities are independent.

CAMBRIDGE

From whatever country one comes as a student one cannot escape the influence of the Cambridge traditions —and they go back so far!

The students were all churchmen and had been studying in Oxford at that city’s well-known schools. It was a hard life at Oxford for there was constant trouble between the townsfolk and the students. The students moved to Cambridge; and so the new University began.

The literature was very scarce and all the lessons were in the Latin language which students were supposed to speak even among themselves. They studied Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric and when the student went for his degree examination it took some time for him to show his knowledge of these subjects. If he proposed to be a teacher he also had to show that he could use a rod, which he would do by beating a small boy who was afterwards paid for his pains!

There are nineteen Colleges, including two for women students which were built near the end of the last century. (Women students do not have a very active part in University life at Cambridge, by the way, but they work harder than men and one seldom sees them outside of the classrooms.)

(From Essential English for Foreign Students by C. S. Eckersley)

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