Table of contents:

Secondary education in Europe
Secondary education in Europe

Video: Secondary education in Europe

Video: Secondary education in Europe
Video: Why Finland's schools outperform most others across the developed world | 7.30 2023, May

Let's start right away with the fact that the concept of the First September does not exist in almost all European countries. Alas! It does not count as either Knowledge Day or the start of the school year. There are no solemn rulers, speeches of the director, flowers, bows and parents with video cameras. Many children already go to school from mid to late August. And the school year itself does not end in May, but at best in mid-June.

Summer holidays are not very good here! 2 months maximum, or even only 6 weeks. In order not to blur thought along the tree and not to draw conclusions on the generalized concept of "Europe" and "European school", because this does not exist, I want to focus on the example of several countries and the system of secondary education in Europe. And you yourself already compare with the school of your son / daughter or your own, recently graduated! And think about what your child will go through when, at the behest of the parents, the Russian school is replaced by a "different" one: Dutch, German or French …

Part 1 - Holland

In 1848, the country adopted a constitution that established freedom of teaching. This means that there is no government monopoly on education in Holland, although the government pays for the costs of almost all primary schools. School education in the Netherlands is compulsory for everyone and, in fact, is free, there are only additional contributions by parents. For example, if your child stays for lunch on the school grounds, and, mind you, with his own sandwiches from home and juice in a bottle, the school will charge from one hundred to two hundred euros annually from the parents. For control, so to speak, over the child during meals and breaks - an hour long, during which children, as a rule, play in the yard. The school day starts at 8.30 and ends at 15.00, so it is not surprising, in principle, that from 12 to 13 o'clock the poor children have a rest.

But are they poor and how much are they loaded with knowledge? More on this later. Let's first look at the types of high schools and curricula.

Currently, about three quarters of all schools in the Netherlands are created by private organizations and societies, mostly of a religious orientation (Catholic, Protestant, etc.), and cultural and economic (international private schools where instruction is in English). In such schools, in comparison with the ordinary state, the load is slightly higher, and the requirements for students are higher.

The main difference between the Dutch secondary school and the Russian one is that it is strictly divided into, in fact, primary and secondary itself. There are no kindergartens in our understanding here, and the child goes to the so-called junior high school from 3-4 years old, where he remains until 12. In the future, he has a certain choice between an ordinary public school, a gymnasium or athenium, where he will study from 4 to 6 years. That is, an ordinary, average Dutchman graduates from high school either at 16 or at 18, but taking into account the fact that he did not spend two years in the same class, which happens very often here. Thus, general schooling consists of two stages.

- This is primary education, which stretches for as much as 8 years. (Can you imagine?) A natural question arises: what has a child been doing for so many years? Good question. Russian children are automatically assigned to a Dutch language group, in which they stay for at least a year. They are usually called "prism" and are composed of the children of immigrants from all over the world. In such a class, where the child goes in the first half of the day, until 12 o'clock, the language is grasped quickly and quite well, since the training is intensive and the children do not have the opportunity to communicate at breaks in each other's language. Just imagine, in the class of my 10-year-old son there are children from Africa, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Poland, Italy, Israel. Not everyone at this age speaks any foreign language, so Dutch becomes the very unifying link and the only opportunity to communicate with each other. And the method of full immersion in a foreign language is the best!

In the afternoon, children attend a "normal school" where only Dutch people of the same age study, attend lessons and take an active part in what they can do without knowing the language: drawing, physical education, mathematics. As they learn Dutch, they become ordinary "Dutch schoolchildren", studying a little history, a little bit of natural history, a little bit of that, a little bit different … And here is another main difference from Russian schools.


Children are not loaded !. They give practically no homework. All necessary textbooks, notebooks and manuals are stored in the classroom. Pupils are not stressed during lessons, and parents are not called to school if the child gets low marks. Here it is considered as follows: what the child is capable of - that is what he does. And this is good. And rightly so. The emphasis of such a junior high school is on personal development, and not on the study of specific disciplines. On creativity, sociality and sociability, and not on instilling discipline, knowledge and perseverance.

When a child reaches 12 years old, all students are divided into streams, each of which leads to a certain type of diploma, and, therefore, to a certain educational career. Usually there are 2 of them: pre-university training and general secondary and vocational training. As mentioned above, no earlier than 12 years old (later - perhaps, because if the annual test results did not jump 5 on a ten-point scale - the child remains in the second year - undeniably and indisputably!) The student faces a choice: school or gymnasium. In the first case, he has to study for four years, in the second - six. The gymnasium is usually attended by those who are firmly (by the will of their parents) determined for admission to the University, and not to the culinary college. And in such gymnasiums there is already homework - daily and in large quantities, and tests with exams throughout the year, and disciplines - as in many Russian universities: Latin, Ancient Greek, at least three "living" foreign languages, social sciences, and, naturally, physics, chemistry, biology, geography and so on, just like ours! Usually there are from 2 to 4 areas of study, which can be chosen for detailed study and further admission to the University. These are: culture and society, economy and society, nature and health, nature and technology. The workload in such educational institutions, I repeat, is enormous. And in the end, it is the upper secondary school that provides the child with what is commonly called "high-quality European education."

In the meantime, to the question of his ten-year-old son, who is still only half a year attending a Dutch public school: "Well, how are you doing?" - received the following answer: "Some kind of kindergarten! But there is no fun and homework!"

Perhaps, when he successfully crosses the 12-year threshold, I will hear something more serious.


In general, maybe it is right: first, give the child Childhood and the opportunity to enjoy it. Learn through play, develop abilities and shape. After all, he will still have time to grow up …

And learn serious disciplines.

Part 2. Germany, France

We continue to answer the question: is it necessary to get secondary education in Europe? Secondary education in Germany is run by local authorities - the state administration. It is required. Children here begin to study at the age of 6 in a primary school (grundschule) and study in it for 4 years. It then continues in the general education school (hauptschule), where general secondary education is given; or a real school (realschule), where teaching is at a higher level; or gymnasiums (gymnasium), where students are prepared for admission to universities. The scheme, in general, is quite recognizable and similar to the reformed Russian one with a slight difference in details. But what about the content of the curriculum?

In order not to be unfounded, because I myself did not study in German schools, I will quote from the Internet and from the children of my friends the impressions of some Russian children who have been studying for several years in German schools and gymnasiums.

“What haunts me is the realization that in Moscow I would have finished school safely this year, and here I will suffer an extra three years. And most importantly, I don’t think I will get a more complete education. Except that I’ll learn different languages …"

"The main thing is that the children do not overstrain themselves. And so that no more than four books a year are read in order to avoid overwork … Here in Russia, in high school, I had to study almost around the clock!"

"I showed a Russian textbook on mathematics to a teacher in a gymnasium - it turned out that the Germans, too, will begin to study only in two years …"

"Literature as a subject is absent!"

“And we have a new teacher, who began the first lesson in senior grade with the following speech:“I have good news - we will discuss the topic of talk shows for six months - do you agree?”Loud applause. The interests of young people have been taken into account. …

"In Russia, they studied more and asked a lot. Here too, only more and more German has to be crammed. And at home I also study Russian. So I don't know - where it was better."

Recently, private schools, where the emphasis is on personal education, have become more popular. This is such a fashionable trend, so to speak. Even the special term "Characterbuilding" is used - the formation of character. Russian children can study in a private school for any number of years, up to receiving a matriculation certificate (Abitur), but they can also come for a year or two.


It is beneficial to receive a certificate of maturity in a German school if the child aspires to subsequently enter a German university. Private schools are distinguished by an informal approach to classes, the rapid introduction of progressive methods and the best, most modern equipment and computer labs. However, such schools are certainly very expensive and cannot be affordable for many parents.

In France

Foreign children can study not only in private, but also in some public schools. Only state lyceums accept children from abroad only to senior classes, and private schools - from any level. There are three levels in total (not counting kindergarten): primary school (grades 1-5), high school, or college, where grades are counted in reverse order - from sixth to third, and high school, it is also a lyceum - second, first and graduation classes. Lyceums come in different profiles: professional (for those who are not going to study further), as well as general education and technological, preparing for admission to a university of the corresponding profile.

The main advantage of public schools is free education, while private schools are of high-quality and versatile education. But all schools that accept children from abroad develop special programs for them on an individual basis. With the help of testing, the level of knowledge of the student in each subject is revealed, and in accordance with this knowledge, the child is assigned to the class. And this is very cool and different from the Dutch and German systems. If you know mathematics several years ahead of your age, attend high school classes, and do not sit in a group of "retarded" students! The system of midterm exams is also flexible, and only at graduation - no delays or indulgences! However, as elsewhere in Europe …

What is obvious is that globalization and the expansion of the European Union provide unlimited educational opportunities for your child. You just need to choose the right direction and … country. Because the whole picture cannot be described using the example of only three.

I will say one thing: if the family already lives in Europe or is going, if there is a temporary residence permit, the child will definitely be taken to school and he will receive an education. When you arrive, do not rush to choose the nearest school next to your house, go to the city administration, and there you will be given a detailed report with a bunch of booklets about all public and private schools in the region.

If you are going to send your child just for a year or two to study, keep in mind: a good private school in England or Germany will cost you a tidy sum: from 5 to 20 thousand euros per year. So secondary education in Europe is not cheap.

Send it on the school exchange program? This is a good idea and a very commendable one. Such a practice, alas, which does not exist in many schools of the country, will leave your child to decide for himself: "where to study and live" in the future: old Europe or mother Russia …

Popular by topic