Where Would You Want to Grow Up?

January 25, 2019

Countries around the world differ in many respects, and an important one of those is education. Depending on which country you are in, your life as a student can be drastically different. The world’s nations seem to have very different visions for how best to prepare their youth for the adult world. By comparing different education systems in different nations, we can learn a little bit about what the student life is like.


 Photo: Leo Rivas on Unsplash 


As compared with many western nations, South Korea has a very rigorous education system. Not only do 70% of students go to college, but there is a lot of pressure to attend the best colleges in the country. When South Koreans apply for jobs, it is easier to get hired if your university has a famous name. In addition to a regular school day, students also often take extra classes and have lessons with tutors at night. As a result of this, it is normal for students to return home at 10 P.M. on school days. After returning home, they have to do their homework and study only to wake up at 6 A.M. the next morning to go to school, which evidently does not leave much time for sleep. In fact, most high school students in South Korea sleep around four hours each night. Living in the United States, it is difficult to conceive of a society where such a lifestyle is completely normal.


In Russia, school lasts from September to May of each year. On average, 13-year-old students have 893 hours of classes each year, which is slightly less than in the United States. However, students are often frequently given classwork that is completed outside of the official class hours. Also unlike in many western nations, Russian students do not get a say in what they study until college. There is a set curriculum that students must follow. Russian class sizes are also smaller than in many other countries, and the relationships with teachers are rather formal. Overall, it seems that Russia’s educational system is effective because the nation has a 99.7% literacy rate and the Pearson/Economist Intelligence Unit rated Russian education as the 8th best in Europe and the 13th best in the world.


Now we know a little about the education systems in South Korea and Russia, in addition to that of our own country. Although this hardly covers all the different types of student life, it is clear that there are many ways in which education systems can differ. Education is such an important part of our society because life experiences as teenagers can play important roles in the rest of our lives, including our careers and life choices. While there are some education systems that are more clearly better than others, we can usually see some good aspects and some aspects that need to be changed and improved. It is only through analyzing and comparing education around the world that we can improve it.


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