Most people pick Europe when looking to study abroad. However, this may be too generic as Europe consists of many countries divided into several regions, including Eastern, Western, Northern, and Southern Europe. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably considering choosing between Northern and Southern Europe for your next Education venture.
While both are great places to study, there are some obvious differences between them and your choice will depend on the type of education system you’re looking for. In the rest of this article, we’ll comprehensively look at the differences between education in the two regions.
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When it comes to education in Southern Europe, there have been some eyebrows raised about the quality and level there. In prominent southern European countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal, the quality of education is low. For example, in Italy and Greece, there is low economic and educational growth due to a high level of corruption, poor business environments, and overregulated markets.
Data has also shown that in Southern Europe, the number of people between the ages of 25 to 64 that were able to finish high school in 2012 is shockingly low. In Portugal, only 38% were able to complete high school. Spain had a 54% high school completion rate, with Italy at 57%, and Greece 66%.
Northern Europe is one of the leading regions in terms of Education, particularly in math, sciences, and reading scores. In a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, it was revealed that two Northern European countries, Netherlands and Finland were the best performing countries.
In contrast to countries in Southern Europe, Netherlands has a 91% high school completion rate, with Finland ranking highest at 95%. Generally, the quality of teaching is high in Europe and there are tools available to keep the teachers motivated. Most schools in this region are well-respected and ranked high in the world.
Differences in the Educational System in Northern and Southern Europe
As mentioned earlier, both Northern and Southern Europe have distinct education systems. It is also worth noting that there is no uniform education system in the countries across the two regions. Each country has its own educational policy and curriculum.
To make it easier to compare both regions, we’ll choose a country to represent a region each. In our comparison, Germany will represent Northern Europe and we’ll use Spain to represent Southern Europe.
Southern Europe: Spain
In Spain, there are two basic educational levels: primary school (educación primaria) and secondary school (ducación secundaria). The first level consists of 3 cycles including lower, medium, and higher. During each cycle, a teacher takes charge and supervises the students, helping them learn about social coexistence.
In the second level, the students take on elementary subjects, learn a foreign language, and also engage in vocational activities. Assessment is done by allocating points in tests and class activities. The final assessment in the calendar year is determined by the total number of points, after which the students go on to university or college.
Northern Europe: Germany
In Germany, education also starts in primary school, referred to as Grundschule. It is started by children under the age of six. At this stage, the students are taught how to read and write, as well as fundamental math. After completing this level, students have 3 options to choose from to further their education.
The first option is Hauptschule which focuses on a particular profession. The second institution is Realschule which emphasizes on economy or related jobs. The third is Gymnasium which offers a wide range of subjects to get students ready for university or college.