European or American? Comparing Education Systems

Gabriel Prenga

Are students at ICSB getting the education they need for a bright tomorrow?

Students have numerous paths to take after they graduate. Whether it is going straight into the business world, going to college, or following an art or sports career; the education and development they get through high school will affect them through their career. Six months of challenging work can put you five years ahead in life. In school, achieving six months of demanding work dependents on the student. However, school is a two-way road, learning and teaching. The students could put in six months of work, but are the courses going to uncover their full potential? This question is easily relevant to our school. ICSB, being an international school, sees students come from all over the world, and they change schools often. Could this frequent and substantial change affect the students' careers?

ICSB offers an American system of class distribution, offering one specific focused topic every year (for example geometry in math) instead of distributing it partially yearly, which is generally done in Europe. The school also offers choices among classes and the choice to take a class whereas in Europe, some classes must be taken and do not generally include as many choices. European students must take every science, language, math, art, technology, and physical education class including geography, biology, physics, history, economy, literature, grammar, 2nd language, 3rd language, educational technology, visual art, digital art, physical education, and or specific sport, geometry, algebra, trigonometry, astronomy, calculus, statistics, and social studies. In a typical European school, every student usually is required to complete the courses up to a remarkably high level (an AP level in American schools for comparison). In our school and its requirements, depending on what course you chose, you might not have taken an AP class or all the science or language courses.

A significant difference in both systems is not just the requirements but also what classes you are offered. It is common to offer from lower school to AP level to local level in all major classes in European schools. If students want to get any natural science-related job, including anything in the engineering or medical or political/economical world, they will have to do well in these classes and get sufficient knowledge.

 This is where the rewards of ICSB’s system come in; the student can choose what course they want depending on what they want to do, and they do not have to waste time with courses they think they do not need to learn about (whereas in European schools, classes are required even if you think they will not serve you well in the future). You can get specifically into a subject and spend extra time on the subject to ensure you have what it takes to follow your dream career. The ICSB course offerings have their pros and cons and depending on the path the students will wish to take this system could help them reach uttermost potential or reach a plateau. It is important to distinguish what the students' goals are and what path is the best.

As concluding advice, if you want to follow a career that requires you to get a degree in a college or that requires you to have specialized knowledge in a topic, choose a school that offers choice in taking courses that lead up to that, and a school that offers those courses. If you want to follow an art, sport, or business career and you do not need to go to college, choose a school that offers you space to pursue your passion and to develop your talent and skills. There is not a better school to take when it comes to education, just like there is no definite better career to choose.

Defining your goals, passions, dreams, and surroundings is what is going to help you in choosing an education system.