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Aja B.
  • Aja B.
  • New York, NY
  • United States

Online Community Manager, TED

TEDCRED 20+

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For non-US TEDizens: Can you tell us about your country's education system?

This week's special on American TV, "TED Talks Education," focuses on problems in US schools.

So here's the place for non-Americans to share: What's an issue in your country's education system that you'd like to see a TED Talk about? Who would you ask to speak? Do you have any success stories to share?

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    May 11 2013: I'm a US college student studying abroad in the UK right now who's interested in education, so I've had this conversation with a variety of friends. The biggest contrast between the UK and US that I've noticed is that in the UK, students start specializing in high school. This means students only study a couple subjects such as just math, chemistry and physics instead of taking English and history along with such a course load. As a professor of mine pointed out, the problem with this is that most students don't know what they want to do at this age and shouldn't be made to choose.

    Personally, I knew I wanted to be an engineer since age thirteen, but I loved history and English and never would have wanted to choose in high school. As a college student, I have seen a majority of my friends change majors at least once, something that is impossible in the UK because specialization starts at or before age sixteen. This carries on to college where there is almost no interdisciplinary work, even between different types of engineers. I think that in order to stimulate creativity and innovation UK education should not silo their education system, but rather allow for cross-discipline studies. For this reason, the University College London's civil engineering program no longer requires students to have math, physics and chemistry to be accepted. Students are encouraged to learn what they want to study and then pursue at UCL and I hope the rest of the UK will follow suit.

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