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Television [Saturday 19 Mar 2011 at 11:46 pm]
Watching Skins, I wonder. Do Brits usually leave secondary school at seventeen and attend a special A-levels "college" school for two years? Then do they apply to university for three or four years to pick up a bachelor degree? Is that the only way into university? And do they usually have to pay tuition to these two-year programs?

In The USA, most kids headed for higher education proceed at seventeen or eighteen to university right from free four year high school programs. Very few universities prefer or require achievement or aptitude tests like A-levels, though, and fewer yet take them seriously. The very idea of an important national test is very strange to me.


I watched the Korean production J.S.A. - Joint Security Area (공동경비구역 JSA). I thought it was going to be an action movie, but it wasn't. It was the ultimate bromance flick. Soldiers from the DPRK (North Korea) and RoK (South Korea) who man a closed border post (they're all closed border posts) hang out together smoking and drinking and playing games through long guard shifts out in the DMZ. Awkward political moments crop up pretty often as they must but the magical power of guys just hanging out together overcomes all troubles. Of course it's all purely hetero tough guy stuff with none of that 'subtext' I've heard about on eljay. Finally, as in real Korea life, politics asserts itself and you cry at the end.


Inscrutible foreign lands, Brittanica and Korea. I'd like to visit but it's too much trouble to pick up the languages. What's the difference between peckish, pissed, and knackered again?

[User Picture]From: gillo
Sunday 20 Mar 2011 at 02:52 pm (UTC)
BTW, tuition - education is free and legally available to all up to the age of 18. FE colleges are only allowed to charge their older students.

University-level colleges currently charge a bit over three thousand (pounds, not dollars, of course) per year, with living costs on top of that. Most students are entitled to a loan to cover all tuition and basic living costs, payable in instalments once they earn over fifteen thousand a year. The new government (*spit* bastards) plan to increase these charges massively very soon, along with the interest rate charged on these loans. It's controversial here. My generation - indeed, pretty much everyone over thirty - paid no tuition at all for their bachelors' degrees.
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[User Picture]From: owenthurman
Tuesday 22 Mar 2011 at 12:03 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for all the detail here about English school procedures. I'll never spend my time confused by an English school drama again just because I can't figure out anything about what I'm supposed to read into the age/school context.
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