Europe II











Comparison of Education Systems

The structure of the education systems in all of these countries is similar in that they begin with a nursery school, primary school, and secondary school. Overall, these systems stick to general core subjects of math, science, and language. One of the ways England and Ireland differ from the rest is that students only continue secondary school to the age of 16 at which time they take an exam called the General Certificate of Secondary Education Exam. After this exam, they can choose to take two more years of secondary school, they can continue to a university, or they can choose to attend a trade school. The GCSE is taken over specific subjects and the student chooses which subjects they would like to be tested on which will make them certified in this area. There is an art and design test option for the GCSE. Most universities ask for a minimum of five mastered subjects and, of these, Math and English are usually required. Austria stands out in that the secondary education becomes specialized at the secondary education level. In Ireland, within the six key areas of study that must be learned over their eight years of primary schools is arts education which includes visual arts, music and drama. In Canada, education and culture are kept very separate, and the arts is considered a part of culture so there is not a lot of school time spent on the education of the arts. In France as well there is a limited amount of time spent in schools on art education, it is seen as an extra-curricular activity.

Comparison of Finances

Finances for the arts and education in these countries seemed to differ quite a bit. Austria has its arts education funded by the government along with the rest of the its education system. English schools have the opportunity to apply for grants and scholarships for arts education. Charities in England will also support arts in the schools. Because of the separation of education and culture in Canada, the government extremely limits the funding they provide for arts in the schools. Canadian arts are therefore sponsored by organizations such as the Canadian Society for Education through the Arts and UNESCO. A surprise we ran into when researching the finances of arts education in these countries was that Ireland is funded half by their government and half on voluntary contributions. This showed us that Ireland really cares about keeping arts in their education. In France, the municipals take on a large role in funding for the arts. They spend about 25 euros per inhabitant on art education . Another surprise we ran into was that France has a lack of extracurricular activities including sports, drama, music, painting and crafts incorporated in schools.

For all of these countries to an extent, especially France, the arts are emphasized only if students choose to pursue them at the university level.