Study the following vocabulary before reading the text:
redbrick university – университет, построенный из красного кирпича
pre-eminence – превосходство
don – старший преподаватель
apart from – кроме
part-time education – вечерняя форма обучения
There are now 46 universities in the United Kingdom: 35 in England, 8 in Scotland, 2 in Northern Ireland and 1 in Wales.
All British universities are private, that is not state-controlled institutions. Each has its own governing council, including some local businessmen and politicians as well as a few academics.
Students have to pay fees and living costs, but every student may receive a personal grant from the local authority of the place where he lives.
British universities can be divided into 3 main groups: the old universities; the redbrick ones, which include all the provincial universities of the period 1850–1930, as well as London University; the new universities, founded since the Second World War.
In the group of old universities Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest ones. Although they have together less than a tenth of the whole student population, they have special pre-eminence. A number of well-known scientists and writers, among them Newton, Darwin and Byron, were educated in Cambridge.
These 2 universities differ greatly from all the others in general organization, methods of instructions, syllabuses, traditions, history, etc. They are based on colleges (law, music, natural science, economics, agriculture, engineering, commerce, education, etc.), each college having about 300 students.
The teachers there are commonly called “dons”. Part of the teaching is by means of lectures organized by the university. Apart from lectures teaching is carried out by tutorial system, for which these 2 universities have always been famous. This is a system of individual tuition organized by the colleges, each tutor being responsible for the progress of the students. The students go to the tutor’s room once every week to read and discuss essays which they have prepared.
The typical academic programme for university students in Britain is composed of a varying number of courses or subjects. The academic obligations for each subject fall into 3 broad types. Lectures, at which attendance is not always compulsory, often outline the general scope of the subject matter and stress the particular specialization of the lecturer. Tutorials, through individual or group discussion, reading extensively, and writing essays under the tutor’s direction, ensure focused and in-depth understanding of the subject.
Examinations on each subject require the student to consolidate his knowledge of the subject, which he has gained through lectures, discussions and a great deal of independent study. These 3 categories of academic activity – lectures, tutorials and examinations – provide the means by which students prepare themselves in specialized fields of knowledge in British universities.
The course of study at a university lasts 3 or 4 years. In general Bachelor’s degree, the first academic degree, is given to the students who pass their examination at the end of the course: Bachelor of Arts, of history, philosophy, language and literature, etc., Bachelor of Science or Commerce or Music.
In 1971 the Open University was set up for the people who do not have time or the qualifications to study at a conventional university. The students of the Open University need to study about 10 hours a week, to write essays, and to prepare for exams. There are weekly Open University lectures broadcast on BBC television and radio. The final mark is based on the exam and the written assignments done during the year. It takes 6 (or 8) years to get a degree. One who gets a degree may have a better job, higher pay or post-graduate studies.
Some universities have extra-mural departments.
Besides universities there are 30 polytechnics, numerous colleges for more specialized needs, such as agriculture, accountancy, art and design and law, a few hundred technical colleges providing part-time and full-time education. It is common for students to leave home to study, and only 15% of all university students live at home while they study.
Text 5. FAMOUS Universities of the UK