Economics and education

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UK is one of the world’s great trading powers and financial centres and its essentially capitalist economy ranks among the four largest in Western Europe. Over te past two decades, te Government has greatly reduced public ownership in a poliicy of privatisation.
ENERGY: the UK also has a large coal, natural gas and oil reserves: primary energy production account for around 10% of gdp(pil). However this sector only employes around 1.2% of the population. During the Thatcher government a lot of unprofitable coal pits were closed down. The UK is the world’s fifth largest producer of oil, but reserves from the North Sea, which were discovered in the 1960, are beginning to run down. Nuclear fuel is another source which accounts for as much as 26% of the total electrical supply.
AGRICOLTURE: agricolture covers around 60% of the country food needs, it makes up the 1,5% of gdp.However this sector only employes around 1%. Main items which are produced: cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables. There is also a large number of live produce: cattle, ship, poultry, fish.
In the 1996 there was the scandal of BSE, lots of farmers were forced to destroy their stock without any compensation. In the 1999 most of the EU country begin to impor British beef again.
INDUSTRY: Textile industry, ship-building, iron and steel production has seen gradual declines in recent years, especially when faced with competition from Japan, Usa and other European countries. Employes 18%, gdp 30%. It’s strong in chemicals, coputers, scientific and technical instrumentation, machi8nery and components for the aerospace industry.
SERVICES: Especially particularly banking, insurance, and business services account for by far the largest proportion of gdp(67%), employs 68.9%. London Stock Exchange is one of the major stock exchanges in the world.
FINANCE: UK has one of the oldest and most highly developed financial systems. The center is London. Most of the major instututions are found here:Stock Exchange, Lloyds of London, the Bank of England. UK’s central bank is not indipendent and must follow the directives of the government.
CURRENT SITUATION: In the past Union power was still curtailed, inflation was low (currently at 2.7%) and Britain was a confident member of the EU. The most recent devolopments for New Labour have been the following:
-The Bank of England was given control over interest rates, this had previously been a government prerogative.Interest rates have risen steadily since the election and are now 7.1%.However this is still seen as low and has not effected the property market adversely.
-Pound is the strongest it has ever been, but it’s beginning to have adverse effects on British industry
-British industry is suffering from Britain’s exclusion from the euro, and will continue to suffer if Britain’s membership is delayed.
-Unemployment: around 7.5%. Government seems committed to reducing unemployment, but mainly by harsh measures such as cutting benefits to the unemployed.
EDUCATION: Is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16. 6% go to private schools. Playgroups and nursery:until 5 years (not compulsory), primay school (5-11), secondary school (11-16), secondary school/college and further education(16-18, not compulsory).
GCSE/A LEVELS: at 16 students take their GCSEs, they don’t repeat a school year they do badly in previous assessment tests or class exams. Then they can leave school or go on to take A levels (at their own secondary scool or go on to a College of Further Education). Students take A level in 3 or 4 subjects. The results determine if students can be admitted to universities.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: 6% of students -they have to pass the GCSEs and the A level, not the key stage tests. – to gain the entrace at secondary level, students need to take common entrace exam.
NATIONAL CURRICULUM: It was made in 1988 as part of the new Education Act. It have to ensure standards of education throughout the country for all pupits between 5 and 16. it divides subjects into: core subjects(maths, science, english: are compulsory from 5 to 16), foundation subjects(from 14 years old, after the key stage 3, students can choose which of theese they wish to take in addition to the core subjects.
FURTHER EDUCATION (18+): all colleges are now universities, and students need A levels to attend universities. Universities can choose their students from A level results. Students generally stay at university for 3 years (medical students 7 years). In the past univeristy education was free to all, now only low-income families receive a grant from te government. Most students receive a Bachelor’s degree: a BA for subjects in arts, a BSc for the sciences, a Bed to become a school teacher. After students go on to do post –graduate qualifications (masters – 1 year), other go on to doctorates(3 or 5 years)