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I grew up in several countries, and had a really crazy time in school, twice I skipped a grade because I changed schools between countries, and twice I was held back a year. I was never in 7th or 9th grade, but twice in 8th and 11th, and in the grades with kids a year younger than me to 2 years older.

Do I have to worry about my children going through something similar if we change countries in the EU, or is school progress better regulated across boundaries nowadays. Like say university courses, with ECTS points that have to be reached in specific topics up to a certain year? Are there other countries outside of the EU which are similarly adjusted to switching between school systems?

Edit: to clarify, I mean all schooling systems before Higher Education (as in the graph in ppumpkin's answer).

  • Do you mean "primary" here .... in many EU countries (including the UK) this means up until around age 11/12. You are talking about 11th grade - which would be much older. – iandotkelly Mar 13 '14 at 14:57
  • Yea that is what I thought. Primary means schools that MUST be taken, secondary usualy higher school with a Maturity certificate and Tertiary as University. But really you can got from Primary to Tertiary, skipping secondary. – Piotr Kula Mar 13 '14 at 14:59
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    @ppumkin - well this should be clarified in the question. In the UK (and looking on wikipedia some other countries), primary goes up until age 11/12, secondary is still compulsory up until age 16. The UK has an optional step up until around age 18, and without that you can't go onto tertiary. So using the UK as an example you can't jump from primary to tertiary at all. – iandotkelly Mar 13 '14 at 15:02
  • Yes you can :) You can complete a foundation degree at university if you do not have A levels or whatever they called here. The same course exists almost in every country now. THis adds 1 year to Uni and usually costs 100%. – Piotr Kula Mar 13 '14 at 15:04
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    @ppumkin ... not from primary as defined in the UK and France (for example) ... age 10 (France) age 11/12 (England). My point is that the use of the term "Primary" is ambiguous and is already leading to answers referring to "an early age". My point is that "primary" in many if not most EU countries does equate to "compulsory", it is often the first compulsory education stage. – iandotkelly Mar 13 '14 at 15:09
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No, it isn't. Only very recently, as in the last decade, the Bachelor/Master structure on university was sort of normalised. Still European degrees are not automatically recognized

Having said that, I wouldn't worry to much. Dealing with all these discrepancies at an early age is great preparation for life as an expat. If you worry, you could also consider sending your kids to an international school.

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    "Dealing with all these discrepancies"... I'm not worried about the kids, but rather the paperwork battle for the parents ^^. Unless by early age you mean adults in their early-30s :) – Rafael Emshoff Mar 13 '14 at 14:47
  • Sometimes a talk with a decent principle of a school is sufficient and spares you the paperwork "battle" – Andra Mar 13 '14 at 14:52
  • Universities are not primary education but tertiary. Its not what the OP was asking. ANd what is an International school? – Piotr Kula Mar 13 '14 at 14:55
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    @ppumkin - I think the answer is using the fact that tertiary eduction is only just becoming normalized, to contrast that primary is very far from that. Also, I think the OP might be misusing "primary" - perhaps to mean up to but not including college/university. – iandotkelly Mar 13 '14 at 15:00
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    @ppumkin there is really no such thing as "Most of EU". Really after 8 years living in being married to a Belgium teacher I still can't fully compare between the different tastes of secondary school between Belgium and the Netherlands where I am a citizen. Here both countries even speak the same language. – Andra Mar 13 '14 at 15:12
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Education in European countries before EU was pretty hectic and followed varied standards of education.

This is a process undergoing changes still today as Education tries to meet some kind of EU suggested standards.

Since some countries joined EU, there were many school reforms to try and normalise how children are taught. Poland, among the few european countries, reformed their schools in about 1998~2001 to met EU criteria.

  • Polish schooling systems is equivalent to German schooling now a days.
  • British schooling ignored EU suggestions and still use the same system as before

This, my brother and myself were either side of the reforms. I was "old school" and my brother was "new school" - My brother had allot of extra curriculum offered by EU funds that myself neither my friends had. My brother has it allot easier today to carry on education in UK without any trouble, as his education conforms to some kind of EU suggestions.

I had to translate my documents and university stuff, which was a nightmare. But, in general school was much easier for me. My brother really got a beating with raised standards.

Each country still decides what curriculum they learn but mostly there is pressure on English to be taught, even as a 3rd or 4th language.

enter image description here

In most European countries your child can decide if which secondary school he wants to do but he doesn't have to go to any. In POland before reform the diagram above only included Lyceum and practical school. Now, after reforms you can go any route your wish.

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    It seems Poland just followed German practice (which is fine as far as it goes) but I don't recognize this as a general “European” system. It's not only England but also France and presumably many other EU countries in the West and North of Europe that have very different systems. I am not aware of any serious effort to standardize this. – Gala Mar 13 '14 at 18:23

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