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This is Glasgow Scotland. This is the fourth in our reports from Scotland today. We begin our exploration of the system of education in this country a system of long standing reputation yet one which is undergoing change. How good is the Scottish system. How is it alike and different from our own. What basic changes are underway. To find the answers to these and other questions I talked with Professor Stanley Nisbet dean of the Faculty of Arts at Glasgow University professor in his a bit is an authority on Scottish education and in the interview which follows He answers some of my basic questions. Historically Scotland has a reputation for very high standards in its educational
system. The press or news but would you comment on the reasons for this and perhaps indicate whether you think the country still deserves that reputation. The reasons I think are many historical Scotland long before most countries in the civilized world had what one could truly call a national system of education. In fact one could even point to the date when it came to best at least came to that spiritually in fifteen sixty when the Reformation came to Scotland. John Knox the great farmer drew up a famous document called The Book of Discipline. One of the chapters there outlined a national system of education. Ever since then this has been but the dream of fulfilling these ideals has been present in Scotland. It's true to say it only in this century that the dream has been completely filled. But ever since
perhaps about the year 16 96 there has been something approaching a national system of education in Scotland so. There that was far ahead of most other countries. And so that would explain the high standards but when you come to the second part of your question and I ask whether. Scotland can still boast a lead in education standards. One is very much more diffident about applying. I think probably. We could say that standards are still reasonably high in Scotland but the rest of the world has certainly caught up and here and there we wonder sometimes whether some countries haven't got beyond us. It would be true to say I think that. The standards are still high in Scotland.
But in certain directions at the lower levels of education standards are high and formal attendance in the primary school you'll find that compared to other countries the Scottish children below the age of 12 are rather better at spelling and farm a lot of magick and reading and writing. But it's not so certain that there are any better. In other things which are less fun which require a little bit of thought experiment is carried out. But recently a fairly expensive experiment which Scottish children at the ages of I think it was about 7 and 11 and 13 and 15 in. Scotland England and the USA were compared and this was not formally. The Scottish children. Were the heads but not when it came to
certain things which are part thoughts such as the interpretation of passages answering questions which were designed to see whether they had understood. The content of passages and one might very well argue that this is perhaps more important than the a farm attainments and so we're certainly not complacent in Scotland where realise that our formal standards at all levels of education are still high but we would like to improve standards which are in directions to pass more important that's at the lower levels at the higher levels in education. I would say that standards are still high but in a particular direction and this direction it's the traditional. Academic Dashon in Scotland that is still a profound respect. Thought of their traditional academic subjects the classics in mathematics and pure science and literature and so on and we still
have some way to go before we can persuade people that Technology Engineering and Applied Science and various fields of that's art are equally deserving of respect. And so this is how I would say that the answer the difficult question our standards are still high. I think they are but I think that the traps narrow as well as high. Well thank you for those comments and now I think we would like to hear a little more detail about the system itself perhaps just a brief outline of the educational system of scholars. Yeah we have a seven year primary school compulsory schooling begins at age 5 and Scotland as an infant. There's a seven year trying to school which goes from age 5 to age 12
at the age of 12. Children transfer out to secondary schools. All children go to secondary schools. The school leaving age is 15. But. It has to be raised to 16. By the year in the year 1970. And now at secondary school. And in the fall at the end of the fourth year of secondary school that it should be about the age of 16. If they stop secondary school at the age of 12. They take. An examination. Which is called. That which leads to the Scottish Certificate of Education. At the examination. At the end of the first year. At age of 16 that is for those who have stayed until 16 someone up some of them left at 15 but also stayed on for the fourth year. There. They take this examination at what is known as at. The artillery level. Later in the next year they.
Can take the same examination but at what is called the higher level or two levels out as we call them in Scotland grades which are pretty great. At the end of the fourth year the hired age at the end of the fifth year at age usually about the age of 17 now. At the age of 17 after five years of secondary education. The pupil takes this habit examination and it's quite possible for him to achieve all he requires for university entrance then. But. Many that at least half. Of Scottish Yorkers. Who would like to go on to higher education. Stay on for a sixth year at the school. Beyond the time when they've achieved university entrance and that are various ways in which schools provide a course for those who go on to 60 years.
Some of them. Who haven't quite made sufficient marks in the. High. Scottish 52 education examination in the fifth year go on to 68 in order to patch it up and to make up the deficiencies. And the others. Have. As I say other ways of filling in the time which the school she got is profitable but there is a system. I wonder if you would clarify one other aspect of the Scottish system and that has to do with the segregation of the academic and the non academic pupils. This is a very interesting question of course. And a particularly. Interesting to Americans I would think. Because in America. We a that is our least we here believe that there is little or no segregation of fake academic pupils from others but
in dead Britain and as in most European countries this separation is traditional in England. We find those who are going to take longer academic secondary course. Going into what are called grammar schools and those who are going to take a shorter. Non-academic caution going into what are called secondary modern schools. In Scotland we don't use these terms. But. I do enjoy them. It's somewhat. Similar at least has been up to No. The academic pupils. Take in go into. Senior Secondary School. Or. Take Senior Secondary course. In. Scotland. We use the term. Senior Secondary School instead of the English grammar school and we use the term junior secondary school instead of the English secondary modern school.
In Scotland. One would find that. Out of our. Complete age group. Going through primary school. Perhaps about one cent. Would be allocated at the age of 12. To. An academic caution. Which would be designed to last for five or six years would be called. A. Senior secondary pupils rather pupils undertaking a senior secondary cause of going to a senior secondary school. This course would last five or six years and that a meeting two thirds would be allocated to a junior secondary schools after Junior Secondary cautious. And these courses would be designed to last for. Three years should usually. Be ending at 15
when they could leave school now. After talk about segregation as it has been. There up to now. But since the war. That has been. Steady. Move. Towards comprehensive education as. Distinct from. Segregated education. This has happened both in England and in Scotland but in Scotland. The. Comprehensive idea. Is probably on the whole more congenial to the people than it is in England. And. Although. I have explained the segregation of academic and on academic pupils. In other definite terms. In fact. In Scotland apes. Are more. Common than us. To. Find. Not separate schools for these pupils. But. Separate classes inside the same school. And myself for instance
say I was educated. At. The high school of Dun famine. In. Frankfurt. And. I attended classes which were leading to a for a Senior Secondary course. But. In the same school where pupils were attending known to them it was used to the idea of mixing up academic and nonacademic pupils. Quite common in Scotland. And. In recent times. The comprehensive principle has. Become more emphasis and more and more emphasized. And No. Great Doubt is being thrown on the wisdom of. Any classification of any segregation. We're going very slow going slowly in this matter. But the move is all in the direction of taking down that agility of classification making the cautious as flexible as possible. In order to make sure that no.
Doors are closed. Possible entrance to higher education which Pema church stage. Would you comment on the role of the private schools and perhaps the church schools in Scotland. Yes. I expect you're thinking of the famous English public schools. I am. In Scotland. We use the town public schools. But. Officially. The town in Scotland means what it does in America and in most parts of the world a public school in it with a small p in a small s not capital letters. Public school is a public that provided school means a school that's provided by the state or by the public authorities and the great majority of our schools are public schools in Scotland. In that sense. And. There we do have one not two. Public schools with
which color the capital of the English type. In Scotland. A few. But in a sense they're regarded as alien institutions they don't mix in with the rest of the community and in fact many of the pupils are sons and daughters of English people who are living. At the temporally in Scotland. But take. On the whole. I think. One has to. Emphasise this fact. That's. Ensconced and education is essentially And traditionally historically public affairs. Private schools have never been looked at favorably in Scotland and in the empty. Days. In the. 17th and 18th centuries for instance. The public authorities very often took vigorous steps to suppress any private attempts to run schools and day.
We don't do that now but that generally speaking private schools are not in Scotland as a whole. Thread are not looked at with great favor. The education tends to be thought of as a public affair. And. Without going into details. I think. That that the best figure I could quote. It would be the. Figure that the percentage of pupils who attend. Purely private schools that is what we call independent schools situations a little bit complicated because as well as purely public schools in the Scottish sense and purely private schools there were a number of intermediate schools or types of school which have. A private add on but receive a certain amount of public assistance into a public control and it just doesn't find that this middle type as public schools. We can say that only 2 percent. 2 percent.
Of Scottish pupils. And educate it in. Completely private schools. In Scotland. Since 1918. The. Question of. Denominational schools. And that means maintain a Roman Catholic schools. Because say it in schools were integrated it's had always been integrated fairly easily into the international system. Since 1918. There has been no difficulty with the Catholic schools either. And next year an agreement was reached whereby all the Catholic schools. Were fully integrated into the public system and the teachers of the the cost of running the schools met 100 percent by the public authorities and teachers appointed by the public authorities in every way they are just like out of public school. The only difference is this. That. The church
authorities. Are allowed. To. Vent their faith and morals of the teachers that are planted in other words their ecclesiastical authorities. Must approve. The religious belief and. Moral character of the teacher who is appointed but subject to that. Vetting. The schools just doubters are going to come pick schools and so. When I said that only 2 percent. Of the population educated in private schools I did not include the denominational schools. Because they're fully integrated into the public system. What are the attitudes and perhaps even policies of the educators in this country with respect to co-education. Well they the idea of formulating a policy has never arisen since from the erroneous times bison gals have been educated together in Scotland.
In a few places. By schools and ghetto schools a grown up usually through the influence of the. Soufan influence of some sort including in this sense English influence but. In most Scottish Schools small Scottish Schools are co-educational. Than in the cities particularly Edinburgh and Glasgow. And it's at the deed. One finds quite a number of by schools you get all schools but in the rest of the country co-education is going on. Now I want to create my turning to the university level for just a moment and I'm interested in finding out. About. Trance requirements of your universities and Scott. This is something which is dead being argued about very strongly at the moment because. In addition to the four ancient Scottish and vastness.
The. Three if which date from the 15th century and one from the 16th century. Base in tenders Glasgow. Aberdeen and Edinburgh. In addition to these four ancient universities. There are four new universities which. There are. Well. One of them is only three four years old one of them has just come into existence now and two have still to. Be. Established there. For newer universities and for ancient universities. Haven't always quite agreed as to the principle on which they should select their entrance. But. The. General. Pattern. Has been. For a. Very long time. That off a. Common engine she climbs.
We do have. A single board the Scottish University's entrance. Which fixes. The number and level of examination process in the Scottish 58 of education or equivalent examination which is required before anyone can be admitted to a university. The Scottish University's entrance fixes the. Examination requirements for entrance to university. There. For a long time. The meeting of these are plants. Meant that one could simply walk into the university. To meet the admission requirements for some more or less equivalent to being admitted to university. This. Fitted in with. What. Is perhaps the traditional. Teaching aid of the Scottish public. Universities. I mention. Because.
To fish. In a rather subtle way from the English conflicts attitude to the inclusion of Vashti's. Scottish attitude is perhaps a little more. Akin to. That to be found on the continent and I think also in many many can states the idea. That. University Entrance is not a privilege but the right of someone of a citizen who is qualified to enter. In a dance and generally this is always been the tradition of you. And Germany a student who had the Abbey tour. Could claim an entrance to any university. And the idea although it's never been talked about much in Scotland has been. Traditionally been that anyone who qualifies for university entrance to be able to get in. And so. When. In the way of designing admission to universities increased after the war.
Has such an extent that the universities could no longer accommodate them all. And the universities had to begin to select. Among those who were qualified and to reject. A number of qualified people. Those data intonation in Scotland. And. In fact this ace still exists every now and again. There is our complaint that a number of. Students who are formally qualified to enter a Scottish university went able to find a place. I happened to be dean of the Faculty of Arts at the moment. And to. Hand sometimes the target of these complaints. Not so long ago. In the town council of Glasgow. Councillors. Suggested that something should be done. To. Meet the difficulty caused by the rejection of a number of Glasgow bias and ghettos. Last year. Who were formally qualified to enter the University of Glasgow but who had
been. Unable to get in. Now. In England this sort of thing. Is less likely to this sort of complaint is less likely to be made because of. Tradition. There. Has been. Rather. In the past to take. The university's. Such a privileged community. And that this privileged community can select its own members and it is a definite and normal thing to have many more people. Asking for admission in effect can be admitted. You asked about how. This is how this is affected how this university entrance works. First of all then. Theres meeting this common entrance requirement. I think their satin parlors with your college entrance bought in America. The. Scottish universities entrance but. Then. Best of all the student at wanting to enter the
university has to satisfy the university entrance BIOS's examination results are good enough. And once he gets this what we call a certificate of fitness to enter university. Then he can apply for admission to universities. He may find it. Indicated very much more difficult to gain admission now more difficult in some faculties than others. For. Whatever reason. The demand for places in the faculties of Oxford and Scottish universities is much greater still. Than a demand for fish in other faculties. This is any link up with what I was saying some time ago about the respect for the academic disciplines. I don't know. But. Since the numbers applying for admission to OCS and better than those applying for admission to other faculties. He normally has to have. A much better. Record and examinations for he can be assured of admission to Ops.
Than he can if he was applying say for engineering. Nixon to. Err has many more applicants than. They cease and a fairly high standard is required for that mission to mention. Pure chance. They have to reject a few. But on the whole they can cope with. Most of. Those. Who are. Applying. That. Position with Saddam to universities. I think I might just mention one thing. In case it should interest anyone. In England. The reputation of the two great universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Is so great. That. When. Students are choosing universities. Most of the able students. Try Oxford and Cambridge first and if they can't get in there and try one of the other universities.
It's conference. This doesn't happen. A small number of very small number of able students. Have a shot at Oxford and Cambridge. The great majority of Scottish students choose Scottish universities where this is a good thing or not I don't know it may be that they're rather inchoate in Outlook and it may be that they should be more adventuresome and go not only to England but abroad for their university education as it is. We found this strong pool of Oxford and Cambridge which is such a marked feature of the dish university scene. AC Not to be found in Scotland and so our Scottish universities. Have a number of extremely able students. At the top. Academic levels. Which if they had been in England would probably have been cream to Oxford and Cambridge. You have just heard an interview with Professor Stanley MS but. Dean of arts at
Glasgow University and the next programme we will hear further comments from Professor news but on changes in the current system as well as the comments are other Scottish educators. We invite you to be with us them as we continue our reports from Glasgow. This is where you mewing among the Scots. This programme was distributed by national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
Amang the Scots
Status of education
Producing Organization
WOSU (Radio station : Columbus, Ohio)
Ohio State University
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program discusses the state of education in Scotland. It features an interview with Professor Stanley Nisbitt, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Glasgow University in Scotland.
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A documentary series about modern Scotland.
Race and Ethnicity
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Host: Goldovsky, Boris
Interviewee: Nisbitt, Stanley
Producing Organization: WOSU (Radio station : Columbus, Ohio)
Producing Organization: Ohio State University
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-26-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:50
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Chicago: “Amang the Scots; Status of education,” 1967-06-27, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “Amang the Scots; Status of education.” 1967-06-27. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: Amang the Scots; Status of education. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from