A tale of two education systems: my journey from Spain to the UK

By Maria Grande, Marketing Manager

As an international student who has lived and studied in both the UK and Spain, I’m very interested in comparing the two education systems.

I did my high school years in Spain, and let me tell you, the education system there is heavily focused on memorisation. We would spend hours cramming information, only to put it word for word on a piece of paper during exams. What type of impact does this have on students? Well, you guessed it… very little.

I remember almost nothing from the subjects I studied in school. It feels like all that memorisation was a waste of time, especially since I can’t even recall most of it in my adult life. This, in my opinion, is a fundamental flaw in the education system. By forcing students to memorise without actually understanding or applying logic, we are left behind.

On top of that, when I finished high school, I felt utterly unprepared for real life. I had spent years learning things I was never going to use again while gaining no practical skills. I would have loved to learn about taxes, financial planning, or even basic life skills that would have been useful in adulthood, skills that will allow me to create a successful life.

In contrast, my experience doing my bachelor’s degree in the UK was different. The education system there is more focused on critical thinking and understanding. Instead of just memorizing facts, we were encouraged to analyse and question what we were learning. This approach not only made the learning process more interesting but also ensured that the knowledge stuck with us long after the exams were over. I would have loved to have these types of problem solving techniques in school in Spain, however, I still felt there was still a lack of readiness for life jobs.

It’s clear to me that the education system in Spain needs a serious overhaul. The government must take action and implement reforms that prioritise critical thinking, practical skills, and real-world application of knowledge. By doing so, we can prepare students not just for exams, but for life. I also believe that the English education system could benefit from this approach as well.

The importance of government intervention cannot be overstated. Without changes at the policy level, schools will continue to churn out students who are ill-prepared for the challenges of adulthood. We need an education system that equips young people with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the real world, not just in the classroom.

So, here’s my message to the policymakers: listen to the students, parents, and educators. Understand the gaps in the current system and take concrete steps to address them. Our future depends on it. Let’s create an education system that truly prepares our youth for the future.

If you have any experiences or thoughts on the education systems in Spain or the UK, feel free to share them in the comments below. Let’s start a conversation about how we can make education better for everyone.

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