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Old 08-15-2012, 11:30 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 14,138
My father went through the UK school and university system. His opinion was that the UK, and presumably other places where the system was "good", segregated the college-track students fairly early on, and they learned more material and in more detail. The USA and Canada are notoriously egalitarian and teach the same lower level of detail to almost everyone up through high school.

Once they reach N. American undergraduate level, students specialize and then the University crams into them in 4 years what they should have been learning in the previous 4 years plus all the new material. By comparison, he said, UK university was much less intense because you already knew some of the material.

Graduate level - you ar dealing with some of the best minds in the world (in the right universities) and the interaction and breadth of exposure is what makes them good - not to mention the "snob" factor of a name university.

My impression from the media of Asian teaching (and Feynman also says this about Brazilian university) is that they promote rote learning and cramming. Despite modern "touchie feelie" thought about education, this process is probably best for learning the basics and the elementary material. Once you get to the graduate level, the need to think outside the box, to reason rather than regurgitate, is more important - and this is what the best universities anywhere are best at.

the old saw is that "universities are not teaching you the subject, they teach you to think" - that's not not too far off the mark.

Last edited by md2000; 08-15-2012 at 11:30 AM.