Secondary Education

The Importance Secondary Education

Once you've completed primary education – the term used for compulsory education for minors – it's time to consider the importance of secondary education. In most educational systems of the world, secondary education is optional "higher" education – university, vocational school – for older teens and adults. Different cultures have different names for secondary education, referring to these institutions as high schools, gymnasiums, lyceums, middle schools, colleges, vocational schools and preparatory schools. The definitions change depending on where you are.

In most Western societies, secondary education begins somewhere between the seventh and the tenth year of school. In the United States and Canada, primary and secondary education in public schools is administered as one big organization, usually referred to as K-12." The purpose of secondary education is comprehensive learning in preparation for higher education or vocational schooling.

Secondary Schools in America

In the United States, high schools generally consists of grades 10 through 12, with grade 9 (freshman year) included in many districts. About 90 percent of American students complete secondary education. A high school diploma is usually required for entrance into a two or four-year college , although a GED certificate is acceptable, too. Students usually graduate from high school in the year of their 18th birthday. Grades 7 and 8 are usually educated together in middle school (called "jr. high" in some regions) with grades 9 through 12 educated together as high school. Interestingly, even if a child attend grade 9 as part of their middle school education, that grade is still considered the first year of high school for the purposes of calculating the student's grade point average (GPA). 

Laws in most states require school attendance until graduation from high school or age 16, but penalties are minimal and the laws are rarely enforced. Students who fail a grade may repeat it, and stay in high school past age 18. Some students attend alternative high schools, either because they're over 18 and returning to school to get their diploma, or because they have special needs (such as a learning disability or a disciplinary problem). In some states, students may attend secondary school up to age 21, and still receive a free public education.

Many students merely see high school as something to get through, never understanding the importance of their secondary education on their future until it's too late. But attending college is becoming more important than ever in the competitive job market, and students who get good grades during their secondary education generally have more job opportunities and earn higher pay than those who didn't receive a higher education. As difficult as the teen years are, it's an unfortunate fact of life that these are the years during which students need to pay attention to their grades, develop good study habits and plane for the future – in order to provide for themselves and their families, students need to see secondary education as a vital step in their educational journey.

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