Secondary school

"High school" redirects here. For other uses, see High school (disambiguation).
"high school student" redirects here. For see also, see student.
Piarist Secondary School in Kecskemét, Hungary

A secondary school, often referred to as a high school or a senior high school, is a school which provides secondary education, between the ages of 11 and 19 depending on location, after primary school and before higher education.



In Nigeria, secondary school starts from JSS1(7th grade) until SSS3(12th grade). Most students start at the age of 10 or 11 and finish at 17 or 18. Students are required to sit for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE). To progress to university students must obtain at least a credit in Maths, English and three other subjects in WASSCE.


Main article: Education in Somalia

In Somalia, secondary school starts from 9th grade until 12th. Students start it when they are around 14 to 15 years of age and finish at 18. Students are required to study Somali and Arabic, with the option of either English or Italian depending on the type of school. Religion, chemistry, physics, biology, physical education, textile, art, design, and music are also typically available. When secondary school has been completed, students are sent to national training camp before going to either college, or military training. Similar to other institutes around the world, the age of pupils can vary as some students may be required to repeat a previous year if they have not achieved their academic potential, or may be allowed to skip a year if their level of achievement is higher than the grade level.

South Africa

In South Africa, high school begins at grade 8. Students study for five years, at the end of which they write a Matriculation examination.

As of 2008, students sit the National Senior Certificate examinations, which replaced the Senior Certificate and Further Education and Training Certificate. To progress on to university, students must attain a pass in their Home Language, an Additional Language, Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy, and Life Orientation, as well as at least three electives; see further under National Senior Certificate. (The system previously allowed for an examination at the Higher or Standard grade for each subject. Since 2008, this has been discontinued.)

An alternative Matric examination is offered by the Independent Examinations Board (IEB), a body representing various of the private schools in South Africa.


Main article: Education in Zimbabwe

Secondary school starts at Form One (Year 8) and ends at Upper Six (i.e. Sixth Form or Year 13).

Government, missionary and some private high schools offer the ZIMSEC curriculum and conduct ZIMSEC Ordinary Level (Form Four or Year 11) and Advanced Level (Upper Six) examinations.

Most private high schools offer Cambridge International Examinations curriculum and conduct Cambridge IGCSE, and Advanced Level for the same Forms as public high schools respectively.



In Bangladesh secondary school is called high school from classes 8 to 10. After this the students sit for their Secondary School Certificate. They then take admission to 'college', which is the name for senior secondary consisting of classes 11 and 12. Apart from that, in the Cambridge system, standard 1 to standard 4 is the junior section, standard 5 to 7 are the junior secondary section and from standard 8 to 10 is the beginning of high school. Students sit for their O' level and A' Level Examinations before applying for Universities.


In Brunei, secondary school lasts for five years, beginning in Year 7 and ends in Year 11, and typically aged 12 to 16. Entry to secondary school is based on Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (PSR) or Primary School Assessment taken at the end of Year 6 in primary school. Secondary years are divided into lower secondary and upper secondary. The former takes two years and, under the new education system Sistem Pendidikan Negara Abad ke-21 (translatable as 21st Century National Education System), the major assessment is Student Progress Assessment, replacing the phased out Penilaian Menengah Bawah or Lower Secondary Assessment.[1] Students then proceed to upper secondary, which takes three years and culminates in the sitting of Brunei-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level or simply known as O Level.[2] Students may then continue to the two-year sixth form, where they eventually sit for A Level for admission to bachelor's degree, or proceed to technical and vocational education where they can undertake various certificate and diploma programmes.[3]


Main article: Education in China
Lists of newly admitted students – posted outside of Linxia High School

In China, the term 'high school', also 'senior middle school' (高中), often refers to the senior part of the Chinese secondary education, as opposed to the junior part, which is more commonly known as '(junior) middle school'. Normally, students who have finished six years of primary education will continue three more years of academic study in middle schools as regulated by the Compulsory education law at the age of twelve.[4] This is not compulsory for senior secondary education, where junior graduates may choose to continue a three-year academic education in academic high schools, which will eventually lead to university, or to switch to a vocational course in vocational high schools.

Generally, high school years usually have two semesters, starting in September and February. In some rural areas, operation may subject to agricultural cycles. Number of lessons offered by school on a weekly basis is very subjective, largely depends on the school's resource. In addition to normal lessons, periods for private study and extracurricular activity are provided as well. The academic curriculum consists of math and drivers ed. Some schools may also offer vocational subjects. Generally speaking, Chinese, Mathematics and English are considered to be the three main subjects as they will definitely be examined in Gaokao. In most provinces, students also need to be examined in either natural sciences, which incorporate Physics, Chemistry and Biology, or social sciences, which incorporate Geography, History and ideology & politics.

In Chinese cities, the majority of high school graduates will go onto universities or vocational colleges. Given the fact that the intensity of the competition for limited university places is unimaginable, most high schools are evaluated by their academic performance in Gaokao by parents and students.[5]

Rural secondary education has undergone several transformations since 1980, when county-level administrative units closed some schools and took over certain schools run by the people's communes. In 1982 the communes were eliminated. In 1985 educational reform legislation officially placed rural secondary schools under local administration. There was a high dropout rate among rural students in general and among secondary students in particular, largely because of parental attitudes. All students, especially males, were encouraged to attend secondary school if it would lead to entrance to a college or university (still regarded as prestigious) and escape from village life.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong the government provides a twelve-year compulsory education to students in the territory. Students are promoted to secondary schools after finishing their primary school education. Until the 2008–2009 school year secondary schools had seven grades (Form/Secondary 1–7), but starting from school year 2009–2010 the 3–3–4 scheme is in operation; Form 4–6 has become Senior Secondary 1–3, Form 7 has been eliminated, and universities provide four years of education instead of three. At the end of the senior secondary education, students sit for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education organized by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.


Main article: Education in India

In India, high school is a grade of education from Standards VIII to X. Standards IX and X are also called Secondary School. Usually, students from ages 14 to 17 study in this section. These schools may be affiliated to national boards (like CBSE, ISC, and NIOS) or various state boards. Education is compulsory until age 14. Although most are stand-alone day schools, some popular schools are residential. Traditional second stage in formal education, typically beginning at ages 14–16 and ending at 16–18.[6]

A school where there are standards 11 and 12 (XI and XII) is called Higher Secondary School.


Junior High School, known locally as Sekolah Menengah Pertama or abbreviated as SMP, and the other part which is Senior High School, known locally as Sekolah Menengah Atas and in other terms, Sekolah Menengah Umum which are abbreviated as SMA and SMU respectively. There is also one institution similar to SMA, but they focused on one specific career major which is known as Vocational High School, know locally as Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan or SMK. Unfortunately, citizens of Indonesia are currently looking down on SMK graduates and are not preferable to be attended by students. Junior high school is a must for all citizens of Indonesia. It is managed by the Department of Education in Indonesia and stated in the Indonesian constitution where every citizen has the right to study. Graduate students from SMP and SMA or SMU and SMK are achieving different educational certificates. All the students of Indonesian high schools must pass in the National Examination (or UN, Ujian Nasional that tests 4 subject for middle school and 6 subject for high school) held by BSNP (Badan Standarisasi Nasional Pendidikan), an organization under the Department of Education of Indonesia.


Japanese high school students wearing the seifuku

The Japanese word for a secondary education is kōtōgakkō (高等学校; literally high school), or kōkō (高校) for short. High school in Japan covers grades 10 through 12. Although it is not mandatory, some 94% of Japanese people attend high school. The third year of high school in Japan is allotted for students to prepare for college exams known as "juken" (受験). Others may wish to settle for a job instead. High schools in Japan are referred to by MEXT as "upper secondary schools." Most English-language newspapers and sources use the term "high school". Many school boards also use "high school"; for instance the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Board of Education uses "senior high school". Generally the secondary school students spent most of the time out of the home. Classes commonly end at 3 or 4 p.m. After that the students go for their club activities.


Main article: Education in Iran

In Iran, "High school" is known in Persian as "Dabirestan"(دبيرستان). It takes 6 years, after primary school (Dabestan)(دبستان). Boys and girls enter high school after primary school at the age of 13. After the second year of high school, students choose their general branch (Mathematics and Physics, Experimental sciences, Social sciences, Arts, etc.). After this 4 years they have to study for a public "multiple question exam" called "Konkoor"(كنكور) that is held simultaneously in all cities every year for those who want to continue to universities.


Main article: Education in Israel


Main article: Education in Malaysia

Secondary school in Malaysia is considered as high school. Students attend secondary school in the age of 13 and usually graduate at 17. There is an optional form(Form 6) also known as Pre-University.

Secondary school in Miri, Malaysia

The Malay term for schools providing secondary education is sekolah menengah, translated as "secondary school" in English. Students in Form 1 to Form 3 are lower secondary students, while those in Form 4 to Form 6 are upper secondary students. The Malaysian secondary school education follows closely to the education laid out by the British as it is a Commonwealth country. There are two major exams in secondary school: the first is PT3 (Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3), for 3rd Formers, and the second is SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia or Malaysian Certificate of Education), for 5th Formers. (Prior to the introduction of the PT3, 3rd Formers used to take the PMR – Penilaian Menengah Rendah or Lower Secondary Assessment.) The PT3 consists eight compulsory subjects: Malay Language, English Language, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Living Skills and Islamic Education (for Muslim students only). While for the SPM, there are six compulsory subjects – similar to those taken in PT3, except for Living Skills and Geography (which are elective subjects on the SPM) – and six sections of elective subjects, which include (but are not limited to):

Students are then given a choice to continue their studies in local institutes, private institutes or Sixth Form.


Main article: Education in Pakistan

In Pakistan secondary school is called high school from grades 9 to 10. After successful completion of Elementary Education [(Class 1 to 5) Primary + (Class 6 to 8) Middle school education] the students receive Secondary Education. There are two high school systems prevalent there. First is the local matriculation system which is administered by both Federal[7] and Provincial Boards of Education and includes grades 9 and 10 after which pupils may be admitted into college (Intermediate). The second major education board there is the Cambridge International Exams GCE Ordinary Level conducted by the British Council. The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BOISE) arranges the examinations of Intermediate (Class 11 & 12)/ HSSC higher secondary school certificates and Matriculation (Class 9 & 10) secondary school certificates.


Education in Palestine refers to the educational system in Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Enrollment rates amongst Palestinians are relatively high by regional and global standards. According to a youth survey in 2003, 60% between the ages 10–24 indicated that education was their first priority. Youth literacy rate is 98.2%, while the national literacy rate is 91.2%[8]


In 2012, the DepEd started to implement the K–12 education system.

The high school from the former system will now be called junior high school, while senior high school will be the 11th and 12th year of the new educational system. It will serve as a specialized upper secondary education. With the senior high school, students may choose a specialization based on aptitude, interests, and school capacity. The choice of career track will define the content of the subjects a student will take in Grades 11 and 12. Senior high school subjects fall under either the core curriculum or specific tracks.

  1. Academic
  2. Technical-vocational-livelihood
  3. Sports and arts
  • The first track, the academic track, includes three strands which are:
  1. Accountancy, Business, and Management (ABM)
  2. Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS)
  3. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
  4. General Academic Strand (GAS)
  • The second track, the technical-vocational-livelihood, specializes in vocational learning. A student can obtain a National Certificate Level II (NC II), provided he/she passes the competency-based assessment of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. This certificate improves employability of graduates in fields like agriculture, electronics, and trade.
  • The third track, the sports and arts, is the track that is responsible for educating senior high school students on the fields of sports and arts.

The following table is the summarized version one of which is here.

School Grades in high school Age There have been changes in... No changes in... Implementation status
Junior high school Grade 7 12–13 Curriculum, Name Compulsory status Since 2012
Grade 8 13–14 Curriculum, Name Compulsory status Since 2013
Grade 9 14–15 Curriculum, Name Compulsory status Since 2014
Grade 10 15–16 Curriculum, Name Compulsory status Since 2015
Senior high school Grade 11 16–17 All aspects N/A Since 2016
Grade 12 17–18 All aspects N/A Starting 2017

The implementation of the revamped high school system under the K to 12 system will be under Phase II and Phase III of the entire program. The summary of the changes are as follows:

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, high school includes grade 10 through 12, covering ages from 15 to 18.


In Singapore, Singaporeans aged between 13 and 16 are required to attend secondary school after taking the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) at the end of primary education. The examination determines whether the student is ready to leave primary school by passing; places in secondary schools are allocated according to students' performance in the examination. The performance of the examination also determines which track or stream students end up in. The four different tracks or streams are: "Special", "Express", "Normal (Academic)", or "Normal (Technical)". Starting 2008, the "Special" stream has merged with the "Express" stream and are now considered one single stream.[9] The Normal Technical, Normal Academic and Express stream students will sit for the GCE 'O' level examinations as a graduation requirement and to gain entry into a high school/technological college (e.g. junior college, polytechnic or institute of technical education.)

South Korea

In South Korea, students from grades 10 through 12 attend high schools (referred to as high school 1st–3rd grade). Some subjects such as Korean, English, math, etc. are obligatory in high schools, while some other subjects are electives. High schools in South Korea may also have specialty subject tracks. For example, students who wish to follow science, foreign language, physical activity, or art tracks may choose to go to an academic science, foreign language, or other specialty high school (Hangul: 특수목적고등학교; RR: teuksu-mokjeok godeung hakgyo). These high schools are often hard to get into, especially science and foreign language, which creates competition to go to a good high school.

Academic high schools in South Korea are known to have demanding courses and strict discipline. It is usual in South Korea that academic high schools open before 8:00 am starting with one-hour self-study and end around 11:00 pm due to about 5 additional (mandatory) hours of self-study time (Hangul: 자습). While U.S. President Barack Obama stated that U.S. schools could learn from how South Korean high schools are run, some Koreans hold the high school education in Korea to be too competitive.[10]

Most Korean students may choose to go to common high school (Hangul: 인문계 고등학교; RR: inmungye godeung hakgyo) ; and other students may choose a vocational high school which emphasizes agriculture, commerce, or technical trade curricula (Hangul: 전문계 고등학교; RR: jeonmungye godeung hakgyo).

Unlike most developed countries, high schools in South Korea are neither free nor compulsory. However, 97 percent of Korean middle students do have aspirations to attend high school, according to a 2003 OECD study.[11]

General high schools in South Korea are called godeung hakgyo (고등학교; Hangul).


The secondary education in Taiwan includes junior high school, senior high school, vocational high school, military school and complete high school. The traditional secondary education institutions were established during the Japanese colonial era (1895–1945). Today, they include many features from the United States.

After six years in elementary school, the rules typically state that children must enter junior high school, or their parents may be fined. There are three grades in junior high. Children who achieve the third grade can choose to enter senior high school, vocational high school or complete high school. If children want to continue their formal education, they must sit for an exam. Generally speaking, the grade to enter high school and complete high school is highest, while it is lower to go on to vocational high school and military school.

Senior high school has three grades. Graduates from senior high school often continue on to university. Vocational high school has three grades as well. Children who complete vocational high school can then enter a technological university. Complete high school is like that of American high schools, in that it has grades seven to grade twelve.

There are also international schools such as Taipei American School (TAS), Taipei Adventist Preparatory Academy (TAPA), Taipei Adventist American School (TAAS), National Experimental High School (NEHS), Taipei European School (TES), Hshinchu International School (HIS), Morrison Academy (MCA), Morrison Academy Kaohsiung (MAK), and Kaohsiung American School. These schools offer grades from Kindergarten to grade 12. English is instructed for all courses. Since the curriculum concurs with the corresponding country's curriculum, graduates from these international schools generally do not stay in Taiwan for their undergraduate degree.


Main article: Education in Vietnam

High school and middle school education

High school education (Vietnamese: trung học phổ thông) consists of grades ten through twelve. The IGE is a prerequisite entrance examination for high schooling. The IGE score determines the schools at which students are able to enroll. The higher the score, the more prestigious the school.[12]

All subjects are compulsory for students.

Advanced classes consists of either:

At the start of secondary school, students can enroll in Specialist Classes if they pass the class entrance exam, which usually consists of a Mathematics exam, a Literature exam, and an exam of the subject that the student wants to specialize in. The specialised subject can be any of the subjects listed above, except Technology, Physical Education and Civics. Students enrolled in these programs have a heavier workload than regular secondary school students. The workload varies from school to school, but grade 11 students are generally expected to study grade 12 courses concurrently. Other courses include university-level courses. Some schools go as far as requiring their students to finish secondary school by the end of grade 10.

Only prestigious schools offer these classes, and they have yet to be standardized.

High Graduation Examination

All high school students in Vietnam are required to take the national High Graduation Examination (HGE), which is administered by the Ministry of Education and Training, at the end of grade 12 to get a diploma. They still have to take the regular end-of-term examinations before taking the High Graduation Examination.

The Standard HGE includes six subjects with a maximum value of 10 points each: mathematics, Vietnamese literature, foreign language, and three alternating subjects determined by the Ministry of Education and Training, varying each year. In order to graduate, a student needs to achieve at least a total score of 30 points with no paper to achieve zero-score. A score below this or a zero-score for any subject will also disqualify a student from taking part in the University Entrance Examination.

There is also an Alternative HGE for people not studying in standardized high school, occurs the same time with the Standard HGE. The six subjects included is mathematics, Vietnamese literature, and four alternating subjects determined by the Ministry of Education and Training, varying each year, three of which is the same with those of the Standard HGE. The graduation requirements are still remain the same.[13] Nearly 1 million students sit for the Leaving Examination in late May or early June every year.[14]



Main article: Education in Belgium

The Dutch "secundair onderwijs" as the French "enseignement secondaire" may be translated as "secondary education" and involves students aged from 12 to 18, scheduling between 32 and 40 hours of class a week.

In Belgium, there are four levels of "secondary education": ASO, TSO, KSO and BSO (Dutch) or ESP, EST, ESA and ESG (French).

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, the term "high school" (střední škola, literally "middle school") can refer to the last four, six or eight years of secondary education. Typically, pupils in the Czech Republic spend 9 years at elementary school before going to high school where they study for 4 more years. However, children can decide to leave elementary school after Grade 5 or, less commonly, Grade 7 to study at a gymnázium (sometimes translated as grammar school), which is considered as a better preparation for tertiary education, for eight or six years respectively.


Senior High School in Lappajärvi, Finland.
Main article: Education in Finland

After completing nine-year comprehensive school at the age of 15 or 16 (depending on when one is born), one has the chance to go to a vocational school (ammattikoulu) or an upper secondary school (lukio), the latter sometimes translated as "high school" in English. In the vocational school one can study to be an electrician, hairdresser, plumber etc. In upper secondary school students take about 30 courses per year on a variety of different subjects (Maths, Biology, Chemistry, different languages, Psychology, Health Education etc.). Normally they graduate in three years, usually at the age of 18 or 19, after taking the national matriculation exam (ylioppilaskirjoitukset). Typically students continue to university (yliopisto) or University of Applied Sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu), but some decide not to go to any school after secondary school, even though getting a job without a degree can be hard.


Main article: Education in France

See Secondary education in France#Lycée


Main article: Education in Germany

In Germany, most states have a tripartite school system consisting of Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium but with many variants. There is also the Gesamtschule, which is a comprehensive school awarding the same school leaving certificates as Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium, respectively.

Hauptschule, which ends at grade 9 (age 15/16 years) with Hauptschulabschluss, and Realschule, which ends at grade 10 (also age 16 years) with Mittlere Reife, are often followed by vocational education combined with an apprenticeship (dual education system). Gymnasium lasts until grade 12 or 13 (age 18 or 19 years) and leads to the Abitur. This type of school prepares students for studying at university or university of applied sciences.

In most German states, primary school ends with grade 4 (age 10 years) but some have grades 5 and 6 (age 11 and 12 years, respectively). Afterwards, teachers issue a formal recommendation which one of the three types of secondary school the student should attend based on academic ability.

Note that the German word Hochschule, the literal translation of "high school", means college or university, not high school (false friend).


Main article: Education in Greece

Secondary education in Greece comprises two stages: Gymnasio (variously translated as Middle or Junior High School), a compulsory three-year school, after which students can attend Lykeion (an academically oriented High School) or Vocational training.


In Ireland secondary schools go from first year to sixth year, with the typical student age being between 12 and 18. It is split into two cycles, the Junior Cycle – a three-year course with the Junior Certificate taking place at the end of third year and the Senior Cycle – a two to three-year course with the Leaving Certificate taking place at the end of the sixth year. Fourth year, also known as Transition Year, is optional, but is included as part of the senior cycle. The majority of secondary schools no longer allow their students to skip this year . Subjects vary slightly between the two certificates however English, Irish, and Maths are mandatory in both – with the exception of Irish in certain situations. These three subjects are offered at Higher, Ordinary, and Foundation Level (except Leaving Certificate English). Other subjects are only offered at Higher or Ordinary Level with the exception of Junior Certificate subject Civic, Social and Political Education which is Common Level. Education is mandatory up until the age of 16 or until the Junior Certificate has been sat. The majority of secondary schools also require students to wear school uniforms and in some cases a Physical-Education uniform as well. Secondary schools are sometimes called "college," e.g. Chanel College in County Dublin.


Main article: Education in Italy

In Italy, education is organized into 3 levels:


Main article: Education in Latvia

In Latvia, education is organized into 3 levels:

The term augstskola, which literally translates to "high school", refers to an institution of higher education. Education up to grade 9 is mandatory in Latvia.

Schools themselves are of several types:


In Lithuanian education system, aukštoji mokykla, which is a literal translation of "high school", actually refers to a college or a university, but not an institution that provides secondary education. Thus, universitetas (university) and kolegija (college) are both covered by the umbrella term aukštoji mokykla.

Secondary education is provided by institutions that are approved by the government for this type of education. There are three types of these institutions:

Pagrindinė mokykla provides only an incomplete secondary education as it is not sufficient if one wants to start studies at a university. People who want to continue their education to obtain the full secondary education diploma, which would allow them to join a university upon completing the pagrindinė mokykla, must either enter a gymnasium, lyceum, or a vidurinė mokykla.

A vidurinė mokykla is the most universal type of these institutions as it offers all levels of pre-college education, starting from elementary level up to the secondary level.


Main article: Education in Malta

In Malta, secondary schools are also called Junior Lyceums, compulsory education is organized in 2 levels:

At the end of form 5, a student has the option to sit O-levels. Success in these opens the option to spend two years in 6th form, where a student may sit A-levels and Intermediates. A-levels are harder than Intermediates but a student needs both to go to the next level of education which is university.


Main article: Education in Moldova

In Moldova education is organized in 3 levels:

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, there are four levels of secondary school: 'Praktijkonderwijs', VMBO, HAVO, and VWO.


Main article: Education in Norway

High school (Norwegian Bokmål: "Videregående Skole", Norwegian Nynorsk: "Vidaregåande Skule", or English: "Continuational School") in Norway is education and training that lead to general university admissions certification or vocational competence. Nearly all Norwegian students enter high school the year they become 16, and it is their 11th year of education. High school is normally provided with three years in school or with two years in school and two years in an enterprise. General studies primarily emphasize theoretical knowledge and lead to general university admissions certification. If one chooses general studies courses, you can enter university after three years. Vocational education and training leads to an occupation and to vocational competence with or without a craft- or journeyman's certificate. Choosing vocational education/training allows one to enter working life within 3–5 years. You also have an opportunity to take the supplementary programme for general university admissions certification.

High school in Norway is the most common education level as it provides the theoretical and practical education to work as a skilled worker e.g. a carpenter or chef. There are multiple basic programs to choose from and gives a complete understanding of the craft or profession obtained.

List of programs: 3 general studies

9 vocational

A craftsman's or journeyman's certificate is normally the only qualification needed to work in one's chosen profession. Further education is provided through technical school, which gives a more technical education at an advanced level, but is not college.

The Norwegian high school is not to be confused with høyskole (Scandinavian university college), an educational institution whose Norwegian name translates into "high-school". Whereas videregående skole provides secondary education, høyskole provides tertiary, and is in Norway similar to university college.


Main article: Education in Poland

Upper secondary education begins at the end of full-time compulsory education, preparing students for entry directly into the labour-market and/or tertiary (i.e. higher) education. Upper secondary education takes many forms.

General education can be pursued in general secondary schools (liceum): after 3 years, students can pass the "Matura", which grants access to higher education. Vocational and technical education is mainly provided by Technical schools (technikum) and/or basic vocational schools (zasadnicza szkoła zawodowa). Technical schools last 4 years and lead to the Matura. Their primary goal is to teach occupations and trades, the most popular being: accountant, mechanic, electronics specialist, and salesperson. Basic vocational schools also provide a vocational education lasting 2 years and grant a certificate of competence in various fields, the most popular being: shop-assistant, cook, gardener, automobile mechanic, hairdresser and baker. Graduates from basic vocational schools can pass the Matura after an extra-curriculum of 2 years in a general secondary school, or, since 2004, of 3 years in a Technical school. Profiled general secondary schools (liceum profilowane) provide a vocational education in 3 years, but only in fields described by the Polish Classification of Activities (PKD). In addition, mentally and/or physically handicapped students can join special schools (szkoła specjalna) which prepare to the Matura in 3 years.


Main article: Education in Portugal

Secondary education It is only after the 9th year of basic schooling that the Portuguese General Education system branches out into different secondary programmes, a higher education-oriented (general secondary programmes), a work-oriented (technological secondary programmes) and an artistic-oriented programme. The conclusion of secondary education (general, technological or artistic programmes) with passing grades confers a diploma, which will certificate the qualification thus obtained and, in the case of work-oriented programmes the qualification for specific jobs. All General and Technological programmes share the following subjects known as General Formation:

Portuguese Language (10th, 11th and 12th years)

Physical Education (10th, 11th and 12th years)

Philosophy (10th and 11th years)

Foreign Language (10th and 11th years)

Catholic (or other confessions) Moral and Religious Education (10th, 11th and 12th years - facultative)

General Programmes:

Sciences and Technologies

Main subject - 10th, 11th and 12th years - Mathematics A Specific subjects - 10th and 11th years - Biology and Geology, Descriptive Geometry, Physics and Chemistry (two of these) Optional subjects - 12th year - Biology, Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology or others (two of these)

Social and Human Sciences

Main subject - 10th, 11th and 12th years - History A Specific subjects - 10th and 11th years - Geography, Foreign Language II (or III), Portuguese Literature, Math Applied to Social Sciences (two of these) Optional subjects - 12th year - Law, Sociology, Latin, Geography, Psychology, Philosophy, Economics or others (two of these)

Socio-Economic Sciences Main subject - 10th, 11th and 12th years - Mathematics A Specific subjects - 10th and 11th years - Economics, History B, Geography (two of these) Optional subjects - 12th year - Economics, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, Law or others (two of these)

Visual Arts

Main subject - 10th, 11th and 12th years - Drawing A Specific subjects - 10th and 11th years - Descriptive Geometry, Mathematics B, History of Culture and Art (two of these) Optional subjects - 12th year - Art Atelier, Multimedia Atelier, Materials and Technologies, Psychology, Philosophy or others (two of these) Professional Programmes Sport Architect Technician Civil Construction Electronics Computing Equipment Design Multimedia Administration Marketing Environment and Territory Order Social Action Social Animation others Specialized Artistic Programmes Music Dance Drama and Cinema Visual and Audiovisual Arts others


Main article: Education in Romania

In Romania, secondary school is commonly referred to as liceu (lyceum in English). The students usually enter the lyceum at the age of 14 or 15, and graduate when they're 18 or 19. In order to graduate and get a baccalaureate diploma, they must pass the BAC exam, and they must have fulfilled the four years (9–12) of post-secondary education. The secondary school diploma is enough to get a job in various domains.


Main article: Education in Spain

In Spain, after Elementary school, there is secondary school, which are grades 7 to 10. They are called 1º de la ESO, 2º de la ESO, 3º de la ESO and 4º de la ESO. ESO stands for "Educación Secundaria Obligatoria", which would be translated as Obligatory Secondary Education. What they call high school in Spain would be the "Bachillerato", which are grades 11 and 12. In these two grades there are common subjects to all the students, and the elective subjects which vary depending on the career you want to study in the university. The education is more specialized in different areas: there are the pure sciences, in which you take physics, chemistry and biology (for science careers). You can also choose technological sciences, in which the elective subjects are physics, chemistry, and technical drawing (for engineering careers and architecture and design), there is also social sciences, which involve subjects such as economics, history and geography. The fourth modality is humanities, specialized in languages (philology careers), and the elective subjects are Greek and Latin. Lastly, you can choose arts, of which there are three different types, depending on the art: dancing, drawing, and drama.


Main article: Education in Sweden

Secondary education in Sweden is divided into two stages, with grades 7–9, the three final years of compulsory education, called högstadiet ("the higher stage") and grades 10–12 called gymnasiet.[15] The Swedish gymnasieskola, upper secondary school, is voluntary, though 99% of all students attend; it provides preparatory and vocational programmes, with a large majority attending the preparatory programmes.[16]

United Kingdom

England and Wales

Medina High School, one of the five state-maintained high schools on the Isle of Wight.

In England and Wales, secondary school is for students typically aged 11 to 16 or 18.[17] Secondary school incorporates Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 of the National Curriculum Year Seven to Year Eleven. After Year 11 they may leave school but must stay in some form of education until they are in the equivalent of Year 13/Upper Sixth. This could involve doing A-Levels or BTECS at a sixth form college, vocational diplomas at college or an apprenticeship. The last year group that could leave compulsory education after Year 11 was the Year 11 class of 2012. (Started Reception/Foundation Year in 2000.)

Some of the country, including the Isle of Wight, Northumberland and parts of southern England and the Midlands, chooses a three-tier system, with the addition of a "middle" or "junior" (Years 5–8) school. In these areas, secondary schools are often referred to as "high schools" to avoid confusion as they are not the "second" school. The term "tertiary" is never used to describe secondary or high schools in such areas.


The "Core Curriculum" is the compulsory secondary curriculum for Key Stage 3 and 4 years/Forms 7-11/1-5.

GCSEs must be taken in English, Maths and Science.

Also compulsory until Year 11/ Form 5 are:

Examinations in these subjects are not compulsory, but a full or short-course GCSE may be sat if the student wishes. In some schools (mainly independent schools or high-achieving selective state secondaries) examinations in some of these subjects are school policy.

'Key Stage 3' Year 7-9/ Form 1–3 Curriculum

The "Core Curriculum" plus the other Key Foundation subjects


Balwearie High School in Kirkcaldy – an example of a high school in Scotland

As the term "High School" originated in Edinburgh, Scotland, this is the most common phrase used when referring to the second tier of education in the country. Scotland has a long history of universal provision of public education, and the Scottish education system is distinctly different from the other countries of the United Kingdom. The Scotland Act 1998 gives Scottish Parliament legislative control over all education matters, and the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 is the principal legislation governing education in Scotland.

Traditionally, the Scottish system at secondary school level has emphasized breadth across a range of subjects, while the English, Welsh and Northern Irish systems have emphasised greater depth of education over a smaller range of subjects. Secondary schools in Scotland typically have six years, 1st to 6th, with pupils able to leave school from 4th year if they are 16 before a set date. Pupils generally go into 1st year aged 11 or 12, and leave after 6th year aged 17 or 18. In certain independent schools, there is a transitus year for pupils around 10 or 11 between primary and secondary education.

The majority of state schools are non-denominational, but as a result of the Education Act 1918, separate denominational state schools were also established. The vast majority of denominational state schools are Roman Catholic but there are also a number of Scottish Episcopal schools. The school buildings are built and maintained by the Roman Catholic Church were handed over to the state under the Education Act. Since then, the Catholic schools are fully funded by the Scottish Government and administered by the Learning Directorate. As part of the deal, there are specific legal provisions to ensure the promotion of a Catholic ethos in such schools: applicants for positions in the areas of Religious Education, Guidance or Senior Management must be approved by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, which also appoints a chaplain to each of its schools.

Qualifications at the secondary school and post-secondary (further education) level are provided by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, which is the national awarding and accrediting body in Scotland, and delivered through various schools, colleges and other centres. Political responsibility for education at all levels is vested in the Scottish Parliament and the Learning Directorate.

The Americas


Secondary education in Argentina comprises two levels, resulting in a length of 12 years together with primary school. Both are compulsory. Years 1st to 3rd are common to all schools (Ciclo Básico). Years 4th to 6th are organized in orientations (Ciclo Orientado) such as Accounting, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Arts, Sport, Design, among others. An additional year is offered in certain schools (Technical-Professional schools), which grants a professional title, also with orientations (agriculture, electricity, mechanics, construction).


Main article: Education in Brazil

In Brazil, admission to secondary school requires the student to achieve a specific grade in primary school (normally 5 on grades from 0 to 10). Secondary school is the same as high school plus second Fundamental Year in all Brazilian states, and is normally attended by 10- to 18-year-old students.

It is part of the Brazilian ensino básico ([ẽˈsinu ˈbaziku], "basic education"), which includes early childhood, elementary and secondary education (the latter two mandatory), all of those parts of the Brazilian public education that should be provided free, as obligations of municipal (only for early childhood and elementary education) or state governments, to all its citizens (including adults) as defined in the rights of the Constitution of Brazil, and the duration is ideally 18 years if one enters day care in their birth year (pronounced [ˈkɾɛʃi], in Brazil this term is synonymous with nursery school or preschool).

Secondary school in Brazil is aimed to prepare students for the entrance exam to universities (private or public) called "Vestibular". Every year, students are evaluated by ENEMExame Nacional do Ensino Médio (National High School Exam). The grade obtained in this exam is often used as a part of the Vestibular process. The Federal Government of Brazil offers full (100%) or partial (50%) scholarships at private Universities for students well graded in ENEM egressed from public high schools in the program called PROUNI – Programa Universidade para Todos (University for Everyone Program). The secondary school learning encompasses four fields of knowledge:

  1. Humanities (History, Geography, Philosophy, Sociology and Arts);
  2. Natural Sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology);
  3. Mathematics;
  4. Languages (Portuguese and Língua estrangeira — at least one foreign language, English and/or Spanish).

Recently Philosophy and Sociology, which were banned during the military government (1964–1985), became compulsory again.

Educação física ("physical education", or gymnastics) classes are generally available. Foreign languages, such as French or Esperanto, are also available in some cases. Informática (in this case referring to "computer science") and Música ("music education") are less common.


Main article: Education in Canada
Ursula Franklin Academy, a high school in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

In Canada secondary schools (also known as High schools) are educational institutions consisting most commonly of students enrolled in grades ten through twelve (ages fifteen to eighteen). Four provinces' high schools consist of grades nine to twelve, and in Quebec, high school years are Secondary 1 through to Secondary 5 (grades 711). Variations and subdivisions of these structures are fairly common. The majority of high schools in Canada schedule classes running from late August or early September to mid or late June with a summer break during July and August.

Canadian high schools offer many extracurricular activities, including athletics. The most popular sports in Canadian high schools are ice hockey, rugby, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, football, baseball, basketball, track and field athletics, and volleyball. Grad, also known as "senior prom" or "formal", is a very popular activity amongst graduating students. Many non-sporting extra-curricular activities are offered in Canadian high schools, including drama, student newspaper club, yearbook club, and computer club.

An increasing number of international students are attending Canadian high schools. Among all boarding secondary schools in Canada, Columbia International College is the largest, with around 1,400 international students from 66 countries.


Main article: Education in Chile

Secondary education is called educacion media in Spanish. Teens attend from age 14 to 18 years, and it is mandatory. Secondary education is divided into four grades.

  1. Primero Medio (First Grade of secondary education) 14–15 years old
  2. Segundo Medio (Second Grade of secondary education) 15 – 16 years old
  3. Tercero Medio (Third Grade of secondary education) 16 – 17 years old
  4. Cuarto Medio (Fourth Grade of secondary education) 17 – 18 years old

There are also two types of secondary education: scientific-humanist, which is oriented to mathematical/science and humanist topics, and professional technician which can be oriented to commercial, agricultural or industrial fields of specialization for the development of technicians (some schools may be polytechnicals, meaning than more than just one field can be chosen).

The first two grades of both types of secondary education have the same topics. In 3rd grade, students in scientific-humanist education can choose from a scientific specialization, humanist specialization or in some institutions a third specialization branch, which is artistic. Professional technicians also in 3rd grade can choose their area of specialization in the field they have chosen.

At the end of secondary school, students are granted with a diploma called Licencia de Educacion Media (Secondary Education License) and in the case of the professional technician, a diploma called Secondary Level Technician.

The mandatory subjects on the study plan for secondary school are:

Classes begin in March, are two semesters long and end in December, but private schools or colleges can start on another date.

In July given the winter holidays of two weeks or one and a half, in January begins summer vacation until the beginning of March.


Main article: Education in Mexico

In Mexico, "secondary school" refers to educational institutions usually consisting of students enrolled in grades 7 through 12 (ages 12 to 18 years old). Some schools require an entrance exam. Known as secundarias, these schools are the equivalent of junior high schools. From the secundaria, students may be tracked into vocational schools known as escuelas técnicas, CBTIs or CETIs or into Escuelas Preparatorias what provide a traditional lyceum or gymnasium education similar to American high schools. Private, denominational secundarias are known as colegios. In rural regions, telesecundaria is offered via online and television formats. Less than 70% of the population completes middle school in Mexico.

Preparatoria traditionally consists of three years of education, divided into six semesters, with the first four semesters having a common curriculum, and the latter ones allowing some degree of specialization, either in physical sciences (electricity, chemistry, biology) or social sciences (commerce, philosophy, law).

The term preparatoria is most commonly used for institutions that offer a three-year educational program that "prepares" the student with general knowledge to continue studying at a university. In contrast, the term bachillerato is most often used for institutions that provide vocational training, either in two or three years, so the graduate can get a job as a skilled worker, for example, an assistant accountant, a secretary or an electronics technician.


Main article: Education in Colombia

Secondary and fourth education is divided in basic secondary (grades 6 to 9) and mid secondary (grades 10 and 11). The mid-secondary education (usually beginning at the age of 15 or 16) offers many different "tracks", which all lead to their own "Bachiller" after a curriculum of two years. Out of the usual academic curriculum (Bachillerato Académico), the students can follow one of the following technical tracks (Bachillerato en Tecnología o Applicado): industrial track (Bachillerato Industrial), commercial track (Bachillerato Commercial), pedagogical track (Bachillerato Pedagogico), agricultural Track (Bachillerato Agropecuario), or social promotion track (bachillerato de Promocion Social).

The "Bachiller" is required to continue into academic or professional higher education. Nonetheless, technical and professional institutions of higher Education can also welcome students with a "qualification in arts and business". This qualification is granted by the SENA after a two years curriculum.


Main article: Education in Cuba

High schools in Cuba are generically known as "preuniversitarios", but they also have other names depending on their specialization: IPVCE (Spanish abbreviation of Preuniversitary Institute of Exact Sciences), IPUEC (abbreviation of Institute Preuniversitary on the Country-Side), EVA (Arts Vocational School) and ESPA (sports) are amongst the most popular. All of them are secular institutions financed and run by the state, and provide education from 10th grade till 12th grade.


In Venezuela "secondary schools" are educational institutions teaching grades 7 to 11 (ages 12 to 16 years). Classes begin in September, are 3 terms, and end in July. In Venezuela secondary education is called "bachillerato". It is divide into two, middle education, from grades 7 to 9, and diversified education or high school, covering grades 10 and 11.

United States of America

In the United States, the term 'secondary school' can refer to several types of schools. The first type is a traditional, comprehensive high school, comprising grades 912. Another type is alternative schools, including continuation schools, which serve those same grades. In some jurisdictions, 'secondary school' may refer to an institution that houses grades 712. The term 'secondary school' also categorically includes both middle school and high school. This page lists many secondary schools in the United States.

Students at Think Global School engage in place-based learning activities around the world

As a practical matter, while laws in most states mandate school attendance at least until age 16, many require attendance until age 17 or 18 (unless the student earns a diploma earlier, usually around age 16). Conversely, students who have failed a grade may remain in high school past the age of 18. State laws vary on the cut-off age for students to receive free public education services. Students can stay in high school past the age of 18 up to the maximum age limit to which free education must be offered in their state. Many states also have adult high schools for people around 18 and over. According to the National Center for Education Statistics [18] 81% of students graduated high school on time (within four years after having entered high school as freshmen) between 2012 and 2013. A high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate is usually required for entrance into a two or four-year college or university and to other post-secondary education programs.

High schools can usually be sub-classed as general high schools, vocational schools (VoTech schools), magnet schools, and college preparatory high schools (prep schools) and special high schools or alternative high schools. Most high schools are general high schools. These general population schools offer college preparatory classes for advanced students, general education classes for average students, and remedial courses for those who are struggling.

West Orange-Stark High School, a college preparatory high school in Texas

In some school districts exceptionally high-performing students are offered enrollment at a district college preparatory high school. Traditionally "prep schools" in North America were usually private institutions, though most medium or large public (state) school districts now offer university-preparatory schools for advanced students. Public prep schools draw the top students from their district and have strict entrance requirements. All academic classes offered in these schools are classified as honors, International Baccalaureate, or Advanced Placement.

In larger school districts, magnet schools are established to provide enhanced curriculum for one or more areas of study. Magnet schools may be created for a variety of topics such as mathematics, science, fine arts, and music. Admission (usually controlled) to magnet schools varies by school district in order to manage demand and resources. The school admission process may range from competitive admission standards to a lottery system.

Vocational high schools offer hands-on training to students that prepares them for careers in fields such as information technology, marketing, business, engineering and the medical professions. While some graduates of vocational or career and technical education high schools will go directly into a trade, others will pursue post-secondary education. The Association for Career and Technical Education is the largest national education association dedicated to career and technical education.

Special high schools cater for students who have special educational needs, e.g. because of learning difficulties or physical disabilities. Some special high schools are offered for students who have major disciplinary or mental health difficulties that make it problematic to educate them in traditional high school settings. Some special high schools are assigned as security risks, where the school houses students who are not yet old enough to legally leave school and are considered a danger to other students or teachers, but have not been convicted of a crime. Some special high schools are dedicated to students with drug or mental health difficulties and have medical and psychological staff on site. A few of these schools include a nursery and a child care staff so that teen parents can finish their education without having to find child care during the school day. Special high schools have their own campus, but sometimes are located in a section or wing of a general high school.

Another recent form of high school that has emerged is the online high school. According to the United States Department of Education Students in an online high school performed modestly better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional instruction.

A number of American high schools now offer educational programs centered around travel, global citizenship, and the pedagogical concept of place-based learning. Some of these schools, like Think Global School and The Traveling School, do not rely on a single brick-and-mortar campus, instead using the world as their classroom by traveling to and living and learning in multiple countries each year. Other schools, like United World Colleges and Avenues, offer campuses in a number of different geographical locations that their students can study at.

High school in the United States usually begins in late August or early September of each year and ends in late May or early June. During the excess two and a half months, the students are given summer vacation. This is a hold-over from the time when children were needed on farms for planting and harvesting crops. In some cases schools use a year round schedule.



In Australia, secondary school is called high school, from Year 7 to Year 12 in every state except South Australia, where high school is started in Year 8.[19] In both Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, high school constitutes Years 7 to 10 with college (senior secondary) consisting of Year 11 and 12.

The later years of high school are often known as senior school (as opposed to junior school) where students prepare for school leaving exams such as the Higher School Certificate (HSC) in New South Wales, Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) in Victoria and similar names in other states.

A student's first examination marks in New South Wales and a combination of examination marks and coursework in other states (except Queensland) are indexed into the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). This index is usually the sole factor considered when applying for university courses. The ATAR was only introduced in 2009 (in NSW), and previously each state calculated its own final high school rank, such as the Universities Admission Index (UAI) in NSW and Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank (ENTER) in Victoria.

Victorian students also have an opportunity to complete a high-school qualification under the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, which gives students practical experience in a trade or workplace. This requirement leads students into a trade or TAFE course.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, secondary school is often called college or high school (not to be confused with the term for tertiary education in other countries.) The majority of secondary schools run from Year 9 to Year 13 (formerly known as Forms 3 to 7) with students aged 12 to 18; in some areas, including Invercargill and most of the Southland Region, secondary school starts at Year 7 (formerly Form 1) with students aged from 10.

The current and most common qualification system implemented throughout New Zealand's secondary schools is the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). NCEA 'standards' or tests/assignments begin usually with NCEA Level 1 in Year 11 (previously 5th form) and continue through to NCEA Level 2 at Year 12 (previously 6th form) and NCEA Level 3 at Year 13 (previously 7th form). Some assignments/tests are completed as early as Year 9 or 10, depending on the school and individual students. Some schools are also choosing to use IGCSE, as well as or instead of NCEA.[20]

High school students in New Zealand are taught a range of subjects. In year 9, the compulsory subjects are Mathematics, English, Physical Education, Social Studies, Science, and in some cases Māori (being the official language of some schools; such as Ngā Taiatea Wharekura.[21]) as well as optional classes, such as Technologies (e.g. Woodworking), Dance, Drama, Art, Graphics, Music, and a choice of languages. Common language options include Māori, Spanish, French, German and Japanese, depending on the geographic location of the school and availability of teachers able to teach the respective subjects.

It is common for students in New Zealand to wear uniforms. Uniform styles vary widely between schools and are generally more casual compared to the more 'formal' uniforms worn in Australia's equivalent schools.

See also


  1. "Brunei Darussalam - Lower Secondary Examination, Penilaian Menengah Bawah - Overview". Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  2. "Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam - Secondary Education". Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  3. "Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam - Post Secondary Education". Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  4. "9-year Compulsory Education". Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  5. Wang, Sibin. "A History of Rural, Economic, and Social Policies in China" (PDF). Center for Social Development. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  7. "Welcome to the official Website of FBISE". Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  8. The World Bank and Bisan Center for Research and Development (2006) The Role and Performance of Palestinian NGOs: In Health, Education and Agriculture, The World Bank and Bisan Center for Research and Development
  9. "Special and Express Courses at Secondary Schools to Merge". Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  10. "Obama praises S. Korea for education system". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  11. Kis, V. and E. Park (2012). A Skills beyond School Review of Korea, OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training. OECD Publishing. p. 29. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  12. Education in Vietnam, World Bank
  13. "Education System in Vietnam". Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  14. Pham Xuan Thanh, 'Vietnam assessment practice and roadmap for effective assessment system'. Retrieved on 2012-02-29.
  15. Swedish National Agency for Education. retrieved 20 August 2015.
  16. "99% of all attend gymnasiet". Skolvärlden. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  17. Dictionary definition of secondary school from the Longman Online Dictionary
  18. "The Condition of Education – Elementary and Secondary Education – Student Effort, Persistence and Progress – Public High School Graduation Rates – Indicator May (2015)". Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  19. "Australian School Systems". Australianexplorer. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  20. "International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools in New Zealand". Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  21. "Maori Education, Te Reo Schooling Curriculum – Nga Taiatea Hamilton". Retrieved 14 March 2016.

External links

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