BRITISH UNIVERSITIES  (an archive article in 90’s)

There are 44 universities in Britain. These are divided into three types: the old established universities, such as Oxford (founded 1249), Cambridge and Edinburgh. Oxford and Cambridge together are often called Oxbridge; the 19th century universities such as London and  Manchester; the new universities established after World War IT, such as Essex, Lancaster, The New University of Ulster.


Characteristics of the universities: The old universities consist of a collection of independent colleges. Together they form the university, which is governed by a senate, the  main decision-making body in the university. Some 19th century universities have a combination of independent colleges and research institutes.

London University is an example. Other universities developed during the 19th century out of single university colleges in provincial cities. Because their original buildings were often built of  brick, they are sometimes called ‘redbrick’ universities.

The new universities were founded after World War II because the demand for higher education had increased. So many more people wanted to study for a degree after 1945 that even the building of new universities did not solve the problem. In  certain areas of the country, the existing colleges of technology and other further education colleges were combined to form polytechnics.

Thus, Britain was able to meet the increasing demand for higher education degrees. There are now  polytechnics, offering courses in the full range of subjects, from engineering to art. The Council of National Academic Awards (CNAA) supervises polytechnic examinations and makes sure that a high standard is maintained in all polytechnics.

Some special features of British university life: Over 90% of full-time students receive grants from public or private 30 funds. The grants are paid towards tuition and living costs. Higher education is free for those people whose parents’ income is below a certain level.

Degree courses, leading to a B.A. or B.Sc, usually take three years. It is almost impossible to move from one university to another during a degree course, but if you do that, you will have to  begin the course again. University students attend lectures.They also attend tutorials. These are discussion classes for a small group of students. In these classes, a tutor sets work for his students. Then, the teacher and the students get together every week or fortnight to discuss and criticise the work done by each student.



1. Line 9, a ‘senate’ is
2. Line 36, ‘tutorials’ are
3. Line 38, ‘tutor’ means
B. Mark the statements as True (T) or False (F). 1. Old universities are made up of various independent colleges. 2. ‘Redbrick’ universities were built after the Second World War. 3. Students of polytechnics have to study technical subjects. 4. The CNAA is responsible for maintaining a high standard in polytechnics. 5. About 10% of university students do not get grants from funds.
1. Why were polytechnics formed?
2. Which students do not have to pay for university education?
3. When does a student have to repeat the course which he or she has already taken?

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