After rising steadily for almost a century, standards of education in the public schools of Europe and North America have come to a standstill. In fact, in the opinion of many parents and employers, they are actually falling. More and more children are leaving school at an early age.

Naturally, they have very little knowledge of reading and writing. Thus, the number of illiterate people is increasing, bringing about a social problem once again. With dropout rates of twenty-seven per cent in high schools and fifty per cent in colleges, the American education system is clearly in trouble.

In Europe, the number of  children who leave school is going up too, though lower than that in the United States. There are various factors that cause the decrease in educational standards. Some people say that overcrowding and lack of discipline are major factors. Others say that much importance has been given to  subjects like art and drama.


However, more practical subjects have been neglected. For many teachers, on the other hand, the problem is not of falling standards but of rising expectations of parents and employers. According to these teachers, the demands of parents and employers are getting higher and this is causing the problem.

 Whether or not standards in public schools are actually falling, many parents feel that the only way to secure a good education for their children is to send them to private schools, which generally have smaller classes and stricter discipline. The popularity of such schools is growing steadily, despite the high tuition. In the United States, for 25 example, eleven per cent of all school children attend private schools; in Europe, over sixteen per cent do so.



A. Mark the best choice.
1. Line 6, ‘illiterate’ means .

a) leaving school at an early age

b) having very little knowledge of reading and writing

c) becoming an increasing social problem


2. Line 7, ‘dropout rates’ are .

a) the number of illiterate people

b) a decreasing rate of school leavers

c) the number of children leaving school


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