RS 00205.895 Guides to Foreign Secondary School Systems and Information on Student Problems in Certain Countries

A. Introduction

Since each country has its own education system and practices can vary within a country, it is impossible to set down hard and fast rules for identifying secondary schools.

B. Exhibit

This section identifies secondary schools in some countries and provides information on handling problems which occur in student claims.

CountryInformation on Secondary Education and Student Claims Problems

Australia

Secondary Schools issue a Senior Certificate, rather than a diploma, upon completion of the 12th year. Educational authorities consider a Senior Certificate with passing grades to be the equivalent of a high school diploma.

Belize

“College” applies to both secondary schools and postsecondary schools.

“0” level course are standard curriculum for secondary schools. “Sixth-form” or “A” level courses are the curriculum of postsecondary schools.

“Colleges” can provide both “0” and “A” level training.

Canada

Each province in Canada is responsible for the establishment and regulation of its own school system. Thus, secondary school systems vary among provinces with some schools offering 13-year training and some less. For information about Roots Home School Program in Alberta Canada, click here (PR 03610.070).

Cape Verde Islands (CVI)

Although there are no postsecondary schools in the CVI, many of the schools are neither operated as part of the CVI educational system nor authorized or approved by the educational authorities.

A significant number of students are enrolled in private schools which are not controlled or approved by the educational authorities. Students at these “schools” are generally carried on the record of, and allege attendance at, liceu (government approved schools) even though they do not attend classes. They are called “external” students.

When a claim is filed on behalf of a student in the CVI, before making any contact with the school, obtain a statement from the student showing:

  • Whether he is an “external” student;

  • The exact number of hours a week he is scheduled to attend classes;

  • His school identification number (numero de matricula);

  • Class and grade; and

  • The name and address of the school he is actually attending.

If:Then:

Attendance is less than 20 hours a week

Deny the claim for failure to be in FTA.

The student is an “external” student

Request the FSP to have the school the student is actually attending complete the school certification part of the SSA-1372BK-FC. Advise the FSP that if the school alleges approval by the CVI educational authorities, this approval must be verified.

The student is not an “external” student

Process as any student claim.

France

“College” can be used by a school on any educational level in France.

Generally, "lycees" provide education on the secondary level; however, some also provide postsecondary education.

Universities provide only university-level education.

Germany, West

  1. General

    The German educational system is varied and subject to change within individual States. Thus, the following schools offer secondary-level training within the German educational system:

    • Berufliche Gymnasien;

    • Berufsaufbauschulen;

    • Berufsfachschulen;

    • Berufsschulen (These provide part-time training for apprentices (see b.) and normally accompany on-the-job training. Generally, these students do not qualify for student benefits.);

    • Fachoberschulen;

    • Fachschulen;

    • Gymnasium;

    • Hauptschulen;

    • Realschulen;

    NOTE: A “Hochschule” (literally translated as high school) is not a secondary school but a university-level institution.

  2. Students at Berufsschulen

    Upon receipt of a claim from a student at one of these schools and before any FTA certification is requested from the school, obtain a statement (written or oral) from the student as to the number of hours a week of his scheduled attendance at the school.

    Scheduled attendance less than 20 hours a week—deny the claim for failure to meet the FTA requirements. No contact with the school is necessary.

    Scheduled attendance at least 20 hours a week—develop in accordance with the normal procedures.

  3. Inlingua Sprachschulen

    These schools are privately owned and operated vocational schools which provide language training and sometimes secretarial and related courses. Each school is independent.

    Although school officials may indicate otherwise, none of these schools are operated as part of the secondary educational system. They are not authorized or approved by the educational authorities to provide secondary education.

Greece

Secondary education covers 6 years.

Private vocational, trade and technical schools are subject to standards set by the Ministry of Education. Those which meet the Ministry's standards and provide lower- and/or secondary-level training are EIs.

Private schools which do not meet the government standards are known as “Centers of Studies.” They are permitted to operate but they cannot issue diplomas which are the equivalent of those offered in the public schools. Attendance is not compulsory nor is the training offered designated as any particular level of education. They do not qualify as EIs.

In some instances, a school may contain both approved and unapproved facilities (i.e., “free divisions”). Attendance at such a school is counted toward FTA only if it is at an approved portion of the school and at grade 12 or lower level.

Hong Kong

Secondary education ends with the 5th form when most students are age 15-16.

Ireland

School attendance is compulsory to age 15. Primary education is provided at “National” schools.

Secondary education lasts to age 17-18 when students take government examinations for specific types of certificates.

Italy

Secondary education is provided through grade/year 13.

Universities do not provide secondary-level education.

Mexico

  1. General

    Secondary education is divided into two cycles:

    • Basic Cycle (media basica) — This cycle lasts 3 years; and

    • Upper Cycle (media superior) — This cycle lasts 3 years and leads to a bachillerto diploma. It includes technical and vocational, as well as academic training.

  2. Preparatorias

    These are part of the upper cycle of secondary education. There are two types of preparatory schools: general and technical.

  1. Normal Schools

    Prior to April 1984, training for preschool and elementary teachers was done in normal schools (i.e., escuela normals) operated in the upper cycle of secondary education. However, a Presidential Decree of March 22, 1984 made these schools part of the postsecondary-level education.

    Normal schools which train preschool and elementary teachers can be considered secondary schools only for FTA prior to March 23, 1984.

 
  1. Technical Schools

    Technical schools operate on all educational levels in both the public and private sectors. Some operate on no specific educational level (e.g., language schools, secretarial schools, etc.).

    Mexico's Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) issues a catalog entitled “ Escuelas y Carreras de Educacion Tecnologica” (Schools and Careers in Technical Education) listing by State, the technical schools which it has approved. Those which provide secondary-level education are shown under the heading media superior. A copy of this catalog is maintained in the OIO library; the Embassy in Mexico City will replace it with revisions as they become available.

    Technical schools at the secondary level are commonly known as:

    • “Centro de Bachillerato Tecnologicos.....”;

    • “Centro de Estudios Tecnologicos.....”;

    • “Colegio Nacional de Educacion Prefesional Tecnica.....”

    Generally, it may be assumed that a technical school is a secondary school if:

    • It is a “secondaria;”

    • It is listed in the SEP catalog as being on the medio superior level (i.e., “Nivel Media Superior” is shown in the heading for the column showing the school's name); or

    • It is shown to provide medio superior education or is shown to provide a bachillerato degree and is shown by the school seal or other information to be approved by SEP.

    Schools which do not appear to operate on any special level (such as secretarial, language, beauty schools, etc.) can qualify as EIs if they are authorized or approved by the Mexican educational authorities to provide media superior education.

 
  1. Capacitacion (vocational) schools offer short courses for skills needed by industry and services. Admission does not require completion of a specific educational level. Since they are not operated as part of the primary or secondary education system, a student at one of these schools is not considered to be attending an EI. Generally, these schools are called “ Centro de Capacitacion para el Trajabo.”

  2. Higher Education Level Technical Schools

    In the past, higher education technical schools (then known as Instituto Tecnologicos Regionals - now Instituto Technologicos de....) provided both secondary and postsecondary education. This system is now being changed to remove preparatory schools from these institutions and make them independent schools.

    The following is a list of the Technical Institutions which provide preparatory education, and where known, the date such education stopped or will stop. Technical Institutions not included in this list provide only postsecondary education. If a claim is received from a student at one of these schools which provides preparatory-level education, the level at which the student is studying must be established.

 Instituto Tecnologico ofPreparatory Education Provided in the Months Prior to:
 

Aguascalientes, AC

12/86

 

Acapulco, Gro.

Although preparatory courses are provided for non-matriculating students in an open (arbierto) program, enrollment in these does not qualify as FTA for Social Security purposes. Under the open program, no classroom attendance or minimum hours of attendance are required.

 

Apizaco, Tlax

12/84

 

Celaya, Gto.

12/88

 

Chetumal, Q.R.

9/86

 

Chihuahua, Chih.

2/79

 

Ciudad Guzman, Jal.

1/88

 

Ciudad Juarez, Chih.

1/80

 

Ciudad Madero, Tamps.

Although preparatory courses are provided for non-matriculating students in an open (arbierto) program, enrollment in these does not qualify as FTA for Social Security purposes. Under the open program, no classroom attendance or minimum hours of attendance are required.

 

Culiacan, Sin.

7/86

 

Hermosillo, Son.

7/86

 

Istmo, Juchitan, Oax.

Although preparatory courses are provided for non-matriculating students in an open (arbierto) program, enrollment in these does not qualify as FTA for Social Security purposes. Under the open program, no classroom attendance or minimum hours of attendance are required.

 

La Laguna, Torreon, Coah.

7/87

 

La Paz, B.C.

7/89

 

Leon, Gto.

12/88

 

Matamoros, Tamps.

2/89

 

Merida, Yuc.

Preparatory education still provided — ending date not yet established.

 

Minatitlan, V.C.

9/84

 

Morelia, Mich.

Preparatory education still provided — ending date not yet established.

 

Nogales, Son.

7/88

 

Nuevo Laredo, Tamps.

Preparatory education still provided — ending date not yet established.

 

Oaxaca, Oax.

Although preparatory courses are provided for non-matriculating students in an open (arbierto) program, enrollment in these does not qualify as FTA for Social Security purposes. Under the open program, no classroom attendance or minimum hours of attendance are required.

 

Orizaba, V.C.

Although preparatory courses are provided for non-matriculating students in an open (arbierto) program, enrollment in these does not qualify as FTA for Social Security purposes. Under the open program, no classroom attendance or minimum hours of attendance are required.

 

Pachuca, Hgo.

9/85

 

Parral, Chih.

7/88

 

Puebla, Pue.

9/84

 

Queretaro, Qro.

9/82

 

Saltillo, Coah.

Preparatory education still provided — ending date not yet established.

 

Tapachula, Chis.

Preparatory education still provided — ending date not yet established.

 

Tehuacan, Pue.

Preparatory education still provided — ending date not yet established.

 

Tepic, Nay.

Preparatory education still provided — ending date not yet established.

 

Tijuana, B.C.

1/81

 

Tlalnepantla, Mex.

Preparatory education still provided — ending date not yet established.

 

Toluca, Mex.

Although preparatory courses are provided for non-matriculating students in an open (arbierto) program, enrollment in these does not qualify as FTA for Social Security purposes. Under the open program, no classroom attendance or minimum hours of attendance are required.

 

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chis

Preparatory education still provided — ending date not yet established.

 

Veracruz, V.C.

9/84

 

Villahermosa, Tab.

9/82

 

Zacatepec, Mor.

Although preparatory courses are provided for non-matriculating students in an open (arbierto) program, enrollment in these does not qualify as FTA for Social Security purposes. Under the open program, no classroom attendance or minimum hours of attendance are required.

Netherlands

  1. General

    The length of secondary-level education depends on the type of school being attended and the occupation for which the student is studying. Schools in the Netherlands do not operate on more than one educational level.

    Except for gymnasia, athenea and lycea, secondary schools are not readily identifiable by name.

    The Secondary Education Act provides for the establishment of various technical and vocational schools which prepare students for a vast range of occupations. These include, for example, lower and intermediate:

    • Nautical Schools;

    • Domestic Schools;

    • Agricultural Schools;

    • Tradesmen's Schools;

    • Commerical Schools;

    • Nursery School Teacher Schools.

  2. Apprentices:

    Apprentices receive a combination of practical, general and vocational training. Those who are paid by the employers while attending school at the request (or as a requirement) of their employers cannot be entitled to student benefits.

  3. Educational Institutes for Early School Leavers

    (Compulsory Part-Time Education):

    Certain students who leave school with little or no secondary education are required, by law, to attend these institutes 2 days a week for 3 years. These are not schools in the formal sense with fixed curricula and reporting systems.

Norway

Secondary education ends with the 12th year and covers both general and vocational subjects.

Peru

  1. General

    Elementary education covers 6 years and secondary education covers 5 years.

  1. Academias de Preparacion Pre-Universitaria:

    These schools provide specialized remedial training in such areas as: mathematics, science, humanities, etc.

    Many students attend them after they complete high school in order to prepare for university entrance examinations.

    They are not part of the secondary school system and cannot be considered EIs.

Philippines

Schools operate on more than one educational level. It is not unusual for a university to provide secondary-level education.

If a student is attending a school which provides more than one level of education, the level at which the student is enrolled is material in determining whether he is in FTA.

Poland

Schools do not operate on more than one educational level.

Portugal

  1. General

    Secondary education is provided in a liceu which provides education in three cycles. The third cycle includes the 6th and 7th years of training and are the equivalent of grades 10 and 11 in the U.S.

    All education past the 7th year is on a postsecondary level.

  1. Private Schools

    Officially, the Portuguese Government recognizes only degrees granted by government schools. This has led to a system of private education which is subject, in most cases, to strict government regulation but which has no degree-granting authority. As a result, many students enroll in government schools to take examinations, but also enroll in private schools for actual classroom instruction.

    These schools provide education on all levels. Although Colegio and Externato are two names used frequently, the schools' names do not identify them as being on any particular level.

    Unless the file indicates some other reason to question the response, assume that a private school which indicates it is part of the elementary or secondary systems is an EI.

Spain

  1. General

    Government secondary schools are generally Institutos de Ensenanza Media.

    Schools in Spain operate on only one educational level.

  1. Private Schools

    The Spanish school system is similar to Portugal's system in that recognized diplomas are granted only by government schools. However, private schools are permitted to operate on all levels. Thus, the status of a secondary school should not be questioned merely because it does not grant a diploma.

Switzerland

Secondary education is provided in:

  • Gymnasium (academic training);

  • Handelsschulen (vocational training);

  • Berufsschulen (vocational training); and

  • Lehrerseminar (teacher's training).

United Kingdom

  1. England and Wales

    Secondary education includes:

    • “0” level courses (leading to a General Certificate of Education at Ordinary Level);

    • Training leading to a Certificate of Secondary Education; and

    • “A” level courses (leading to a General Certificate of Education at Advanced Level).

    Any student taking “O” or “A” courses is considered to be attending at a grade 12 or lower level.

    Some postsecondary schools also offer the type of training provided in secondary schools. Students enrolled in this training must meet the 20-hour a week scheduled attendance test to be in FTA.

  2. Scotland

    Secondary education covers up to 6 years of training.

    Secondary students take courses leading to the Ordinary Grade of the Scottish Certificate of Education and to the Higher grade.

  3. Northern Ireland

    Secondary students take courses leading to the Northern Ireland General Certificate of Education or the Northern Ireland Certificate of Secondary Education.

Yugoslavia

Secondary education provides up to 4 years of training and follows 8 years of elementary education.

A secondary student can either go to a Gimnazija and prepare for postsecondary training or go to a professional school. Secondary professional schools last up to 4 years and prepare students for specialized employment.

NOTE: Although “Visa Skola” is often incorrectly translated as a “high school,” it is a postsecondary school.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0300205895
RS 00205.895 - Guides to Foreign Secondary School Systems and Information on Student Problems in Certain Countries - 05/09/2013
Batch run: 05/09/2013
Rev:05/09/2013