Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №2/2010

Student Life – Easy or Not So Easy?

1. Before you read

Discuss the following questions with your partner.

1. Do you or your parents have to pay for your education?

2. Should education be free of charge?

3. Do you think more people would get an education if it was completely free, even higher education?

4. Do you agree with the opinion that self-education is the only productive way of learning?

2. Read the text.

Thousands of students in the United States are waiting to hear from the body responsible for administering student loans whether their funding has been confirmed for this year. For some of them, the answer could mean the difference between working extra shifts at the pub or enjoying the last weeks of summer before starting university next month.

But for ex-students, there has been some unexpected good news: their student loans have shrunk – if they haven’t paid off a penny. That’s because the interest rate for loans taken out before 1998 has gone negative. The rate charged next year is equal to the retail price index (RPI) from March this year. And, back then, it was -0.4 per cent. Hence “negative” interest.

What this means is that someone with a pre-1998 loan who has £10,000 in outstanding debt and hasn’t hit the repayment threshold will owe just £9,960 at this point next year. There is nothing the government can do about it, if a loan was taken out before 1998. After that date, a clause was added to the loan agreements allowing the government to stop the interest rate from going negative. But that still leaves the interest rate on the majority of loans at just 0 per cent. All of which will no doubt be welcomed by former students, many of whom are entering the toughest employment market for decades. A few pounds of interest saved may make little difference overall, but could at least pay for a night out in the pub…as a customer.

By Lucy Warwick-Ching

3. Answer the questions:

1. Why are thousands of students in the United States waiting to hear whether their funding has been confirmed for this year?

2. What is the way out for the students if the funding has not been confirmed for this year?

3. What was the good news for some ex-students?

4. What does RPI stand for?

5. What is the difference in payment with ‘negative’ interest?

6. When did you have to take out the loan to get ‘negative’ interest by now?

7. Is there anything the government can do about the situation with loans?

8. Is the difference in payment significant for the students?

4. What do these numbers in the text refer to?

Answer the question, starting every sentence with the figure as a subject. Be sure to write out the number.

1. 10,000

2. -0.4

3. 1998

4. 9,960

5. 0

5. Now read the text about studying in Oxford University.

Each year, Oxford welcomes talented students, at both undergraduate and graduate level, from all over the globe. The students are attracted by the chance to study at an internationally-renowned university, with outstanding academic achievement and innovation. Oxford’s teaching and research is consistently in the top rank nationally and internationally, and is at the forefront of medical, scientific and technological achievement. The University has excellent facilities and resources for learning in its world-famous libraries, laboratories and museums. Students come to Oxford from 139 different countries and territories.

Facts About Student Life

There are over 20,000 students at Oxford, including 11,734 undergraduates and 8,101 postgraduates.

Oxford has one of the lowest drop-out rates in the UK: latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that only 1.1 per cent of students discontinued their course, compared with the national rate of 7.1 per cent.

The tutorial is at the core of undergraduate teaching and learning at Oxford. It offers students a unique learning experience in which they meet regularly with their tutor, either on a one-to-one basis or with one or two other students.

Undergraduates attend, on average, one hour-long tutorial every week and undertake a considerable number of hours’ preparatory work for each tutorial, including background reading, essay-writing and problem-solving.

At graduate level, 36 per cent of students are studying for higher degrees in the medical, mathematical, physical and life sciences and 56 per cent in the humanities and social sciences. The rest are studying for postgraduate certificates and diplomas offered by the Deparment for Continuing Education.

Six months after graduation 90% of students who graduated in the year ending July 2008 were employed or engaged in further study.

52 per cent of students completing an undergraduate degree go on to further study.

International students play an integral role in the University, providing intellectual stimulation as well as creating and maintaining academic links with colleagues abroad. Around a third of the student body comes from outside the United Kingdom, and a range of scholarships offer support for international students. Each year several hundred such students are supported by scholarships funded fully or in part by benefactors and the University, including schemes such as the Clarendon Fund Scholarships, Rhodes Scholarships and Weidenfeld Scholarships.

Lifelong learning opportunities are taken up by thousands of people each year through the University. The Department for Continuing Education enrols more than 15,000 students annually on over 600 short and part-time courses. Students can study in Oxford, in the region or online, for pleasure and/or for an Oxford qualification. Courses on offer include evening and weekend classes, residential courses and summer schools, undergraduate and graduate level qualification, professional development programmes, and courses delivered via the Internet.

6. Answer the questions:

1. Would you like to be a student of Oxford? Why or why not?

2. Do you think that Oxford graduates have better chances for getting well-paid jobs?

3. Do you think it is more difficult to study at Oxford than in less famous universities?

4. Why do you think more than a half of Oxford graduates go on to further study?

5. Why do you think Oxford has one of the lowest drop-out rates in the UK?

7. What do these numbers in the text refer to?

Answer the question, starting every sentence with the figure as a subject. Be sure to write out the number.

1. 15,0008. 36
2. 569. 90
3. 11,73410. 20,000
4. 7.111. 2008
5. 612. 1.1
6. 13913. 52
7. 8,101

8. Retell both articles.

9. Prepare a presentation of any Russian university taking the description of Oxford university as an example.

Hint for the teachers:

You can differentiate the tasks – ask the weaker students to do Ex. 4, 7; while the stronger ones can discuss Ex. 3,6.

Later you may ask the weaker ones to prepare the answers to Ex.3,6 in writing at home; and ask the stronger ones to do Ex. 4,7 by memory.

Compiled by Alyona Pavlova ,
Moscow State University for Printing Arts