Educational stages

Educational stages

Educational stages vary around the world. Some countries describe the different stages in years, whereas other countries use a system of grades.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognizes seven levels of education in its International Standard Classification of Education system (ISCED). These range from Level 0 (pre-primary education) to Level 6 (second stage of tertiary education). UNESCO's International Bureau of Education maintains a [ database] of country-specific education systems and their stages.


In Australia, children undergo twelve "years" of formal education (plus kindergarten and/or a "preparatory grade" or "Prep"), usually starting at age five or six, and finishing at age 17 or 18. The Years are numbered from 1 to 12.

In ACT, NSW, TAS, and VIC, primary school is Years 1–6, and secondary school, Years 7–12. In WA, SA, and QLD, primary school is Years 1–7 and secondary school, Years 8–12.


In Brazil there are three levels of Basic Education: "Educação Infantil" (Preschool in the US), "Ensino Fundamental" (Elementary School in the US) and "Ensino Médio" (High School in the US), which generally are completed by age eighteen. Basic Education is designed to provide the necessary minimum knowledge for the exercise of citizenship.It also serves to develop consciousness for choosing future professions. In Brazil, after the name of the grade one may use the names "série" or "ano". The educational stages in Brazil are divided as follows:

Educação Infantil


There are nine compulsory years of education in the PRC, Primary (小学) 1-6 and Elementary Middle (初中) 1-3. There are an optional three extra years of Upper Middle (高中) 1-3 which may be followed by study at university.

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong system is based on the United Kingdom system, with an optional year at kindergarten, six years of primary school (小學) and seven years of secondary school (中學), followed by three years at university. Primary 1 – 6 (小一 – 小六) corresponds to Years 1 – 6 in the UK, and Forms 1 – 7 (中一 – 中七) correspond to Years 7 – 13. Usually students begin Primary One at age 5 or 6 and complete Form 7 at age 18 or 19.

There are plans to change the system to 12 years of compulsory education at school (that is, removal of Form 7) followed by four years at university, mimicking the United States.

In Hong Kong, international schools follow the system of the country they are based upon, for example the English Schools Foundation uses the UK year system, and French International Schools use the French collège, école, lycée system. Also, the English term "Form" followed by the English number is common usage even in otherwise Cantonese conversations.


The most junior level of schooling in France is "l'école maternelle". Compulsory education begins at the age of six, when children enter "l'école élémentaire". The two may be combined, known as "l'école primaire". The numbered years, or "classes" are as follows:

* Cycle I : "cycle des apprentissages premiers"
** Toute Petite Section or TPS
** Petite Section or PS
** Moyenne Section or MS
** Grande Section or GS
* Cycle II : "cycle des apprentissages fondamentaux"
** Second year : "Cours préparatoire" or CP (6–7 years).
** Third year : "Cours élémentaire niveau 1" or CE1 (7–8 years).
* Cycle III : "cycles des approfondissements"
** First year : "Cours élémentaire niveau 2" or CE2 (8–9 years).
** Second year : "Cours moyen niveau 1" or CM1 (9–10 years).
** Third year : "Cours moyen niveau 2" or CM2 (10–11 years).

After this, students attend "collège", from the ages of eleven to fifteen. The classes are numbered in descending order.
* Sixième (11–12 years)
* Cinquième (12–13 years)
* Quatrième (13–14 years)
* Troisième (14–15 years)

The final part of French secondary education takes place at the "lycée". Education is only compulsory to the age of 14 or 16 "le lycée" covers three years, and concludes in the French Baccalaureat. These are:
* Seconde
* Première
* Terminale

It is possible in France to fail a year, and need to resit ("redoubler").

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, there are two levels of compulsory education; primary school ("ca."5-12 years of age) and secondary school ("ca."13-18 years). The names of each class are as follows:

* Junior Infants (4–5 years)
* Senior Infants (5–6 years)
* First Class (6–7 years)
* Second Class (7–8 years)
* Third Class (8–9 years)
* Fourth Class (9–10 years)
* Fifth Class (10–11 years)
* Sixth Class (11–12 years)

After Sixth Class, students move to secondary school, entering;

Junior Cycle:
* First Year (12–13 years)
* Second Year (13–14 years)
* Third Year (14–15 years) - Junior Certificate

* Fourth Year [or Transition Year] (15–16 years)

Senior Cycle:
* Fifth Year (15–17 years)
* Sixth Year [or Final Year] (16–18 years) - Leaving Certificate

In some schools, Transition Year is compulsory, in others it is optional, and in others is not available.


Compulsory education in Malaysia spans a period of 11 years and comprises both primary and secondary education. Kindergarten is optional.

Malaysian primary school consists of six years of education, referred to as Standard 1 to Standard 6. Standards 1 – 3 are classified as Level One ("Tahap Satu" in Malay) while Standards 4 – 6 make up Level Two "(Tahap Dua)". Primary schooling usually begins at the age of 7 and ends at 12. Students take their first national examination, the UPSR, towards the end of the Standard 6 school year. Performance in the UPSR has no effect on their resuming schooling; all students continue with their secondary education after leaving primary school.

Secondary schooling usually begins at age 13. Secondary schools offer education for a total of five years, starting with Form 1 and finishing at Form 5. Forms 1 – 3 are grouped together into the "Lower Form" and Forms 4 & 5 are considered the "Upper Form". Students in Form 3 will have to sit for their second national exam, the PMR. They are then streamed into sciences or humanities classes for the Upper Form according to their performance in this exam. At age 17 students in Form 5 sit for the final level of national examinations, the SPM (Malaysian Certificate of Education). Achieving a passing grade in the Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language) portion of the exams is compulsory; failure results in an automatic failing grade for all subjects taken in the examination and the student is held back to repeat Form 5. Completion of the examination signifies that the student has completed formal education in Malaysia; an SPM certificate remains the base requirement to secure most jobs in Malaysia.

After the SPM, students have a choice of either continuing with Form 6 (which comprises 2 years, Lower and Upper Six) or entering matriculation (pre-university programs). If they opt for Form 6, they will be required to take the STPM examination. Although generally taken by those desiring to attend public universities in Malaysia, an STPM certification is internationally recognized and may also be used, though rarely required, to enter private local universities for undergraduate courses.


In Norway children start school at the age of six; before that kindergarten is voluntary. This school is called "barneskole" (childrenschool):

* 6–7: First grade
* 7–8: Second grade
* 8–9: Third grade
* 9–10: Fourth grade
* 10–11: Fifth grade
* 11–12: Sixth grade
* 12–13: Seventh grade

The second school is "ungdomsskole" (youth-school). At this level the students are rated with grades in each subject, in addition to behavior and orderliness:

* 13–14: Eighth grade
* 14–15: Ninth grade
* 15–16: Tenth grade

The last school before higher education is called "videregående skole" (ongoing school) and is voluntary, though most choose to attend. At this level students decide among separate career-related schools. The most popular such school is designed to prepare one for further education,Fact|date=August 2007 while others prepare students for vocations such as mechanics, electricians, cooks and so on. Educational stages in these schools begin again at "one" and are named Vg1, Vg2, Vg3 and Vg4. Some of the more practical schools last only two years, and some students may choose to attend an extra year to study higher education. The typical duration is three years, though some schools offer a four-year program to enable students to engage in more athletics or gather real work experience.

* 16–17: Vg1
* 17–18: Vg2
* 18–19: Vg3
* 19–20: Vg4


In Singapore, compulsory education lasts ten years and begins the year the child turns seven. However, most children receive a preschool education spanning two to three years before entering primary school after which they will move on to a secondary school.


In Scotland, education is divided into two stages: primary education and secondary education. Primary education is delivered almost exclusively through primary schools which offer education for pupils aged between 4 and 12. Children are entitled to pre-school education from their third birthday, and must enter compulsory education from the August after their 5th birthday. There is some leeway in the starting date or pupils [] .Education lasts 7 years in the primary school, before pupils move to a secondary school for between 4 and 6 years, the last two being optional. There is some variation in the phasing of education in more remote areas of Scotland, where provision may be made in a through school, or in other combinations of institutes.

High school:

Children typically start school at age five or six. Also, some areas use junior high school, typically grades 7–8 or 9, instead of middle school. The grade configurations vary from school to school and district to district in the USA and Canada. The most common grade configuaration in the USA currently is K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 but many other configurations exist.

ee also

*Education by country

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