On November 16, 2019 lesson was dedicated to analyzing and comparing education in Montenegro and the USA. Access Program students had an amazing opportunity to learn more about school organization, types of schools existing in the U.S. and the way curriculum is organized from our guest, Mr. Tavon Cooke, the Head of Consular Section in the U.S. Embassy Podgorica.
The guest talked about the U.S. education in a detailed manner. He told students about school organization mentioning the existence of middle school as the main difference between the U.S. and Montenegro. When it comes to curriculum Mr. Cooke pointed out that each of the fifty states in the USA has an opportunity to have its own regulations regarding curriculum. In addition, he talked about having more freedom in choosing what one loves to study in university level. Mr Cooke encouraged our students to go to the U.S. as university students and highlighted that university-level education is not so expensive if you gain some scholarships. Access students were captivated by his presentation and consequently asked him many questions, such as:
- How much money does the U.S. government invest in education?
- What is the grading system like?
- Are private schools in the U.S. better than public?
The guest kindly explained that private schools are as good as public ones, that students in the U.S. work hard for their grades and that higher education is only partly funded from the government, but most expenses are covered from schools’ own endowments.
During the second part of our lesson the students discussed different topics with Mr Cooke. They had a chance to share their ideas on:
- Choice of subjects
- Extracurricular activities
- Community service activities
Throughout discussion they were inquisitive and willing to share their own knowledge and experience. The students shared their own ideas such as: there are almost no camps in Montenegro; our peers are not so interested in community service; students should be able to choose more subjects. After discussion they enthusiastically shared their findings with other groups. They learned that students in the U.S. work as hard as they do here; that in the U.S. there are many types of summer camps, including a camp for musicians, a camp for exploring nature, etc.