of British and foreign modern painting and also modern sculpture.
The collection of Turners paintings at the Tate includes about 300 oils and 19,000 watercolours and drawings. He was the most traditional artist of his time as well as the most original: traditional in his devotion to the Old Masters and original in his creation of new styles. It is sometimes said that he prepared the way for the Impressionists.
The modern collection includes the paintings of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon and Graham Sutherland, Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton, the chief pioneers of pop art in Great Britain. Henry Moore is a famous British sculptor whose works are exhibited at the Tate too. One of the sculptor's masterpieces - the Reclining Figure - is at fees Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris.
3.4. The British Theatre
Britain is now one of the world's major theatres centres. Many British actors and actresses are known all over the world: Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Glenda Jackson, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and others.
Drama is so popular with the British people of all ages that there are several thousand amateur dramatic societies. Now Britain has about 300 professional theatres. Some of them are privately owned. The tickets are not hard to get, but they are very expensive. Regular seasons of opera and ballet are given at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London. The National Theatre stages modern and classical plays, the Royal Shakespeare Company produces plays mainly by Shakespeare and his contemporaries when it performs in Stratford-on-Avon, and modern plays in its two auditoria in the City's Barbican Centre. Shakespeare's Globe Playhouse, about which you have probably read, was reconstructed on its original site. Many other cities and large towns have at least one theatre.
There are many theatres and theatre companies for young people: the National Youth Theatre and the Young Vic Company in London, the Scottish Youth Theatre in Edinburgh. The National Youth Theatre, which stages classical plays mainly by Shakespeare and modern plays about youth, was on tour in Russian in 1989. The theatre-goers warmly received the production of Thomas Stearns Eliots play Murder in the Cathedral. Many famous English actors started their careers in the National Youth Theatre. Among them Timothy Dalton, the actor who did the part of Rochester in Jane Eyre shown on TV in our country
4. The British Education
The British educational system incorporates a system of school education, higher education and a number of other less important particular subsystems. Here we will consider the basics of the British educational system.
4.1. The British Schools
Schooling in Great Britain is voluntary under the age of 5 but there is some free nursery school education before that age. Primary education takes place in infant schools for pupils ages from 5 to 7 years old and junior schools (from 8 to 11 years). Some areas have different systems in which middle schools replace junior schools and take pupils ages from 9 to 11 years. Secondary education has been available in Britain since 1944. It is compulsory up to the age of 16, and pupils can stay at school voluntarily up to three years longer.
In 1965 non-selective comprehensive schools were introduced. Most local education authorities were have now completely changed over to comprehensive schooling.
At the age of 16 pupils take school-leaving examinations in several subjects at the Ordinary level. The exam used to be conducted by eight independent examining boards, most of them connected with the university. This examination could also be taken by candidates at a further education establishment. This exam was called the General Certificate of Education (GCE). Pupils of comprehensive school had taken the examination called the Certificate of Secondary Education either with or instead of the GCE.
A GCE of Advanced (“A”) level was taken two years after the Ordinary level exam. It was the standard for entrance to university and to many forms of professional training. In 1988 both examinations were replaced by the more or less uniform General Certificate of Secondary Education.
The private sector is running parallel to the state system of education. There are over 2500 fee-charging independent schools in GB. Most private schools are single-sex until the age of 16. More and more parents seem prepared to take on the formidable extra cost of the education. The reason is the believe that social advantages are gained from attending a certain school. The most expansive day or boarding schools in Britain are exclusive public schools like Eton college for boys and St. James school for girls.
4.2. Universities and Colleges in Great Britain
There are over 90 universities in Great Britain. They are divided into three types: the old universities (Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities), the 19th century universities, such as London and Manchester universities, and the new universities. Some years ago there were also polytechnics. After graduating from polytechnic a student got a degree, but it was not a university degree. 31 formers polytechnics were given university status in 1992.
Full courses of study offer the degree of Bachelor of Art or Science. Most degree courses at universities last three years, language courses 4 years (including year spent aboard). Medicine and dentistry courses are longer (5-7 years).
Students may receive grants from the Local Education Authority to help pay for books, accommodation, transport, and food. This grant depends on the income of their parents.
Most students live away from home, in flats of halls of residence.
Students dont usually have a job during term time because the lessons called lectures, seminars, classes of tutorials (small groups), are full time. However, many students now have to work in the evenings.
University life is considered an experience. The exams are competitive but the social life and living away from home are also important. The social life is excellent with a lot of clubs, parties, concerts, bars.
There are not only universities in Britain but also colleges. Colleges offer courses in teacher training, courses in technology and some professions connected with medicine.
5. The Modern British Economy
From 1981 to 1989 the British economy experienced eight years of sustained growth at the annual average rate over 3%. However, subsequently Britain and other major industrialized nations were severely affected by recession. In Britain growth slowed to 0.6% in 1990, and in 1991 gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 2.3%. GDP fell in 1992 as a whole by 0.4%, but it rose slightly in the second half of the year. The recovery strengthened during the first part of 1993; with GDP in the second quarter being 2% higher than a year earlier; the European Commission expected Britain to be the fastest growing of all major European economies in 1993 and1994.
Recent indications that the recovery is under may include:
- an increase in manufacturing output;
- a steady upward trend in retail sales;
- increases in new car registrations;
- record levels of exports;
- increased business and consumer confidence; and
- signs of greater activity in the housing market.
The Governments policy is to ensure sustainable economic growth through low inflation and sound public finances. The Governments economic policy is set in the context of a medium-term financial strategy, which is revived each year. Within this strategy, monetary and fiscal policies are designed to defeat inflation. Short-term interest rates remain the essential instrument of monetary policy.
Macroeconomic policy is directed towards keeping down the rate of inflation as the basis for sustainable growth, while micro-economic policies seek to improve the working of markets and encourage enterprise, efficiency and flexibility through measures such as privatization, deregulation and tax reforms.
The economy is now benefiting from substantially lower interest rates. In September 1993 base interest rates were at 6%. They had been cut by 9 percentage points since October 1990, and were at their lowest since 1977.
6. The Modern British Industry
Private enterprises in the Great Britain generate over three-quarters of total domestic income. Since 1979 the Government has privatized 46 major businesses and reduced the state-owned sector of industry by about two-thirds. The Government is taking measures to cut unnecessary regulations imposed on business, and runs a number of schemes which provide direct assistance or advice to small and medium-sized businesses.
In some sectors a small number of large companies and their subsidiaries are responsible for a substantial proportion of total production, notably in the vehicle, aerospace and transport equipment industries. Private enterprises account for the greater part of activity in the agricultural, manufacturing, construction, distributive, financial and miscellaneous service sectors. The private sector contributed 75% of total domestic final expenditure in 1992, general government 24 % and public corporations 1%.
About 250 British industrial companies in the latest reporting period each had an annual turnover of more than 500 million. The annual turnover of the biggest company, British Petro