What is Upper Secondary School Education

What is Upper Secondary School Education
What is Upper Secondary School Education

Upper Secondary school education is an alternative to a high school education. It is designed for kids who are not going to university and the schools are usually much smaller than high schools. It usually lasts four years in length and the students work toward passing their final exams so that they can graduate – either with a General Qualification (Q1) or a Higher Qualification (Q2).

There is some controversy as to whether it is appropriate for upper secondary school education alone to be a full-time activity, because it may not stimulate enough skills in most of its students. The “core” curriculum format was created specifically for this purpose and allows various non-core courses like social studies, arts and crafts, sports, etc. to be offered regularly, to extend the curriculum beyond the minimum of four years. Critics argue that this extension of the curriculum may lead to a lack of focus in some students.

In other languages, upper secondary school education is often called higher secondary school education. Countries all over the world have their names for this kind of education as well, with “Lagerefter” being used in Denmark, “Högre allmänna åk” (formerly called “gymnasial”) used in Sweden, and “senior high” or fourth level schooling is common elsewhere. 

How to implement Upper Secondary School Education  in General

The steps to implementing Upper Secondary School Education are:

Provide only one cycle of Upper Secondary School Education despite the age of a student: 

This can be achieved by integrating the last two years of Primary Education with the first two years of General Secondary Education.

Provide a one-year program in Upper Secondary Schools: 

This would serve to provide an opportunity for students who require additional assistance or want to accelerate their education with a possible goal of entering college upon completion.

Create another program that can be provided within the General Secondary Schools system:

 This provides courses and education on matters related to different careers such as Child Development and Education, Art, Industrial Technology, Agricultural Technology, Food Services, and Nutrition Education, etc.: These colleges should also be able to offer apprenticeships in certain industries where there is a need for skilled labor.

Focus on personal development and not just academic achievement: 

This requires the establishment of a system that provides opportunities for students to learn and participate in activities outside the school environment while being supervised by personnel who can help them integrate their educational achievements with their personal development.

Improve the quality of teachers: 

The process of recruiting teachers needs to be more selective, where the skills and qualifications of applicants are considered more carefully: This requires that the selection criteria be reviewed thoroughly. Further, training options should be provided which reduce barriers to applying for these positions, such as providing opportunities for those who do not hold a degree but who show potential to meet minimum requirements.

Teachers must be allowed to design the learning environment and curriculum that they believe will best serve students, even if other educators will not agree with them:

This requires that teachers who are teaching grades 5-9 can make their lessons following the curriculum that they believe will best serve students while being supervised and evaluated by the principals and vice principals.

Allow students to participate in more extracurricular activities: 

This requires establishing structures to allow students to get involved in activities outside the school system, such as sports leagues, non-violent clubs, and events that provide them with an opportunity to gain experience and knowledge that will help them later on at University or other institutions of higher learning.

Emphasize the importance of social skills, such as emotional intelligence and conflict resolution:

This requires that students are taught to be able to channel their emotions in positive ways, through structured activities that will help students develop their emotional intelligence.

Introduce programs that will help students to express themselves more clearly through the arts:

This requires studying the forms of art and music that are available in our communities and schools, so we can make the best use of them by providing training opportunities for teachers, so they can teach these subjects to students of varied levels.

Importance of Upper Secondary School Education in General

The importance is:

  • Establishing a lifelong accomplishment that contributes to personal and national identity.
  • Encouraging students to take responsibility for their learning with increased opportunities for self-motivated inquiry.
  • Expanding the possibilities of higher education, by offering high quality and professional development in Schooling as well as in careers that are recognized by society.
  • Developing a wide range of skills to reflect and enhance the potential of every child and young person who attends our schools
  • Supporting teaching and curriculum development through partnerships with communities, businesses, governments, policymakers, parents, and learners alike 
  • Providing opportunities for students to participate in local, national, and/or international education and training projects.
  • Presenting programs that reflect the diversity of learners’ personalities, backgrounds, cultures, and learning styles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the upper grades?

Many independent and some parochial schools in the United States also tend to favor the term “upper school” to designate grades 9–12, normally called “high school”.

What is grade A in Nigeria?

It is worth knowing that Under the four-point grading system, the students scores are graded using the letter grades below: A: (70 and above)- 4. B: (60- 69%)- 3

What is junior secondary education in Nigeria?

Junior Secondary school consists of JSS1, JSS2 and JSS3 which are equivalent to the 7th, 8th and 9th Grade while the Senior Secondary school consists of SS I, SS 2, and SS 3 which is equivalent to the 10th, 11th and 12th Grade. The Senior Secondary School Examination (SSCE) is taken at the end of the SS 3.

What is the difference between upper and lower secondary education?

Secondary education covers ages 11 or 12 through 18 or 19 and is divided into two levels: lower and upper secondary (levels 2 and 3). For the purposes of statistical comparability, the United States has defined lower secondary education as grades 7 through 9 and upper secondary as grades 10 through 12.

What is high school called in Nigeria?

senior secondary education

Upper secondary education (also called: senior secondary education) is concluded with exams from either the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO) . The high school chooses either the WAEC or the NECO.


  • Lawinsider.com – Upper Secondary Education
  • Sciencedirect.com – Upper Secondary Education – an Overview
  • k12academics.com – Education in Nigeria


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