Majority of the educational systems around the world impart secondary formal education around the time of adolescence. It is reflected by a obvious transition from the basic mandatory primary education to more optional and choice specific ‘Post secondary’ education. Depending on the choice made during this phase many institutions may be termed as secondary schools, high schools, middle schools, gyms or lyceums. At times they may also be termed as vocational schools.
The actual meaning of these may differ from system to system. The accurate demarcation between primary education & secondary education too may differ from nation to nation. At times variations exist with the same nation itself. This phase often comes between the seventh and the tenth year of schooling. Most of the teenagers spend their life attaining secondary education. In some nations such as USA, Canada & Australia the combination of primary education and secondary education is called K-12 education. In nations like New Zealand, this combination is termed as Year 1-13. The main aim of secondary education is to impart common knowledge and make the student ready and well equipped to attain higher education or capable of directly training for specific professions.
Before the year 1910 there was no concept of secondary education in US. Later technological advancement and the launching of various businesses gave rise to the need for skilled workers. To cope up with the rising job demands, high schools began to function. These aimed to impart practical and goal oriented skills thus making them eligible for white collar or blue collar jobs. This move resulted in a positive change proved to be useful and fruitful for the employers as well as the employees. It also enhanced the efficiency levels and drastically cut down on the costs on the employers. In contrast, skilled workers also enjoyed better wages as compared to those employees who had only primary education.
Grammar schools (academies) have a long history in Europe dating back to the 16th century. They were also known as public schools, fee paying schools and also functioned under various charitable educational foundations which existed much earlier.
Various community colleges provide non residential junior colleges that provide courses to the people who live in that vicinity.