/* Education */
The United Kingdom's high literacy rate (99%) is attributable to universal public education introduced for the primary level in 1870 and secondary level in 1900. Education is mandatory from ages 5 through 16, although this is in the process of being raised to 18 for England and Wales. "Public" schools are elite private prep schools, such as [[Eton]] and [[Rugby]],
attended by elite youth who pay high tuition rates.
About one-fifth of British students go on to post-secondary education.
Higher education has been a specialty for over 500 years at Oxbridge (Oxford and Cambridge), with new "red brick" universities added in the 19th century and many others in the late 20th century. Universities contribute L33 billion a year to the economy. Britain has a strong attraction for international students, with 342,000 attending in 2007 (compared to 672,000 in the U.S. and 183,000 in Australia). They spend L1.5 billion in tuition in Britain annually, plus another L.4 billion off campus.