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Secondary education, or secondary school, is a period of education which follows directly after primary education (such as middle school), and which may be followed by tertiary education. The purpose of a secondary education can be to prepare for either higher education or vocational training. The exact boundary between primary and secondary education varies from country to country and even within them, but is generally around the seventh to the tenth year of education, with middle school covering any gaps. Secondary education occurs mainly during the teenage years. Primary and secondary education together are sometimes (in particular, in Canada and the United States) referred to as "K-12" education, (K is for kindergarten, 12 is for twelfth grade).
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