In such a situation national citizenship alone will not help, therefore, as in other countries, one of the main aims of American education is to arouse an interest and curiosity in the wide and varied knowledge of the world with an open mind, shunning a narrow outlook.
The American citizen can establish relations with the citizens of other countries only if he possesses a many-sided knowledge about them. By doing so, on the one hand he will gain maturity of mind through the knowledge of the world, and on the other he will develop international understanding to become an able world citizen.
2. To Develop a Sense of Co-operation:
In the public sphere, there are people of different talents. They require human virtues for closer co-operation amongst each other. These human qualities are love, sympathy and co operation.
The citizens of today must have faith in humanity, equality and co-operation in order to lead a happy life. So the other aim of American education is to develop qualities of humanity and co-operation so that a person may strive for collective, social progress by co-ordinating old and modern knowledge wisely.
3. To Introduce Vocational Point of View in Education:
The purpose of American education is to prepare a citizen for life. In the modern age, the vocational point of view is considered very important, so provision has been made for vocational and technical education along with general education.
A number of multi-purpose technical schools have been established in U.S.A. Guidance centres have been established for providing vocational guidance to students.
Through these schools and centres the students are given vocational guidance according to their interest, aptitude, need and ability, and they are trained accordingly. Thus the trained student not only improves his economic status, but also contributes significantly to the economic development of the country.
4. To Develop the Qualities of Citizenship:
America is a democratic country. The success of democracy depends on ideal citizens. Efforts are made in U.S.A. to develop qualities of ideal citizenship from the beginning.
Qualities like tolerance, knowledge of one’s rights and duties, respect for the views, and rights and duties of others and the spirit of selfless social service are developed in the people there. The citizens are educated to behave according to the accepted social ideals.
5. Provision for All Types of Education:
For success of democracy the citizens should be fairly well educated. Just as freedom is the birth right, so is education. There are three main characteristics of American educational system – (1) Universal (2) Compulsory (3) Free. Most of the schools in America fulfill the needs of the common people and they are managed by specific communities.
Education is compulsory for the boys and girls from 7 years to 16 years of age. At some place, this limit has been raised to 17 and 18 years while at some other places, the lower age limit has been reduced to 4 or 5 years. Thus in America, education is compulsory from 4-5 years of age to 17-18 years for both boys and girls.
The purpose of compulsory education was the spread of literacy along with expansion of education and to bring maximum number of boys and girls under compulsory attendance.
This law is called as the ‘Law of Compulsory Attendance’. Earlier people strongly opposed this law and claimed that the law was against ‘Parental Rights’. But that opposition died when better sense prevailed and the people accepted the Law of Compulsory Attendance. And so education became universal.
According to census reports, around the middle of the present century, the student community was 1/5 of the total population. Education is not only compulsory in America but it has been made free also by extending educational facilities. All the elementary schools in the country offer free education. Free education had begun in America in the nineteenth century.
Apart from free education, free transport service from home to school, free mid-day meals and free medical care are available to students. The old one-roomed schools have been converted into multi-roomed, modern, well-ventilated schools. For organising games and sports, central halls have been constructed along with gymnastic departments.
In America, there is a provision for education from the nursery to the university stage. Generally all the boys and girls receive education upto 16 years of age. Seventy-five per cent of the students continue their education upto the Higher Secondary stage and 16 percent go upto the college level. Vocational and technical schools impart training to 50 percent of the student community.
Besides public schools, private and denomination schools also exist. Twenty percent of the total student population receives education in privately managed primary schools. Private secondary schools are less attractive than primary schools but private colleges and universities have made much progress.
The number of students studying in these institutions is equal to that in public schools. We also find private vocational schools, experimental schools and training colleges contributing to the education system of America.
Denomination schools are quite sufficient in number but they are not very attractive. Therefore the number of students in those schools is less than the number in private schools.
Another reason for universal education in America is the availability of transport facilities along with all other educational facilities. Free transport brings about ten million boys and girls from home to school every day.
According to the statistics in 1953 about 40 million students and in 1992, 90 million students were receiving free educational facilities.
At present 90 per cent boys and girls are receiving education whereas in the beginning of this century the percentage was 55. Full-time and night schools are in sufficient number in America.
Universal education in United State of America is mainly due to the public schools. Education is universal in the sense that it is imparted without any consideration of poor or rich, black or white, private or government.
The child of every strata of life receives education conveniently according to his interest, aptitude and need. These public schools bear the responsibility of educating the boys and girls of the country efficiently and devotedly.