Three types of courses are available in the secondary schools. The first one is compulsory for all boys and girls, the second includes semi-compulsory subjects which are not compulsory for all, but are compulsory only for those students who want admission in special classes related to those subjects and the third has varied subjects which provide free elective curriculum.
The students have to select the subjects from the different subject-groups. Thus, in every secondary school, the number of subject and subject-groups is different according to the local needs.
The subjects are selected either in the last year of junior high school classes or first year of secondary schools. In the four year secondary schools, the subjects have to be selected in the first year.
At the secondary level, the curriculum has been expanded because of re-organisation and to cater to the needs of the children. Provision of teaching upto 290 subjects exists at this level. About 100 subjects are available in a secondary school of a big city and the students select the subjects of their interest, capacity and need.
In America most of the students leave their studies after the secondary level. Hence efforts are made to make them fit for some vocation. Therefore, basic training in agriculture, industry and commerce is given at this level.
In the first year of this level, subjects like sociology, experimental science, physical education, mathematics and English language are mostly selected. However, out of subjects like handicrafts, metal work, electric-work, type-writer knowledge, animal husbandry, soil-conservation, manufacturing of musical instruments fashion designing, drawing and painting, home science or subjects of similar utility are chosen.
These subjects are classified according to utility and need.
Vocational, Cultural and Co-curricular Programmes:
In most of the American schools vocational and general education are given simultaneously. In some cases, vocational and specific training schools are separate from general education schools.
Joint system is advantageous because the students of art, science and commercial groups, by selecting useful vocational subjects, are able to find means of earning a living or for becoming more efficient and they go to specific vocational schools and thus adopt a suitable vocation for life.
In secondary schools, along with vocational and general education, co-curricular activities are also conducted. These programmes help in developing qualities of good citizenship.
The students receive training in collective exchange of views, freedom of thought and expression and qualities of leadership through activities like discussions, students’ self-government, and mock-parliament.
Their student-life and activities prepare them for future life and behaviour. Students’ administration committees by trying to amend the teaching-behaviour of teachers, provide opportunities for evaluation of each other’s work.
Various institutions are established for collective games and sports, literary projects, recreation and constructive utilisation of leisure. The students learn human virtues through constructive activities.
The school provides various types of desired help, such as co-operation of the teachers and provision of buildings, etc. The students organise clubs according to their interests and needs, e.g., in music, literature, instrumental music, discussions, dramatics, news-paper publication, social behaviour, recreation, games and sports, etc. and related activities are also organised.
These co-curricular activities are all the more important at the adolescent stage. Schools, teachers, education department and administrators, all encourage such activities and make new provisions after evaluating the success of activities. Now all possible efforts are being made in this direction.