In U.S.A., secondary education is mainly influenced by local environment and controlled by local public. But the system is based on the recommendations of national commissions on secondary education.
In 1892, National Education Association appointed a ‘Committee of Ten’ which gave its recommendations for the improvement of programmes of secondary education with the view point that secondary education should prepare a social background for college education and that classical subjects and arithmetic should be included in the prevailing curriculum of secondary education.
A ‘Committee of Thirteen’ was appointed in 1899 in order to give support to the recommendations of the ‘Committee of Ten’. This committee was called The Committee on College Entrance Requirements.’
This Committee made specific recommendations on programmes of secondary education. Likewise a ‘Committee on the Articulation of High Schools and Colleges’ was appointed in 1911, which made various recommendations and presented various schemes in order to make the prevailing system of secondary education more useful.
In 1912, National Education Association appointed a ‘Commission on Reorganisation of Secondary Education’. After six years of intensive study and inspection, the Commission laid down some cardinal principles of secondary education.
According to these principles the aim of providing opportunity of complete and worthy living to every citizen of U.S.A. after getting secondary education was accepted. Seven main aims of secondary education were accepted. These were as follows:
(1) Health Education:
This Committee recommended the inclusion of health education in the curriculum of secondary education for the improvement of physical and mental health. Health education aimed at arranging health programmes from time to time and providing opportunities for the improvement of health as well as motivating students to fulfill their national, social, family and individual obligations and responsibilities.
(2) Command of Fundamental Processes:
In order to make the education of secondary level more useful and progressive, efforts should be made for conducting necessary experiments in the education based on fundamental processes of elementary stage and for providing practice in them.
(3) Worthy Home-membership:
Secondary education should be so adequate and effective that the children, after getting this education, may become dutiful and prove worthy members of the family by showing ideal behaviour in the family, and by developing such qualities as co-operation, tolerance and good will, which are necessary for worthy home-membership.
(4) Vocational Education:
Vocational education and training should be given priority in the curriculum of this stage so that children may achieve success from the point of view of vocation. The future citizens, thus trained vocationally, will be able to contribute to the prosperity of the nation and will be able to raise their standard of living. This education should develop in them vocational interest, vocational efficiency and co-operative spirit.
(5) Civic Education:
The education should be so organized as to make the future citizens of U.S.A. worthy citizens of the nation so that they may prove useful to the nation, society and the world. The modern citizen should help not only in the solution of national problems but also in the solution of problems of international importance.
(6) Worthy Use of Leisure:
Secondary education should develop in children the capacity of using their leisure time constructively. The educational system should be so organized as to enable the children to use their leisure time for developing their personality and raising their mental and physical standard.
(7) Ethical Character:
Those activities should be included in the educational programmes at the secondary stage, which may develop ethical character of students and create an ethical environment in the country.
All the schools tried to incorporate the above principles of organization of secondary education in their respective curricula and determined educational aims accordingly. An attempt was also made to socialize individualistic education.
In 1933, the need for reorganisation of secondary education was felt. A ‘Committee on Socio-Economic Goals of America’ was set up to look into the matter. The Committee appointed in 1918 had stressed the need of individual development on the basis of development of individualistic education.
But this committee gave more emphasis on social development through the medium of social and co-operative educational programme. This Committee recommended that American education be made more social, economic and public. It laid down the following ten objectives for this socially progressive education:
(1) The objective of physical security.
(2) The objective of equality of opportunity.
(3) The objective of economic security.
(4) The objective of freedom.
(5) The objective of mental security.
(6) The objective of fair play.
(7) The objective of suitable occupation.
(8) The objective of an active and flexible personality.
(9) The objective of hereditary strength.
(10) The objective of participation in evolving culture.
In the same way the ‘Department of Secondary School Principle’ appointed a ‘Committee on the Orientation of Secondary Education’ in 1932, to study secondary education and to suggest suitable programmes for it. This Committee submitted two main reports and recommendations.
In the first report this Committee gave suggestions for creating a conducive atmosphere in the schools for the development of social membership, social ideals, abilities and character.
This process was defined by the word ‘Education’ by this Committee. In this type of education, motivation for complete development of normal citizens and capacity of providing guidance to children were considered necessary. This progress was possible through secondary education alone.
Primary education could not provide any opportunity for such a progress. This education prepares students for future life and develops in them the ability to pursue study in Liberal Arts Colleges and Professional Schools of Specialization.