The inhuman behaviour and cruelty demonstrated by those people for the expansion of imperialism, gives the idea that slavery, unsociability, corporal punishments and mental complexes experienced during the hostel life in these schools have created in them great hatred for man. The atmosphere in several public schools has been found to be undeveloped, unsocial narrow and vicious in many respects.
Due to the country-wide criticism of public schools, the need to bring improvement in them was felt. The education Act (Butler Act) of 1944 laid stress on bringing improvement in public schools and the Fleming Report published in the same year also criticised public schools and suggested some measures for their improvement.
For improvement it was suggested that admission in these schools should be open also to middle class children who cannot study in them due to paucity of funds. It was further suggested that at least 25 per cent of the total strength of students should be of such students who lack material resources.
The organisers of public schools themselves have tried to bring improvements in them after ascertaining their shortcomings. But even now they lack the desired improvements.
When the British Empire established itself firmly in India, the wealthy in India began to send their children to England for study. These children were generally sent to public schools. But they had to face great difficulty due to the different educational standard and a totally- different life style.
The children of some Rajas, Maharajas and Taluqdars and other rich people did not even get admission there. So some princes and rich people thought of establishing public schools in India on the pattern of British public schools. For this purpose, they donated money generously.
For the organisation of these public schools, headmasters from England on high salaries were appointed. Thus, the beginning of establishing public schools in India was made.
As in England, the public schools here, too, are expensive and for rich people only. In the beginning, public schools started in India were called Chiefs’ College.
The famous advocate of Calcutta, S.R.Das, was the first to think of establishing a public school in India. He wanted that children of all classes of society should be admitted in this public school.
For this purpose, in 1929, he established Indian Public School Society and collected 14 lakh rupees. But due to his death, the plan could not be implemented. However, it was due to his influence that Doon Public School was established in 1935.
In India, Chiefs’ Colleges on the pattern of Public schools of England were giving education to the children of princes,
Rajas, Maharajas, Taluqdars and wealthy people at several places. These colleges were also given government grants. In 1930, in the wake of freedom struggle, a protest was voiced as to why the public schools, i.e., Chiefs’ Colleges, be given any grant from the public-exchequer when those schools did not admit the children of common people.
Consequently the government was forced to stop the grant. As a result, the Chiefs’ Colleges had to face financial difficulties. In 1939, they called a conference in Simla. It was decided there that the Chiefs’ Colleges be called public schools in future.
It was also decided to incorporate Indian culture in the educational system and to establish a body called Indian Public School Association. In 1939, a meeting of the Headmasters of Public Schools was held in Gwalior.
Indian Public School Conference was organised in this meeting and the headmasters of public schools became the members of this conference. The Education Commissioner of the Indian Government, Sir John Sargeant was present in both the meetings held in Simla and Gwalior.
He considered the establishment and development of public schools in India important. He stressed the need of developing public schools in India for the development of qualities of leadership in Indian children because he thought that India had to run her own administration some day.
It may be remembered here that even after the establishment of Indian Public School Conference many Chiefs’ Colleges did not like to become its members. Daily College, Indore; Admission College, Lahore;. Bhonsla Military School, Poona; Rajkumar College, Rajkot declared themselves as public schools. These schools wanted to gain the support of the leaders of. Indian National Congress.
The headmaster, Mr. Smith of Rajkumar College Raipur invited Gandhiji to his school. But Gandhiji did not agree with the policy of maintaining public schools.
So he did not accept the invitation. Even Mr. Smith continued to have faith in the utility of public schools and he continued to remain active to get the support of other leaders. He believed that many leaders did not agree with the Basic Education of Mahatma Gandhi. So he thought that he would get the support of such leaders.
It has been stated earlier that most of the Chiefs’ Colleges did not accept the membership of Indian Public Schools Conference. The Principal of Mayo College, Ajmer, Mr. Sto expressed the opinion that his college belonged to a special category and hence he would not bring his college within the orbit of other public schools.
Other colleges too, had the same notion. In 1940, a meeting of headmaster of Public Schools was held in Raipur. In that meeting the conditions for membership of the Indian Public Conference were determined and it was also decided that the study of Indian languages should be made compulsory for public school students.
Shortly after this, the public schools of Delhi, Ajmer and Bikaner became the members of the Conference. After the recognition of Public School Conference in this way, more public schools were opened.
Among them, the Yadevendra Public School of Patiala (1948), Pilani Birla School (1944), Maharani Gayatri Devi School of Jaipur (1943), and Birla Vidya Mandir of Nainital (1947) are worth-mentioning.
The Education Ministry of the Government of India took over the administration of Lawrance School of Sanavar and Lawrance School of Lovedale from the Defence Ministry, but handed it over to Committees formed in 1953.
Thus, public schools continued to develop in India. But after the attainment of freedom in 1947 it looked as if the future of public schools in India was dark because they began to be considered as an obstacle in the development of the growth of democratic system in the country.
They were considered as symbols of British Empire and foreign culture. The continuance of English as medium of instruction and neglect of Indian culture in these schools became a matter of concern for everyone.
But some influential supporters of English mode of living and culture lent support to public schools. As a result, public schools continue to exist even today.
In 1952-53, the Mudaliar Commission studied the working of public schools and recommended to continue them although it gave several suggestions for improvement.
In the opinion of the Commission, the public schools develop qualities of leadership. So it is better to improve them rather than to close them. This recommendation of the Mudaliar Commission has given them much support.
Moreover several Indian leaders demanded special place for English in the educational system for the sake of International understanding.
Such developments gave great encouragement to public schools. Many public schools were opened at various places and they are favoured even today by the rich and ambitions persons who take pride in sending their children to these schools.
The Kothari Commission of 1964-66 has recommended the abolition of public schools. In the opinion of the commission, it is not fair to maintain public schools in the democratic system of India. Public schools point out to a special class-system.
But those who rule the country want to maintain them. So long as the President, the Prime-Minister, Ministers, Governors and other administrators do not send their children to average schools no improvement is possible in the condition of the average schools.
Therefore, the Kothari Commission has recommended that this undemocratic tradition of public schools be abolished.