Mathematics, languages, literature, history, geography and science are the main subjects of study. Commerce and agricultural subjects are not encouraged. Besides study, facilities are provided in sports like swimming, horse-riding, wrestling, gymnastics, and for hobbies like photography, crafts and art, etc.
The supervision and control of teachers can be seen in all the activities. The students of higher classes work as monitors or prefects for junior classes. Like the teacher, the students of higher classes keep control on co-curricular activities of junior classes.
But this control is exercised according to a systematic plan under the supervision of a teacher. The feeling of co-operation, responsibility and competition is developed in the students. For this, activities like excursions, scouting and volunteer-corps are organised. It is expected of the students that they will follow their teachers.
Thus, the responsibility of the teacher is very much increased. The students are divided into several groups. These groups are called “houses’. The leadership of the ‘house’ is entrusted to students. Thus qualities of leadership are inculcated in them. The atmosphere of the house is like that of a family-
The warden of the hostel behaves like a father. Thus the atmosphere of the house is cordial.
The public schools generally possess all necessary resources and equipments. A big school building which includes different class-rooms for different subjects, big hall, and library, laboratory, and hostel, play-ground and necessary material for cultural activities are all available there.
In order to maintain their autonomy, the public schools do not take any government help. The headmasters and teachers are paid high salary. The arrangement for their boarding and lodging is generally made by the public school.
Thus, the standard of the teachers is generally high. The headmaster has got full authority to admit or to remove any student from the school. He is also authorised to appoint or promote teachers. Thus, the atmosphere of a public school is quite different from that of an average school.
The public schools charge very high fees from the students in order to meet their expenditure. The average annual expenditure of a student in public school is nearly fifteen to twenty thousand rupees. Evidently, the children of common people cannot study there.
Merits of Public Schools:
Some people have praised the public schools very much. According to them qualities of co-operation, leadership and shouldering responsibility are developed in the student studying in these schools.
In the free atmosphere of public schools, the students get opportunities for the development of personality, because the students are not prepared for the examinations alone. The aim of education there is the development of personality.
All kinds of necessary resources are available there. The teachers and students do not face any difficulty in their work. The condition of ordinary secondary schools in our country is not good. They face scarcities in many ways. So, in a way, public schools are ideal for them. Because of this, any school showing better performance compares itself to a public school.
Demerits of Public Schools:
The public school has also been much criticised. Some people are of the opinion that the public school is against democratic view-point. Children of ordinary people do not get admission in these schools because they are so expensive that children of only the wealthy businessman or high officials of government, ministers and other administrators can study in them.
These people consider it against their dignity to send their children to ordinary schools. Thus, the children of a special class study in public schools whether they are capable or incapable. They lead their life in an atmosphere of luxury and affluence.
This school life leaves a peculiar impression on their personality. They become accustomed to a luxurious and affluent life even after leaving the school. Consequently, tendency of exploitation develops in them.
They will not hesitate to exploit anyone for the satisfaction of their wants in their future life. The children who have studied in public schools consider themselves superior to the children of ordinary people although they may be inferior to them in ability.
Thus, undesirable complexes may develop in their personality. The students of public school try to maintain distinction in society because they think that their status is higher than those of others.
In the democratic India of to-day where people find it difficult even to get two-square meals a day, the continuation of public schools is a mockery of democracy. If during the period of e location the children of the present day India are not able to understand the magnitude of poverty in the country and if they are not able to understand the fundamental problems of the country, it will be waste of educational efforts.
In that case, through education, we will be making them hypocrites, deceitful, un-Indian and of diffused personality. Needless to say that the public schools are moving in this direction.
So in the present Indian society, public schools should not be encouraged and the sooner they are closed the better it is.