The Indian Public Schools have a distinct identity and are not to be confused with the large number of schools which have liberally adopted the words ‘Public School’ and incorporated the phrase in their names. The Indian Public Schools are ‘private’, independent and secular institutions of higher secondary education. The Sainik Schools and Military Schools, which form part of the Indian Public School complex have been established by the government and receive annual grants-in-aid. They are, however considered to be ‘private’ and ‘independent’ because they are managed by autonomous Boards of Governors and are not obliged to follow the regulations of the grant-in-code. Moreover, their ethos and traditions follow those of other public schools.
An Indian Public School which is a member of the IPSC has certain characteristics. In essence it needs to be a residential school which has a curriculum designed to develop leadership qualities in its students. A public school aims to develop a multitude of skills and attitudes to enable its students to make a meaningful, intelligent and ethical contribution to society.
A typical, good public school aims to teach its students the values of equality and camaraderie. In order to do so, a public school creates an environment where the children live together and work together under the care of teachers who reside on campus and are involved in their students’ growth and development. Public schools have meaningful student-teacher ratios. They teach their students to recognize merit, not just wealth or position. They offer opportunities for students to discover their strengths and develop them. Academics in public schools are a part of the larger curriculum, not an end in themselves. However, the aim is also to give a sound academic foundation to the students, adding to the confidence and self-belief that the school hopes to inculcate in them.