Public school

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The term public school has different meanings:

  • In Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and most other English-speaking nations, a public school is a school which is financed and run by the government and does not charge tuition fees. This is in contrast to a private school (also known as an "independent school." Here the word "public" is used in the sense of "public library," provided to the public at public expense. In Australia and Scotland, public schools are also known as state schools, the name by which they go in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • In England and Wales, as well as in Northern Ireland, many independent schools used to describe themselves as "public schools." Until 1902, there were no publicly-supported secondary schools in England. Public schools were schools supported by an endowment, with a governing body, available to all members of the public, provided that they could pay for tuition costs. Private schools were run for private profit. In recent years all schools formally called "public schools" now refer to themselves as independent schools, but the national press and many others still use the term "public school" when referring to "independent schools," in particular the older, more prestigious fee-paying schools such as those mentioned in the Public Schools Act 1868: Charterhouse, Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Shrewsbury, Westminster, Winchester, Merchant Taylors' and St. Paul's.
  • In India, due to the British influence between 1700–1947, the term "public schools" implies non-governmental, historically-elite educational institutions.
  • In the United States, institutions of higher education that are subsidized by U.S. states are also referred to as "public." unlike public secondary schools, tuitions are charged for public universities, though they are usually much lower than tuitions at private universities.
  • In some countries like Brazil and Mexico, the adjective "public" is used to denote education institutions owned by the federal, state, or city governments. They never charge tuition. Public schools exist in all levels of education, from the very beginning until post-graduation studies.
  • In Ontario, Canada, "public school" refers specifically to provincially-run elementary schools that are not part of the provincially-funded Catholic separate school system.

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