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Saturday 06-Aug-2016
【信報:寄宿學校攻略】認識英校種類

曾有家長與學生想了解英國的中學制度,但被一大堆名詞搞到頭昏腦脹:Public School?State School?Private School?吓!Public School不同於State School?Public School原來份屬Private?但並非所有Private School都可以叫Public School?

 

做升學顧問,其中一個重責,就是安撫這些迷惘的家長與學生,並為他們拆解這一大堆令人費解的專有名詞。英國的Public School,歷史上應可與「和諧式客機」齊名,並列「全球最具誤導性名稱榜」榜首。何以誤導?黎民甲乙丙一見「Public School」二字,最直接便會聯想到「慈善學堂」,即以教育平民大眾為己任,務使人人有書讀的學校,繼而引申為政府開辦、毋須學費書簿費、收生相對寬鬆的公立學校。不對嗎?對一半,不對一半。

 

是這樣的。英國的確存在政府斥資興辦且由地區政府管理,向大眾提供教育的學校,這些學校課程要根據「全國教學大綱」而釐定,老師都躋身公務員匡列,最重要的是不收學費(寄宿生則要交寄宿費)。不過這類別學校不叫Public School,正名為State School。相對於State School,由私人或獨立團體辦理、學生需繳學費的私立學校,則全部可統稱為Private School或Independent School。

 

等於貴族學校

說到Public School,英格蘭和威爾斯的Public School,原本出身確實源於要教育貧苦大眾的慈善學校,名字中的Public,指的正是教育的受眾,當時不拘社會階層、宗教、職業、居住地區,即使是貧苦或平民的子弟都能受惠於這些慈善辦學機構,接受教育。

 

不過1868年頒布的公校法,賦予7間地位與別不同的學校獨立管理權,令這些學校從此可脫離政府或教會獨立運作。這些早期的公學全部都是男子寄宿學校,基於這批學校與當時英國的領導階層以至皇室關係密切,學生都是來自官府豪門,所以學校的地位額外尊貴崇高,後來還發展出多個公學派別。但總的來說,Public School是非一般的Independent School或Private School,只有少數歷史悠久、收生嚴謹兼收費高昂的私立中學才有權掛上這公學的冠冕。它們雖有Public之名,卻弔詭地絕非向廣大民眾中門大開的學府,反而是提供精英教育的貴族學校,到今天都依然一樣。


 

電郵:smschan1@gmail.com

面書:www.facebook.com/ukchitchat

圖片:telegraph.com.uk

原文刊載於信報《銘想英國》專欄:
http://www1.hkej.com/dailynews/culture/article/1359993/

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