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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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Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.

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