From Academic Kids
The term public school has different meanings:
- In England and Wales, one of a small number of prestigious historic schools open to the public which normally charge fees and are financed by bodies other than the state, commonly as private charitable trusts; here the word "public" is used much as in "public house". See public school (UK). The term public school tends to be associated with older, more prestigious fee-paying schools (for example, Eton, Harrow), but the distinction between these and other fee-paying schools is not well-defined. The term preferred by the sector itself is independent schools.
- In Scotland, Australia, the United States and most other English-speaking nations, a school which does not charge tuition fees but is financed and/or controlled by the government, in contrast to a private school (also known as an independent school); here the word "public" is used much as in "public library", i.e. to mean "provided to the public at public expense." In the UK they are also known as state schools.
- In India, due to the influence of the British rule duing the 1700-1947, the term 'public schools' imply non-governmental historically elite educational institutions.
- In the United States, institutions of higher education that are subsidized by the states are also referred to as "public", though unlike public secondary schools, a tuition fee is charged. Due to state funding, however, this fee is typically much less than at private institutions, particularly for residents of the state in which the school is found.
- 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.