At this level, we are helping gifted children to reach their full potential. The secondary school has two sections: classes 9 and 10 are the equivalent of GCSE level and classes 11 and 12 are the equivalent of 6th form. We can only take 40 children each year for this four year course and only those who do well in their board exams at the end of class 10 can continue to class 11. As the children are from a wide geographical area, the secondary school is a boarding school, where students work long hours with one of the senior teachers remaining at school to organise extra-curricular classes and to supervise homework. The children are provided with study facilities and all meals.
Children are chosen from the brightest in Project Mala Middle Schools at Patehera and Guria. We also offer opportunities to children from other schools to take the entrance exam. Many try, but they are disadvantaged by poor teaching in their previous years in substandard schools.
The pace and level of teaching in our secondary school is more advanced than in the junior classes. Students are expected to study hard and to take their work very seriously. They continue in classes 9 and 10 with all subjects from middle school with Sanskrit as an option, rather than a core class. Agriculture and home economics, traditionally studied by boys and girls respectively, are combined in a co-educational class entitled life science, which includes nutrition, health and hygiene, ecology and horticulture studied both from a scientific point of view and including practical classes in food preparation and gardening.
Computing is studied by all the pupils and practical science lessons conducted in the science laboratory which was completed in 2015. In the Indian school and university system, students continuing to class 11 choose to study in one of three subject areas; science, commerce or arts. Science is regarded as the most prestigious, followed by commerce and lastly arts. It is common, therefore, in India to study science in class 11 and for this reason it is imperative to give our students the opportunity to study science and maths at a high level as they will need this if they go on to university.
We offer only the science and commerce streams in Project Mala in classes 11 and 12. All pupils take Hindi and English as well as maths. Science students choose either biology and chemistry (which is required for further study in medicine or nursing) or chemistry and physics (the subjects needed to opt for engineering). Commerce students study a range of subjects, including IT, accounting and business studies. After school they may go directly into clerical or administrative work, or continue on to study accountancy, business or IT, or they can take the specific exams to enter the civil service or banking.
As in the primary and middle schools, secondary school students are offered a range of cultural activities and extra-curricular classes to help develop a wide range of interests. The older pupils are also elected to positions of responsibility in the school. Some take on coaching and mentoring of younger pupils, others help to organise sporting events. Each boarding house elects a head of house who helps the housemaster and housemistress with the younger boarders and all boarders take it in turns to help the cooks prepare the evening meal.