The Schools are planned nearly a year in advance. The Preparatory Schools last for three to four weeks. For these schools, the lecturers typically come from the host institution. The set of topics is more or less the same in all Preparatory Schools, since their purpose is to familiarise beginning Ph.D. students with the basic concepts.
The Main Schools last for three weeks. Each school consists of 4-6 courses, of 6-9 lectures each. Each lecture is of 75 to 90 minutes duration. Lecturers are decided upon the twin criteria of expertise and pedagogical skill. They are informed several months in advance, giving them adequate time to prepare. The topics vary from year to year. In every school, a balance is maintained between formal and phenomenological subjects. These subjects were chosen on the basis of their topicality and importance.
Each lecturer recommends a guest faculty, who is invited to help the lecturer by conducting tutorial sessions and helping students with their difficulties. Every lecture is followed by a tutorial session, usually later during the same day. Here, the students are encouraged to ask questions and seek clarifications. The tutor and lecturer may use the occasion to expand, explain and discuss the content of the preceding lectures. Students are also asked to come to blackboard by turns and work out exercises. In order to facilitate interaction, participants are divided in two batches for the tutorials.
A conscious effort has been made, since the very first school in the series, to stick to a determined format. A reasonable number of lecture hours are allocated for all courses, so that a substantial amount of material can be taught. Isolated seminars or very short lecture series have been avoided. In recent times it has been common to have four courses consisting of 9 lectures, each of one and a half hour duration. The lecturers are in residence for at least 7-10 days and are encouraged to communicate frequently with the students.
The scope, purpose and quality of these Schools therefore compare favourably with similar well-known activities abroad.