But having an education with schools run by Sisters of "Mercy", "Christian" Brothers and Marist brothers, my recollection is of a brutality that would not be tolerated today.
For example, it was routine for our Form 1 (Year 7) class to have a French exam AND a Latin exam every day. For every error, no matter how minor - for example not placing an acute or a grave symbol above a vowel - would receive one whack with the strap. Up to a maximum of 6. So there was some "mercy" there.
Another time a "Brother" grabbed a student by his hair and whacked his head into the blackboard repeatedly. Because the poor kid who was obviously mentally challenged could not answer some complicated mathematical question. There are two sequelae from this example: that student left in Year 11 to join the public service (that was the last year they did not require matriculation) and that teacher famously had the best pass rate in the state in both Pure and Applied Mathematics in Y12 (with only 2 students failing in his 40+ years of teaching). Parenthetically, I have never appreciated the beauty of maths so much as in his class.
So a double edged sword: brutality we would not tolerate these days but academic outcomes that could not be achieved these days ESPECIALLY on the level of school fees they charged.