Private versus Public Education





Private versus Public Education

Education refers to the form of learning where skills, knowledge and habits of a particular group of people are passed on from one generation to subsequent ones. This is done through training, teaching or research. Educational forms also include any formative effects from an experience that influences the thinking of an individual. Education is carried out through stages such as early childhood, primary, secondary and higher or tertiary education. Other forms include vocational, special adult and alternative education. Institutions that are state funded make up the public institutions while the independently owned and funded make up the private institutions. Public education is better than private education.

Education relies on a curriculum, which is the predetermined purpose of the school’s system. Such systems are at times based on religion, which offers different curricula. Education takes place in both formal and informal settings. During the pre-literate times, the society equipped adults to train the young members in knowledge and skills that were necessary and required them to master and later on pass them on to the next generation (Bellei 8). This was achieved through oral means and imitation. Cultures began to expand the knowledge beyond those skills that utilized imitation through developing of formal education.

The choice between present day public and private institutions is a significant dilemma for the parents. In some cases, the private institutions offer superior education while the public institutions provide a diverse cultural experience. The public schools depend on local, state and federal tax funding. According to Bellei (9) public schools, follow guidelines by the state together with evaluation procedures. Private schools, on the other hand, depend on personal funding methods through grants, donations, tuition and endowments. For the religious schools, spiritual organizations act as important funding sources. In the areas that utilize voucher system, a check from the sate can fund the private schools.

The debate on public versus private schools rests on the fundamental principles of the purpose of education. The first and basic purpose is the quality of the provision and the outcomes on an educational basis. In general, the quality of education offered in private institutions provides better returns compared to the public schools (Peterson and Laulet 13). Considering the social background, at times the opposite is true. For example, absence by the teachers, the teacher to pupil ratio and teaching activities are parameters in checking the effectiveness of the education offered. In some countries, these parameters have favored the public institutions.

Affordability and choice of the poor in the society determines the type of institution a child attends. Droix and Matthias (31) agree that private schools offer better quality facilities for teaching while the perception of preference in the instructions through English language all seem to hand the private schools better reviews. This can only be achieved if the parent is able to afford the payments to such institutions. Exclusions are also present in terms of the social status. The poor in the society have no choice than to opt for the public schools that are affordable (Droix and Matthias 18). The limited affordability increases the gap between the two types of institutions.

Financial sustainability and cost-effective differences between the private and public institutions paint a different picture altogether. In some instances, the private schools usually operate on low cost by maintaining the salaries of teachers on the low levels. According to Dronkers and Robert (41), the financial situation in such cases maybe worse if the dependence of the fees is on low-income families. In the public schools, the government or state centrally contracts the teachers. Their financial sustainability is guaranteed according to the terms of the contract spelled out. The public schools have an edge here depending on the funding by the state or government.

The political arm of the government determines the standing of the public schools (Dronkers and Roberts 43). The rules and regulations debated upon and drawn up by the politicians are followed up in these institutions as part of the larger system of schools. For the private institutions, funding and regulations are drawn up on the personal basis. There is the general lack of bureaucratic processes, which govern the public schools. This allows the private schools to highly specialize, offer learning in a differentiated setup and advance the curriculum. There is room for development of special programs geared to the specific goals.

The admission procedures between public and private institutions provide a clear distinction. According to the law, public institutions are mandated with admitting all interested children. This does not cover learning or any disability for that matter. The public schools lack adequate resources and facilities to assist such individuals. Private institutions, on the other hand, are selective in terms of admission (Glodloe 8). The law does not obligate them whatsoever. Such admission depends on interviews, testing and essay applications. Other criteria that can be used in the admission include ethnical and religious backgrounds including attributes that relate to the parents such as assets and social status.

The teacher qualification in the education sector is a major determinant in the choice of the two institutions. It is perceived that teachers in private schools are highly qualified and certified. Glodloe (11) points out an important note that the teachers in public schools are certified by the state. This is at the minimum, whereas those that have not been certified are working towards that. The certification by the state is a confirmation of coursework done and achievement of the required training necessary for the education process. In the private schools, the teachers might not have the certification, maybe a form of expertise in a specific subject-area.

Curriculum development in private and public institutions provides a similar discrepancy. Private institutions have the flexibility to choose the type of curriculum and models of assessment, as they deem possible (Nishimura and Yamano, 17). This freedom results in either higher or lower standards by any means. The public schools, on the other hand, have to follow the laid down guidelines by the state or government. This provides for a quality control mechanism in the public schools in general. Part of the assessment procedure provided for by both sets is having the same criteria in the rating and approval of performances by the students.

A common feature with the public schools is the size of the classroom. In the lower grades, the sizes of classes are generally small. Nishimura and Yamano (19) confirm that once the students advance to higher grades, the sizes increase gradually. This is common in urban institutions and large district schools in the public category. In the private schools, there is general variation in this. The classes are small and maintain a low ratio between the students to teachers. There is no substantial guarantee that the sizes are maintained below a certain level. Some private schools, especially those of a religious nature have been known to have classes larger than those in public schools.

The special needs of some students are entrenched in the special education laws that affect the public schools significantly. Public schools are obliged to approve and enforce special programs to the special needs of such categories. Private schools, on the other hand, are not obliged to do this. It is however, adequate to note that there are private schools specifically made for people with special needs. In other instances, the private schools employ a method known as ‘counseling out’ where they recommend such students to seek alternative admissions. Others might accept the admission of such students but at an added cost due to the resources.

Schwarzenberger (14) says that due to the autonomous nature of private schools, they are free to offer education on religion or curriculum that is not regulated by state standards. Most of the private schools are accredited while other good ones are not. The accreditation show that the schools have met certain criteria set by peers. It also signifies that the academic programs and administration procedures are reviewed by an external group on a regular basis after a certain amount of time. Tuition is generally higher in the private schools, up to the tertiary levels of education like private universities.

Public institutions offer an easier chance of education to all members of the society. In Bellei’s words (36), it is stated that the public schools were “doing an outstanding job”. The government, in some instances, offers loans to the students who qualify for a place in the tertiary forms of learning like the universities. Public schools generally are diverse in composition as compared to the private institutions. Several factors lead to the choice of public schools by most parents. There is proximity with home. This is associated wit the neighborhood schools. Students who live close at home and tend to go to the same public school in the neighborhood have a better form of social time as arranged.

The cooperation between parents and teachers through Parent Teacher Organization in public schools is enhanced. According to Glodloe (18), there is more openness in having the parents at the classrooms in public institutions as compared to the private institutions. The transportation of students to the school is another issue. According to the proximity of the homestead to the school, most ties it is cheaper than the arrangement through private schools, which have a higher fee. In the case of low-income families, there is provision of meals like lunch. Either this is through reduced rates or depending on the funding, the lunch can be free for all.

Education is vital in the society. It is the transfer of knowledge and skills in a formal process and setting from one generation to another. Public and private education offers two distinct methods of equipping the society with the necessary knowledge in solving of problems that face everyday life and challenges. Private education depends on its own funding through sources like tuition fee. If the institution is religious-based, the funding can be achieved from the religious sources. Public education is dependent on the state or government funding through taxes. Assessment and administrative programs are also guided by the government guidelines. In both forms of education, through comparisons, they both have advantages and disadvantages over the other. In conclusion, public education is better and efficient as compared to the private education. This is due to the diversification in admission and composition while also providing services for all people no matter the social class in the society at affordable rates.






Works Cited:

Bellei, Christian. The Private-Public School Controversy: The Case of Chile. Harvard Graduate School of Education. O5-13. (2005) 1-49. Print.

The journal looks at the role of the administrators in the two education systems, the teacher’s roles and the difference in efficiency of the two systems.

 Croix, David and Matthias Doepke. Public Versus Private Education when Differential Fertility Matters. Journal on Education and Learning.  5. (2003). 1-29. Print.

The document takes a one-sided approach in the debate between the two education systems. It also provides the statistical evidence to support its favor of the public education.

US Department of Education, National Assesment of Educational Progress. Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling. NCES 2006-461. PDF file.

The journal looks at broadly the effect of the two education systems have in the society. It provides a general overview of the different systems across the world and marks out the successful and efficient means.

Dronkers, Jaap and Peter Robert. The Effectiveness of Public and Private Schools from a Comparative Perspective.  Department of Political and Social Sciences. 3. (2013): 1-65. Print

The journal gives the statistical evidence necessary between the public education system and private education system. It also provides global statistics in the efficiency of both systems.


Goodloe, Rachel. The Differences Between the Public and Private School Systems. Journal of Undergraduate Research, MSU-Mankato. Vol. 5. (2005). 1-12. Print.

The journal gives an overview of the comparisons between public and private schools. It effectively gives the general performance of the two institutions.

Nishimura, Mikiko and Takashi Yamano. School Choice between Public and Private Primary Schools under The Free Primary Education Policy in Rural Kenya. GRIPS Policy Information Centre. 08-02. (2008). 1-22. Print.

The document studies the differences in the systems in Rural Kenya and gives an overview of the efficient systems and reasons.

Peterson, Paul and Elena Laulet. “On the Public-Private School Achievement Debate.” American Political Science Association. 06.02 (2006): 1-58. Print.

Paul’s and Elena’s file is particularly concerned with the lessons observed from the two contrasting forms of funded education and the impact on the students.

Schwarzenberger, Astrid. Public/ Private Funding of Higher Education: A Social Balance. Center for Higher Education Studies. 5:01. (2008). Print.

The journal takes a one-sided approach in the debate between the two education systems. It also provides the statistical evidence to support its favor of the public education.





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