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EDUCATION CORNER: Public vs Private institutions, what matters…

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with Prof Nyanga

It common in the streets to hear people talk about how best the private schools are especially from primary to secondary schools.

If you want your child to speak english and know how to write well early, then you must think of taking them to private school.

From primary to secondary school, many people (including teachers working in government schools) would rather take their children to private schools than government schools.

The only hinderance from all parents/ guardians is that private schools are more expensive than government schools especially in primary schools where is free in some countries including Zambia.

The reasons include, like mentioned above, the learners receive maximum attention in private schools than government schools where there are the pupil-teacher ratio is quite large.

It is not surprising to find 80 pupils in class against one teacher in government schools while in private schools, one teacher can be teaching a maximum of 20 pupils. Another issue is that most government schools have, especially in the rural areas have no many teachers while in private schools, teachers are readily available to deliver the services.

Time also spent in government schools is shorter than in private schools. In government schools, pupils may not stay the whole day at school but in private schools, pupils do spend the day at school, giving time also to parents/guardians to do their job without worrying about their children.

Many private are known for discipline and good morals than government schools. This prompts parents/ guardians to take their to private schools where they will receive maximum discipline unlike to government ones where discipline is compromised.

The private schools are well managed in terms of teachers being on time to deliver their lessons, provision of transport and meals (at a fee) to pupils, organising field trips, and many enticing and wooing activities which make learning interesting as opposed to government schools where some pupils see school as punishment.

The opposite of primary and secondary education system happens when we go to tertiary education. Many people would rather be in government institutions than be in private ones.

There are so many reasons that are attached to such shift from private schools in the first two stages of education (primary and secondary) to public institutions.

The government institutions are perceived to cheaper than private institutions. The best example that can be derived is that of tuition fees at University of Zambia are much far lower than those fees at University of Lusaka (UniLus).

Since many families cannot afford such high fees, they would rather take their children to UNZA than UniLus. The same can be talked about colleges of health sciences where government ones are three times cheaper than private colleges offering the same courses.

Some government institutions offer scholarships to students which adds much to the reason of choosing such institutions compared to private institutions (though, recently, private institutions are applying the same principle of scholarship to who enrollments).

The other reason for choosing public tertiary education over privates is that government institutions have modern facilities where training can easily be conducted from. Government institutions have well stocked libraries and advanced technology, up to standard laboratories, well connected to internet, and well established systems of management.

A good example is that of Mulungushi University (Zambia) compared to University of Africa (Zambia). It is only some few private institutions that are able to have the mentioned available because the cost of having all those are very high mean while, the government institutions mostly have beenhelped by the government to run the institutions.

Another perception is that if one is trained in a public institution, they will get employed earlier than those trained in private institutions. This perception has been necessitated by the fact that many private institutions have just been opened in the past decade and many people still feel that private institutions are inferior to public ones.

It is common for some people to intimidate those that were in private schools that they will to find employment easily unless they had gone to public ones. Even many advisors (even in secondary schools) tell their pupils to think of government institutions than private schools for them to find a job immediately they finish the course or training.

The other reason is that private institutions do not meet the minimum requirements for them to offer certain courses or trainings, they are deemed to be below par as regarding to human resource, management, and training aids as earlier indicated.

The private institutions are also deemed to be interested in money than teaching which jeopardize the quality of teaching offered.

Lastly, some people say that private higher learning institutions are usually small and may not accommodate a big number of students compared to government ones. A good example is that of University of Zambia compared to Cavendish University (Zambia).

In conclusion, the best institution for you to study from will depend on your perception of many issues including these shared in the next article, I will be covering the tittle; what to look for in higher learning institutions when embarking on your study.

Professor Edgar Nyanga can be contacted on [email protected]

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