The choice between public and private schools – which one is best for your child

If given the choice, private education far out ways public education especially in South Africa where there is a mismanagement of funds, missing text books, teachers absconding responsibilities, and many other issues. Unfortunately this is not possible for a vast number of families due to the overwhelming cost.

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Public Education

The only pro I can find in favour of public education is that it is the cheaper option. Although some public schools can be really well run depending on the quality of staff and involvement of parents and students in making it a better school. Classrooms are overcrowded not really giving children opportunity to ask questions in a class. The CAPS curriculum is followed but most of the teachers do not like it and find it dry and children find it boring. It does not allow for creativity or the uniqueness of the individual child. It is one standard fits all but unfortunately children do not all fit one standard. Children receive a matric certificate on completion which will allow them into tertiary education only in South Africa. It is not valid in other countries.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein

Private Education

While Private education may be expensive some private schools do offer affordable options. Private schools are run independently from the state and can therefore have more freedom. The classes are smaller and more manageable than that of public school. The curriculum is of a high standard and acceptance of students into tertiary facilities is high inside and outside of South Africa. Cambridge is often the chosen curriculum and the A levels and O levels are accepted overseas. Private schools also usually offer a wider variety of extra-curricular activities and sports.

In my opinion, sadly the public school system is in crisis and private school offers all that is lacking in the public sector. The focus in public schools is survival and the mass production of a workforce whilst in private schools the focus is on leadership and growing leaders and thinkers.

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There is another problem entirely and that is the growing ‘special needs’ epidemic. Children, many of them boys are diagnosed ADHD, Aspergers, have learning difficulties or told they have behavioural problems. There are not nearly enough special needs schools to cater for the amount of diagnosed children. Firstly boys are boys! They are active, and cannot sit still; learning does not happen by sitting still but by experiencing. Secondly; the concrete operational stage of a child’s development according to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is BETWEEN the ages of 7 and 11 not before age 7 as many pre-schools and primary schools push for. Some children are only ready by age 11 but according to this enforced ‘standard’ they are labelled with a learning problem. Because of the lack of options for these type of children many parents are forced to homeschool and homeschooling is becoming a more popular option.

“I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must taught to think. Whereas if the child is left to himself, he will think more and better, if less slowly. Let him come and go freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table while a sweet-voiced teacher suggest that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of colored paper, or plant straw trees in flower pots. Such teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experiences.” ~Anne Sullivan

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