Private schools: A case of profiteering versus proper education

Like any other service providers in the country, the education system has had private players since independence.
However, of late the country has witnessed the mushrooming of several educational entrepreneurs with parents looking for better educational options for their children. Most of these mushrooming educational entrepreneurs are motivated by the desire to turn education into profit-making business and for some it is paying dividends. However, the commercialisation of education has dangers of duping the parents of their hard-earned money. There is severe cheating and over defensiveness by those cheating in the educational field. A lot of parents are falling prey to mostly profiteering schools.

By Bothwell Riside

Quality education

The word quality is relative and may be interpreted differently by any parent depending on the background of the parent. Quality education entirely is determined by the whole components in the education system that includes the educational inputs like the books the teachers, the materials being used, the organisation and its culture and so on. The educational processes will also determine the quality of education. The outputs and outcomes will also be looked at to see what kind of education a child we will get. Parents should not only get interested in the results like what is happening these days. The results, yes are good, but the most important thing to look at is whether the process that brought the results was not done in an unorthodox way. For primary education the thrust is to build a child who is sound-minded, morally upright and is able to appreciate the environment around him. Hence a school should have a thrust on good morals, manners, deportment, environmental conservation, rights awareness and basic good governance skills. Remembering that the early stages of education shapes a child’s future. A child who grew up in good environment that has a thrust in loving and belonging is likely to also inculcate such in others.
It is imperative for parents never to only be hoodwinked by the immediate results in terms of pass rates only when choosing a school, but they should look at the broader education of their children. Education of children especially at primary level should never be one sided, it should be all inclusive. The level of corruption, dishonesty, cheating, laziness in some of our professionals today is a result of lack of impartation of such values at school. Hence a teacher must be a person of high moral standing because his actions have the ability to influence hundreds of children that pass through his or her hands.

Therefore, in these years whereby numerous private schools that are sprouting are offering sugar-coated education just to attract the paying parents, there is need for parents to evaluate their child’s potential school in their endeavour to afford them an opportunity to develop in several spheres of life.

Competition

There has been a lot of competition for children in these private schools. Rarely had we been seeing schools advertising in newspapers before as happening today and the education system has literally gone commercial. There is always a danger when a service goes commercial because where there is cheating no one will be able to tell.
Home schools are not proper for the children. Home schools do not offer social, psychological or mental development of a child. By the child being with other children he or she develops. A child who faces social sanctions from peers will reform. Did we know that peers are more influential than both teachers and parents? Hence one on one home schooling is not an option. Parents should approach educationists whenever they wish to make decisions about their children.

Teachers’ professional council

This is probably a step in the right direction. The teachers’ professional council would bring back the ethical aspect associated with teaching. It is believed that this body will bring sanity in the education sector whereby there had been people masquerading as teachers. Knowledge in mathematics does not make one a teacher. Having knowledge in accounts does not make one being a good teacher. I am one of the people who support the Ministry of Education’s stance on teachers teaching with degrees without an educational qualification. The ability to handle the child requires skills not bookish knowledge. It would be better for a child to have a chain of Cs, while the child got the education in a proper way like through discovery than to have a drilled child with A who does not have problem solving skills. That’s the reason why the country has unemployed graduates who aren’t innovative.

Private schools need monitoring

There is always need for the government to monitor these mushrooming schools and try to ensure that their standards are acceptable. Some schools are not offering sports and concentrating entirely on academics which is depriving the nation of good sports people. At primary school level, subjects like art, music, home economics and mass display were meant to broaden the base for a child to discover himself. The challenge is these home schools do not have such facilities. It is thought teaching is only about a child getting a 90% on English. No. Parents must never be cheated by schools. Schools must never present a false report about the children in order to give a parent false hope. Our education system is going through a lot of changes which are both positive and negative

Bothwell Riside writes in his personal capacity.

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