When I was a kid, I studied in a private school in my neighborhood and spent most of my time in a fun way of learning. My school has become a second home to me and I felt blessed as it gave me a good platform to do better in life and builds my personality. My sweet memories about my school, friends, teachers, and the lessons are revolving around me even now, bringing confidence and faith to face challenges in life. My dad often acknowledges my school as one of the best in our locality for its affordability and quality education.
In this modern competitive industrialized world, people need a good education to survive. The main goal of schooling is “Training the kid” to develop good habits, helping them learn various subjects and bringing them up in a structured and systematic manner. Schooling is both the means and as well as the end to a better life because it prepares the kid for their livelihood and makes school kids aware of everything from healthcare, individual rights, and duties, social behavior, helping evolve them as better citizens. Choosing a certain type of school for your child sets their foundation for life. Schooling is an important part of proper upbringing.
Now, as a parent when I ask myself, whether I am satisfied and content with the fee and the quality of schooling when my child goes to private school? The answer is a ‘big No’, due to the following reasons.
Government subsidy benefits not reaching parents: Many of the services provided by private schools like transportation, catering, security, housekeeping, food services, etc., are not taxed under GST. Parents are concerned and have developed an opinion that private schools charge exorbitant fees circumventing the law to earn more profits. GST is not applicable and has subsidized municipal taxes too. While the Indian government and society have given various benefits to school to keep the school fees low. In reality, these benefits have not been passed on to parents and lower costs have been misused for higher profit margins by schools.
Untrained teachers in the workforce : Teachers are the role models not only imparting knowledge but also help set the child on the right path. As a teacher their role in the classroom, society, and the world are large, they have a lot of responsibility for molding students in the right direction. Many private schools have an uneven quality of teachers. They lack adequate qualifications, temperament, training, and certification to perform their roles.
Carrying heavy books – a burden to kids: Is your child carrying too much weight in a backpack? Private schools make money through books and stationery. Additional workbooks are another way of earning money. Further visible symbols of quality like superior quality textbooks help schools create the right impression but these books use thicker and heavier paper. The workbooks increase the number of books and higher-quality books adding up the weight of the school bags. These heavy backs affect children’s spine and back causing long term ill – effects like growth deformities.
Absence of alternate choices to profiteering schools: There are no alternative private schools in some localities with affordable fee structure and a decent quality of education. So, other than expensive private schools, parents have no practical choices.
Problems with ultra-strict corporate schools: Another issue with corporate schools in the ultra-strict school teachers and administrators. Since, these are chains of institutions, they value teachers or administrators who can administer the school as per structure. The franchisor of the school just circulates some formats that the teachers/administrators need to follow. These corporate schools’ rigid policies impose unneeded punishment for minor issues with student behaviors and a constant threat of suspension or expulsion. In reality, these policies increase the bad behavior of students. The lack of proper mindset in teachers in handling such non-perfect students under their care is another failure of the school to modify the behavior of young children in the right direction.
Most private schools lack customization to student talents: Despite tall claims, private schools don’t customize their teaching and program according to student’s needs and talents. Schools just run activities as templates provided by franchisor or 3rd party programs common for all students which fail to develop their potential and talents due to one-size fit all approach to teaching. Plus, for those who are not excelling in academic areas but are extremely talented in creativity, art, music, and sports activities – there may be no opportunity to develop those talents.
Private school education ‘for profiteering’: By law profiteering is not allowed for educational institutions. In fact, in some states like Telangana – profiteering is a criminal offence as per the Education act. However, the perception of parents is somewhere the implementation is not there. Every regulation invariably is aggressively contested in court and for some reason – the policies are not framed to withstand scrutiny of law. Even those that are upheld in court, for some reason have lax implementation.
Many private schools charge reasonable school fees, providing quality education without abnormal profit margins. Their existence for decades in service of the public stands testimony to the fact that private schools can schooling affordable without compromising the quality of education.
Maybe kids going to private corporate schools will have memorable school days to but at the cost of making their parents poor and picking up many money-minded values and poor ethics. Many children will not look up to their schools as sources of inspiration. Unfortunately, due to neglect of private school fee regulation by powers that be, either by proper guidelines for calculating tuition fee or their proper implementation, educated middle-class parents are struggling financially.