Across the world private education is booming. It is a dilemma for society. Governments need to concern themselves about equality and about social mobility. Things that the private sector discourages rather than encourages. The problem with private schools is that they do tend to increase inequality. When parents are allowed to spend money on their children they will spend as much as they can so obviously rich kids go to better schools.
Though private schools and tuition promote inequality, Emma Duncan, our social policy editor, explains why governments should embrace the private sector’s rise.
Private Education in numbers
There is a big boom in private education all over the world. You see it in schooling numbers. The numbers of people going to private primary has gone up from 10 to 17 percent over the last 15 years. Secondaries gone up from 9 to 27 percent. Then if you look in particular countries you find for instance in China, there’s a big increase in people going to elite private schools.
The resurgence is happening for a few different reasons and one of them is that incomes are going up, the birth rates are going down. So in families all over the world there is more money to spend on each child. In countries where people are moving around a lot, which is most of the developing world, and where populations are growing swiftly – you get this huge swift urbanization.
If you allow the private sector to operate you are going to get a higher level of inequality but I think that that is a price worth paying for the Liberty, for the resources, for the better brains, for the innovation for the quality of education and the breadth of education that you get if you allow the private sector to operate. Governments must look at the private sector as a potential partner, not as they do in some places as an enemy.
Finally is private education good for society?
- Do you believe that: If more people, especially the elite, are in state schools, they will demand a better public education?
- Does having a lot of private schools mean worse public schools?
- The goal should not be to shut down private schools but to increase the quality of state education!