It all starts small.
Three things have made me think so much about private education:
(1) Chilean Education
(2) a book about both private and public education and
(3) a school I have seen recently
First, Chilean education system consists of half public and half private (divided in subsidized private school and
private school). This was something unfamiliar to me who has grown up with public education system. Since I came to this country, I started thinking about what the private education system is.
Second, after I changed my image toward private education after reading a book called “Education and Public Policy in Latin America” by Laurence Wolf, Pablo González, Juan Carlos Navarro. PREALC & IBD. (2005).
This book explains the pros and cons of both public and private education.
To be honest, I had a prejudice toward the private school system since I thought it was a market system and for rich people. But because of the market system, according to this book, it focuses on the “customers (parents and students)” and tries to improve constantly (otherwise the customers will be gone.) This is something that public school does not have since it won’t bankrupcy nor catch up with a change in society.
If I want to devote myself to educational development, I also need to take a look at those two sides of educational system.
Lastly, I recently went to see a school for a job and this visit blew my mind. This school, with a history of less than 10 years (relatively new), is a subsidized private school and there is no charge for school tuition, which is a school’s choice. So this is something unfamiliar to me because it doesn’t fit into my biased dichotomy “public is for non-rich and private is for rich”. In fact, the socio-economic situation of students’ parents are quite low.
Let me explain how impressive this school is.
This school was founded with 4 classrooms and 60 students by 4 school managers who are all family members and also teachers. But In association with the governmental housing project implemented a few years later in this sector, the number of students has increased to 550 within less than 10 years.
So the school had to be amplified. But the Ministry of Education didn’t provide resource for the construction since this expansion was unprecedented and usually it tales about 20 years for this kind of fund.
So what the 4 school managers decided to do was to get a lone for the construction, out of their pocket. According to them, “when you see more and more students and there is a need, you just do everything you can for them.
One of the School managers (all teachers) even works as a bus driver. Besides, they manage legal issues, construction and maintenance on their own, and other teachers are willingly to help. This is because they lack of budget, and they just like to do for the school. Above all, as far as I saw, the connection among school staff is quite family-like and there is no business-like environment.
Again, it is a private school.
And the most importantly, the academic result of this school (national exam called SIMCE) is one of the high level at a national level which allows them to be more independent and create more education program on their own (if they have poor score, the Ministry will intervene more).
In conclusion, the passion and love toward the school the managers inspired other staff and students, which led the learning of the students (although the test score is one the indicators of it).
It all started small but with great passion. So is the case of private education.