Home The Big Stories Private vs public schools: It's not all about the money

Private vs public schools: It's not all about the money

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Monday saw the triumph of a St Nicholas Primary School student who placed first in the nation for the Grade Six National Assessment this year.
Private institutions including the Baptist Academy of Antigua Minoah Magnet Academy, Sunnyside Tutorial and others filled most of the top tier ranks, with public institutions such as Freetown, Old Road, Pigotts, and Five Islands Primary schools taking spots in the Top 100 as well.
Speaking on the Voice of the People, principals and listeners alike agreed that the reason for the triumph of private schools trumping public schools in performance numbers lies within parental involvement.
Sandy Lewis, principal of the Five Islands Primary School stated that the “relationship between the school and the parent has a lot to do with the child’s development”. She added that “as a principal of a government school, one of the biggest challenges faced is parental involvement”. For her and other public-school principals, “the parent alone makes a huge difference mentally, physically and academically.”
Private schools have greater autonomy over students and parents in that they can enforce rules when they are not followed, either by suspension or expulsion.
However, public schools cannot enforce rules in that way and, along with being bound by laws such as the Education Act, they may be hit with complaints to the Ministry of Education.
Lewis stated that, “A success school has standards, boundaries and guidelines that parents and children are expected to abide by. Persons may not agree, but they will respect you for standing up for what is right.”
The Principal of the Freetown Primary School, Lucina Nathaniel, stated that, “The children in the Top 100 are successful because of parental involvement.”
She added that there is very little that public schools can do in terms of enforcing rules. She said that most parents comply when parents are contacted about issues with their children, however, “some parents are defiant”. This defiance displayed by parents has a negative effect on the child in their future employment and other areas.
 
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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