Are private schools are better than public schools? This has been a topic of interest to a wide spectrum of the Nigeria society – parents, academics and government officials. While the majority opinion seems to be that the private schools are better than the public ones, there is no empirical data to support this.
Most parents recognize the importance of quality education to the future of their children. Hence, the sacrifice they make to ensure that their kids have the best in education. And to a lot of people, quality education equals private school education. Some parents spend as much as 60 percent of their income on school fees.
But, are these high costs of private education justified?
A look at students’ performances in WASSCE in public and private secondary schools across Nigeria over three years paints a rather surprising picture.
In 2016, 172,821 students from different private secondary schools across Nigeria sat for the WAEC examination. Out of which a total of 63,077 made five credits and above including English and Mathematics. This represents 36.5% of the total number of students that sat for the exam.
On the other hand, across the country, a total of 1,543,974 public secondary students sat for WAEC exam in 2016. 807,780 of these public schools students made five credits and above. This represents 52.3% of the total number of students.
2017 data paints an even stupefying picture. That year, only 24% (32,000) of the 133,258 students that sat for WASSCE in private schools made 5 credits and above (including Mathematics and English). On the other hand, the pass rate (credit in 5 or more subjects including English and Mathematics) for public schools was 56.53% (881,039) out of a total of 1,558,452 that sat for the exams.
While in 2018, 33.81% of the total students in private schools made five credits and above, while 48.15% of those in public schools made five credits and above (including Mathematics and English).