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3 reasons why private education isn't worth the money

A private education may not be all it's cracked up to be.

A young girl telling her classmate a secret.
It's no secret private education costs a lot more than the public system. (Source: Getty) (PeopleImages via Getty Images)

Private education can be a tempting option for parents looking to provide their children with the best possible education.

As someone who had the privilege of attending a very average Brisbane public school, I never got to experience a private education, however many of my friends did. In my late teenage years, hearing public education being disparaged was common but, as someone who had been through the system, I never seemed to have a problem.

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There are several reasons why people shouldn't cough up the high fees for a private education - here are the three key ones.

1. Private schools don't translate to better grades

Surprisingly, despite the stigma, there is actually little evidence to suggest private schools provide a better education than public schools. There are quite a few studies that have shown that public schools are just as effective as private schools at providing students with a quality education.

An example of this would be from NAPLAN - a series of tests given to Australian students. Recent data shows private education doesn’t necessarily mean an improvement in academic results.

Private schools often have smaller class sizes, which may give students more individual attention, although this isn't necessarily a guarantee of a better education.

2. Index funds produce a better return on investment

The cost of private education can vary greatly depending on the school, but it is typically several times more expensive than public schools. This can put significant financial pressure on families with multiple children.

The average cost of private education in Australia is around $25,000 per year which, over 13 years of schooling, works out to a total cost of around $325,000.

That’s a lot of money. And, while they're trying to do the right thing and invest in their child's future, many parents are potentially risking their children a multi-million dollar retirement by spending this money on school rather than something like index funds.

3. Private schools can be limiting

Private schools can often have a narrower curriculum than public schools. While private schools may offer specialised programs or elective courses, they often focus on a particular area of study, such as maths and science or the arts.

This can limit students' opportunities to explore a wide range of subjects and interests.

I'm not saying the public system is any better, it certainly also has its flaws. However, I turned out all right - as did many of my peers - so it can’t be that bad.

The high cost, exclusivity, narrow curriculum, lack of accountability, and limited support for students with special needs are all reasons to consider public schools instead.

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