Could private school tramp public school?
The question popped up many times. My class teacher insistently asked my parent to move me to a better school as I was a very intelligent boy.
On arrival, I had to start on a blank slate. Everything I knew was rubbish, I had to throw it out and start afresh.
First thing I recall was arriving and finding people talking English without being forced or in class. I was juat from a place where people did not bother using any language. Even the indigenous languages were frequently used. Here now, you were expected to only speak in English.
Again, exams were taken seriously. The quality of studies was top notch so what was expected of the students was the very best. I came clueless about computers or French. All of a sudden, I am handed an Opener exams (start of the term exams). This they say was to separate the wheat from the chaff (those who had studied from those who had not.) In the real sense, this was a capitalist way of separating those with knowledge from those without. I would have gotten a zero if not for my girrafing for answers. I who had never heard French had to sit down for an exam.
Secondly, I found this ritual whereby at the end of the term, you would bring snacks and eat or trade with someone. Many students would bring snacks but there existed the less fortunate. This group would come and start begging for scraps. This was very disheartening and a clear indication of capitalism. The issue was not lacking the snacks- oh, 98% brought snacks- the quality, quantity and price really mattered. I almost always brought bisquits, juice and some queencakes. My mother had tried a great deal to make me fit. At school, I found some students showboating about their snacks. A single student who might have hailed from a rich family could have a two-litre bottle of soft drink , a bottle of juice, a yoghurt can, cakes, chocolate, candy, biscuits, crisps and popcorn. And that’s just one student!
In both my public primary school and private high school, there was this culture which stunk of capitalism. The best performing students were given gifts in front of the other students. I have no bitterness since I was a beneficiary in primary school. What I did not like was the way it was done. If the school wanted fo award the best students, then it should have been by taking them to school trips sso that they would benefit and the eest would work hard. Instead we were given plates made out of glass, books, bicycles were reserved for the best student in the school who had emerged number one, most likely a senior student. In high school, it was worse. People were awarded in food. Being a boarder school, they knew how much we would envy the bright students. And so it was their bright idea to have them eat the loaves, lollipops and soft drinks infront of us. The more someone had passed, the more they got. Once my classmate who was a genius passed in about 95% of the subjects. For every subject he was best at, they gave him a lollipop. He still was number one so he got the loaves and the soft drink. He couldn’t eat all the sweets so he opted to sell and share a couple of them. I will congratulate the private primary school for their very efficient system. Those that passed were given badges that pointed them out as the best. If it was about awarding them, you were awarded in scholarly materials. That was the true mark of a serious sensible school. Sometimes they got people comics, at other times they got people geometrical sets or novels.
On top of that, birthdays were celebrated often than I could imagine. It was very different from my previous school. The problem is that it made the less fortunate feel more ashamed or uncomfortable. They never got to celebrate their party.
Fees were over the roof. Compared to public schools, you had to lose a leg and an arm just to get the school fees. Failure to do so led to students being sent home for money. This shocked me as I had never experienced such before. I later came to be part of the system till I finished.
When it comes to capitalism, both private and public schools fall victims.