Should you educate your kid in private schools

Got a call from a colleague living in India today enquiring about some schools in London. His daughter is 6 years old and he is contemplating putting her in a 10,000/year nursery school in London.

When it comes to kids and schooling, there is clearly one common trait across the world – people are passionate about this and will go any lengths/do anything to fit their lives around a supposedly “good” private schools.

It appears that these “good” private nursery and high schools share a few common traits that sets them apart from other schools:

  • The schools are highly selective and admit kids only after a rigorous elimination process.
  • They offer seats to kids who can play Piano/Violin very well.
  • They teach horse riding at school.
  • They have a wonderful uniform.
  • They have interactive whiteboards and latest gadgetry in all classrooms.
  • They have a media centre/in house TV studio.
These “quirky” selection criteria and supposedly “good” reputation challenges the competitive spirit of the parents who bend over backwards and jump various hoops to get their children admitted.
There are many opinions, anecdotes and case studies for both sides of the private school vs public school debates, however, looking at it from a purely financial cost-benefit analysis perspective, where does it stand?
  • It costs approx. 150k for 12 years in a private school in UK. In a flat-world, this child still needs to compete with other kids across the globe who finish their 12 years in schools at less than one-tenth of this cost.
  • Private schools, in general, give better quality education. Like every school system, not all kids are equally benefited - the real question is, was it worth 10-15 times as much others are paying?
Life can often be crude – what matters is not who has been leading throughout, but who was top on the last lap of the race.  A private nursery or private high schools give you a great run in the early laps.  Would this expense not be better served for your child when it matters most – during an Ivy League College admission?