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Public School is Better than Private School Debate

Some few decades ago, making the choice between public school and private school was very simple for parents. Actually, most parents opted for public school that are completely run by the government. Today, as education gradually becomes more complex and issues about school quality, teacher qualification, curriculum, etc arise, the question of which of public and private school is better also arises. Many people are still of the opinion that public school is better than private school; but many others think otherwise.

Public School is better than private school debate

In today’s article, we are going to explore this age-long debate. As usual, our goal is not to take a particular stance or to support one. Rather, our goal is to provide ample reference material for students in various debating societies arguing for or against the motion which states that public schools are better than private schools.

You will understand what public and private schools are and the difference between them. You will also learn the benefits of each of them and how to craft a compelling debate on this topic.


Like I have hinted already, I intend to discuss a very important and popular debate topic in this article i.e. “Public School is Better than Private School.” I’m aware that there are many other debate topics to explore but I’m picking this now because of the importance of education in the lives of individuals and the society at large. Education has become a compelling topic that people explore across the nation, on newspapers, TV, at home, and everywhere.

But beyond the above reason, I’m writing this article to provide a reference material for students who may have need to write argumentative essays on the topic in their English or Literacy examination. I will explore the topic with the hope of making points available for students to reference whenever they are faced with a debating competition on this topic.

In the following sections, we will learn briefly about the two categories of schools in our our discourse i.e. public schools and private schools. Thereafter, we will find out why we are making the comparison in the first place. From there, we’ll make progress on the article.

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Meaning of Public Schools

The meaning of “Public school” can differ depending on where you are. For example, the meaning of public school in the United States is different from the meaning in Britain (England, Wales).

In this article, we’ll narrow the meaning to our context which is Nigeria and several other African countries.

In Nigeria, a public school is a school that is funded by government taxes. This means that public schools are accessible to everyone in the community for free or at a much cheaper cost. Although parents may be required to buy books and school uniforms, and pay some fees like those from the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), the tuition is always very minimal or even non-existent.

More so, some public schools may be divided according to gender. There could be separate schools for boys and girls.

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Meaning of Private Schools

Simply put, private school is the opposite of public school.

The implication of this is that the government does not fund private schools. Rather, private schools depend on tuition fees and other charges from parents to run the schools. Of course, this makes them significantly more expensive than public schools.

Why the Comparison Between Public Schools and Private Schools?

Now that we understand the separate meanings of public schools and private schools, you might be wondering why the comparison between them.

People always want to probe to find out the truth about the real difference between public schools and private schools. The reason is because there are diverse opinions and perceptions about the two categories of schools. Most people believe that the government under-funds public schools leading to limited resources. And once the resources are hardly enough, there will be low quality of education, large class sizes, teachers strikes and so on.

There are people who believe that private schools, though more expensive, offer a better educational experience with smaller classes. Some think they have better qualified teachers but that is highly debatable.

So people have a lot of reasons to compare these two category of schools. Because of that, we are going to highlight the difference between then in order to make the comparison a lot more easier.

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Difference Between Public Schools and Private Schools

So still on the comparison between Public Schools and Private Schools, we will look at the contrasts in different aspects of the two.

Take a look at the table below:

S/no Feature Public School Private School
1. Funding The government funds public schools They get their funds from tuition and other charges
2. Cost Free or low cost More expensive
3. Class size Larger class sizes smaller class sizes
4. Admission Public schools are open to all Private schools have selective admission process
5. Teacher strikes Happens more frequently in public schools Almost not obtainable in private schools
6. Facilities Have the basic facilities needed to run the school May have better facilities
7. Gender separation In some areas, public schools are single-sex while in other areas, they are co-educational. Mostly co-educational
8. Social status Public schools are not strong indicators of social status You can know the social status of the parents through the private school a child attends
9. Parental involvement Parents may not really be too involved Expect more parental involvement
10. Extracurricular activities They engage in fewer extracurricular activities They engage in more extracurricular activities

The above table shows us the fundamental differences between public schools and private schools. We see that there are quite some differences between the when we consider different features.

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Public Schools vs Private Schools Quotes

Public School Quotes

“When comparing private school and public school test scores, it’s like apples and oranges. Public schools have to take everyone, but private schools can be selective. It’s not accurate or fair to compare the job they do.” ~ Dennis Moore

“A good public school education should be the birthright of every American child.” – John Dewey

“The question is not whether public schools are perfect, but whether they are better than the only realistic alternative: a system in which most children would get a much worse education.” – Alfie Kohn

“If you want good schools for rich people’s kids only, then you’ll have bad schools for rich people’s kids. The quality of an education system can’t be separated from the quality of the whole society.” – Ralph Nader

Private School Quotes

“If you want a good education, go to private schools. If you can’t afford it, tough luck. You can go to the public school.” ~ Paul LePage

“There is no doubt that private schools can offer a more focused and specialized education than many public schools.” – Michelle Rhee

“Smaller class sizes and more parental involvement can lead to a more enriching learning environment in private schools.” – Anonymous parent

“Private schools can provide a valuable alternative for families who are unhappy with the public school system in their area.” – John H. Walton

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10 Reasons Why Public Schools are Better than Private Schools

From what we have said so far, you might be thinking that private schools must be better than public schools. But many people differ. Many people still believe and insist that public schools are better than private schools.

Here is the reasoning behind the belief…

Here are 10 reasons why some people might prefer public schools in Nigeria:

1. Public schools are very affordable. Where parents are required to pay fees, the amount is always very low. So everyone can afford to attend a public school regardless of their socio-economic status.

2. Public schools are open to all students. In other words, they accept all students irrespective of their socio-economic background.

3. In public schools you find a balanced mix of students. Everyone has the opportunity of learning with classmates from all walks of life.

4. The government sets the standard of the curriculum. So everyone in a public school learns the same core subjects at the same levels with disparity.

5. Unlike private schools that typically employ fresh graduates or even undergraduates without teaching experience, public schools have many experienced teachers.

6. Since they naturally have larger classrooms, public schools encourage teamwork among students.

7. Public school teachers have trade unions to advocate for them and get things going whenever such need arises.

8. Since students from all backgrounds have access to public schools, the students have the opportunity of having real-world experience. They will easily understand the diversity of Nigerian society.

9. Public schools are part of the local communities hosting them.

10. There are more public schools than private schools especially at the tertiary level. This makes public schools more accessible than private schools.

Public School is Better than Private School Debate Points

For those supporting or arguing for the motion which states that “Public school is better than private school,” here are some points for debate:

  • Accessibility and equity
  • Diversity and community
  • Standardized Curriculum
  • Teacher Unions
  • Focus on All Students
  • Government Funding

For those opposing or arguing against the motion which states that “Public school is better than private school,” here are some points for debate:

  • Large Class Sizes
  • Limited Resources
  • Teacher Strikes
  • Standardized Testing Focus
  • Varied Quality
  • Social Issues

How to Write a Debate on Public School is Better than Private School

For students in debating societies getting ready for a competition on the topic: “Public School is Better than Private School,” here is a basic structure to write your debate speech…

Briefly introduce the topic

In the introduction, state the proposition i.e. public schools are a better choice for most students.

Write the body paragraphs

You can scroll up this page to find debate points both for and against the motion. Develop the body paragraphs according to the stance of the side you are arguing from.

If you are arguing in favour of the motion, you can mention the fact that public schools are cheap, accessible and use standardized curriculum. You can also highlight the fact that public schools expose students to different backgrounds and foster a sense of belonging.

If you are arguing against the motion, you can mention the fact that public schools have big class sizes which makes it impossible for students to receive individual attention. You can also highlight the fact that public schools do not have enough facilities or extracurricular activities because of resources constraints.

Tips for writing the body paragraphs:

  • Just keep it really simple.
  • Don’t use difficult jargon and avoid complex arguments.
  • Don’t try to cover everything there is about the topic. Just focus on the key points.
  • Ensure a smooth connection of your ideas by using transition words like “Because” and “For example”.

Write the conclusion

For a good conclusion, briefly summarize why public schools are better than private schools considering affordability, accessibility, diversity, and so on.

Read Also: How to Write a Debate to Win in Any Competition

Sample Debates

Good day Mr Moderator, Panel of Judges, Co-debaters and my audience. I’m here to support the motion which says that public schools are better than private schools with the following points of mine.

First, the government offers free or highly subsidized education in public schools. This gives everyone a chance to learn and grow regardless of their family’s socio-economic status. Now that is very important because education is the key to a bright future!

Second, in public schools, you find people from all walks of life coming together to study in one place. Students learn with classmates from different economic, cultural and religious backgrounds. This prepares them for the real world, where they will definitely meet all kinds of people.

Third, public schools are designed to help all students to succeed. There are always teachers who can give extra help to students with special learning needs. More so, there are programs to support students who learn in different ways. This means that nobody is left behind in public schools.Finally, public schools use a standardized curriculum to teach the students. This means that there is uniform scheme and syllabus for each subject. This ensures that every student gets a strong foundation in important subjects like math and reading.

It’s true that public schools might have bigger classes owing to their affordability. The large class sizes are more than matched with many experienced teachers. In addition, large class sizes are an advantage because it affords the students the opportunity to build teamwork skills with others.

So, when it comes to choosing a school, don’t forget that public schools open their doors for all and help everyone to succeed. That’s why I believe public school is the better choice!


Final Thought

We’ve done our comparisons and highlighted the differences between public and private schools. The truth remains that public and private schools serve different purposes and cater to different needs. The ‘better’ option depends on the individual student and family.

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About Henry Divine

Henry Divine is a passionate educator and seasoned blogger with a strong commitment to providing valuable insights and resources to the education community. With over 6 years of experience in the field, Henry's articles are well-researched, authoritative, and tailored to meet the needs of teachers, students, and parents alike. Through his blog, Henry aims to empower readers with practical tips, innovative strategies, and evidence-based practices to foster lifelong learning and academic success. Follow Henry for the latest updates and expert advice on all things education.

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