This subject is an interesting one, one that has been had in many circles. I like to think it is a heavily debated issue the whole world over though of course, it is quite topical in Zimbabwe. Should you enrol your children at expensive schools? That is a loaded question, one that has so many angles to it. When this has been debated I have noticed that it easily degenerates into other issues far removed from the core discussion. In this article, I will do my best to explore two broad angles to this matter. Firstly, why you should enrol your children to expensive schools. Secondly, why you should not enrol them at expensive schools.

An Introductory Note

Within the Zimbabwean context, it is mostly private learning institutions that are expensive. It is, of course, possible to find some expensive public learning institutions. Generally, private schools are deemed the real deal; it is the general conception. I recall from when I was growing up this is what I have always heard that private schools are the place to be. There are two key reasons that I have heard that make admittance into such schools a tall order. I will highlight them towards the end.

Arguments For…

Impeccable Pass Rates

Expensive schools tend to produce great pass rates owing to many reasons. More on that later on but it is characteristic of parents who are particular about pass rates to send their kids to expensive schools. It is commonplace to see the most expensive schools well-placed in terms of pass rate rankings every year. Thanks to the teacher to student ratios but for now I will touch on teacher welfare. Teachers at expensive schools are usually well paid and well taken care of. This primes them to deliver their duties wholeheartedly.

Broader And Flexible Curriculum

Expensive schools usually go beyond just the general curriculum as is the case in most inexpensive schools. Expensive schools are known to normally teach prestigious syllabi such as Cambridge. Over and above that they normally offer a broader range of extra-curricular activities. From sports, arts, music, film, and so on, expensive schools have lots more to offer than the average schools. It is even possible to see expensive schools conducting school trips to destinations abroad. This gives the students a rich and diverse exposure that makes them stand out in their later years.

Strict And Well-Tampered Moral Code

People have often remarked on how that a product of an expensive school is the most disciplined. Students at expensive schools are exposed to comprehensive grooming and etiquette initiatives. This is also in part due to sororities which are common at expensive schools. The ethos of respect, ethics and excellence are deeply ingrained in the school system of expensive schools.

Favourable Teacher To Student Ratio

Expensive schools have low student enrolments.  Some years back I went to South Eastern College (SEC) for a field hockey training camp playing in the Masvingo Province select team. I was struck by how the total number of students at the whole school was less than a single stream enrolment of most schools. This is very common with expensive schools. This feeds well into favourable teacher to student ratios. Essentially this makes it easy for teachers to give more than adequate attention to every student. No wonder impeccable pass rates are the norm at expensive schools.

Well Established Infrastructure

Due to the steep tuitions paid it is easy for expensive schools to build great infrastructure. This spans from learning blocks, staff buildings, living quarters, amenities, sporting facilities, and the like. At an expensive school, you will find everything a school needs present and in superior quality. Earlier I mentioned South Eastern College – the student dormitories were unlike anything I had ever seen. I remember going to the school head boy’s house – yeah it was a house (not a room). At expensive schools, students will be endowed with the best infrastructure possible, all-round.

High Likelihood For Students To Blend In

This somehow feeds into a downside of expensive schools that I will deal with later. Anyways, due to expensive tuitions, it is natural that high-end parents tend to send their kids to expensive schools. Thus the kids who go to such schools will be accustomed to a certain lifestyle that is more or less the same. In the end, despite the varying levels of lifestyles, students will normally feel like they belong. This is crucial to the psychological state of a student which is central to their overall well-being and academic performance.

Numerous Avenues Of Opportunities

Kids from expensive schools have so many opportunities during and after school. There are so many networking events that are held by expensive schools that create opportunities for students at such schools. Students never struggle to get admittance into next-level learning institutions and so is the employment case. These schools tend to be characterised by strong and deep alumni networks.

Arguments Against

Two of some of the major arguments against expensive schools are cost and segregationist frameworks. To segregate is to separate by race or religion. Most private schools are anchored on certain value systems that can be based on race or religion. This somehow segregates certain prospective students from attending such schools even if they wanted to. There have been reports of white on black racism at some expensive schools.

At the end of the day, it boils down to objective consideration and evaluation of school options. I find it grossly biased to evaluate school choices based solely on just how expensive they are. There are numerous average and inexpensive schools that offer great learning experiences for their students. Most parents with the money are given over to send kids to expensive schools to communicate class or lifestyle. Some parents do not afford but send them there to keep up appearances – basically just living a lie. My advice is that as a parent you must discern what matters and strike a frugal yet fruitful balance.