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· Volume II Issue I

I served in private education for two decades as a teacher in preschool, elementary, high school, college up to graduate level. Likewise, I ascended the professional ladder during those years and held various administrative positions, including the highest administrative role as far as school administration is concerned.

But I decided to join the public school just last year. And while there is broad inequality as far as remuneration issues are concerned, this has not stopped my long dream of entering the public education. Moreover, I am willing to start from the bottom up, which means becoming a teacher in the classroom, even if it means biased perception, countless paperworks, endless lesson planning and numerous other auxiliary tasks.

Though there are significant variations between public and private education sectors under the same education umbrella. Let's take a look at the variations best established. There's a dimension in which public schools have an advantage over private ones. In private schools the percentage of new teachers is higher compared with public schools. However teachers gravitate toward public schools because of higher pay and improved insurance packages. If an inexperienced teacher can obtain at least a few years of teaching experience, transferring to a public school is a high possibility making private schools a stepping stone for teaching in the public schools.

Another aspect is on human resource development. More public school teachers participate in some form of capacity building every year than private school teachers do especially in relatively smaller private schools where financial support for trainings, seminars and workshops are dismally low.

The difference between the public and private school class size, and student-to-teacher ratios, is another stark difference. In public schools, the class size reaches to an all-time high of 60 or ever higher. Correspondingly, private schools generally have a better student-to-teacher ratio with an average class of 3o to 40 students.

Since they are not a hundred percent under state supervision, especially in the case of recognized or accredited level status, private schools can offer a curriculum that suits their focus. If you have a child that wants to study the arts, theater, music, or other such subjects a private school will be a better fit which the public schools have specialty schools also like science and art schools that maintain a stringent selection process. Due to ever-changing budgets and mandated national achievement tests public schools are more focused on the core classes, often at the expense of more peripheral subjects.

Parents who want some form of an environment of religious values-based learning will need to look for private schools. However, in public schools, the constitution ensures the separation between church and state and this means this local public schools can not bring religious catechism into the classroom except when there is an agreement with the parents through the Parent-Teacher Association.

The aspect that teachers have long accepted is in terms of employment tenure, which becomes blatant due to the recent pandemic that causes so much disadvantage on one side and so much advantage on the other. And the gap is so pronounced particularly for small private schools whose ability to support their operation is a major problem.

According to the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) on April 27, 2020, the enhanced community quarantine affects a total of 409,757 teachers and school staff in private educational institutions nationwide, either earning reduced pay or no longer being paid at all because of 'no work no pay' scheme. A noticeable contrast from their government school counterparts who are continuously receiving their salaries.

Nonetheless, the future appears to be grim for private school teachers as they raised concerns about the low enrollment figure, as it was predicted that approximately 2 million private school students will either move to public schools or drop out of school this year after their parents' income had been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, leading to the closure of small educational institutions and layoff of workers especially small ones that are unable to continue operation due to the lack of sufficient funds from tuition and other miscellaneous fees.

Indeed, the pandemic has intensified the teachers' disparity between private and public schools and, unless there are transparent and honest policy measures, impact could be lessened.