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Private schools bloodsucking! Why is Government education free?

Updated: Mar 16


Why does the Government offer free education for which private schools charge on average about £14,000+?

An article published in the Telegraph (2017) reported that on average private school education in the UK costs about £14,102 per year. Whereas boarding schools could cost about £32,259 per year! The figures vary in different parts of the UK, in some parts the difference in cost being up to £6,000, but the point is that private schooling is suuuuper expensive! Contrast this with State-Maintained schools that are absolutely free! I could not help but ask, why?

In fact, this seems to be the trend worldwide. In some countries like India, the cost of Government schools’ education is about Rs. 25 or less (which is about 25 British Pence). Compare that to a good private school which could charge up to Rs. 10,25,000 per year, roughly £10,000/annum (Kamboj 2019). Why does the Government charge a paltry 0.0004% of what the private schools charge?

The story goes back a long time into the pre-IT age when physical labour was deemed necessary for a family’s ability to earn bread. As we transitioned into the industrial era, people who could count and read had a considerable edge over those who could not. In fact, literacy and numeracy were a premium that most could not afford. John Miles Foley, a Professor of English and Classical Studies and Director of the Centre for Studies in Oral Tradition at the University of Missouri explains that literacy started to appear about 3200 BCE. This is quite recent when you consider how long humans have been around. People who could count could manage trade, salaries, businesses, and earn profit. And people who could read could speak more effectively most of the times, which meant they could persuade, sell, market, and also earn profit. Those who could do both could ascend up the royal (sometimes oppressive) career ladder.

So obviously, as the economy grew and become more globally interconnected, countries needed people who could profit the economy. If a country had a higher number of people who could read and count, it would have a higher number of people trading, doing business, earning profits, and eventually paying more tax! In order to achieve this, the Governments needed to invest in the education of literacy and numeracy. This was, and is, a profitable cycle. The Government could thus meet the basic requirements for its people to support the economy. If the Government did not subsidise or make free basic education, majority of its people would sink into poverty, unemployment, and therefore taking the Government down with them.

But there had been a fundamental flaw in this cycle, one which the Governments overlooked. Provision of education prioritised the teaching of literacy, numeracy, and other employment related skills over the instilling of moral values. This meant we had some children becoming doctors who were paid big salaries but did not value the quality of their patients’ lives. We had some becoming politicians with extraordinary oracy skills but did not value the lives of the people they served. Some becoming businessmen with strong analytical and persuading skills but lacking in character, leading to crime, anti-social behaviour, divorces, rapes, murders, family breakdowns, etc.

Only after 40+ years of research into the American education system, did character education become a prominent aspect of a minority of schools today. Thanks to people like Professor. Thomas Lickona whose work has been phenomenal in creating the awareness for educating for virtues. Character education has been around for a long time in different formats but never the mainframe of a school. A model that profits the economy and develops character profoundly is needed. Hopefully, this will change in the coming years with the efforts of institutions around the world like Being The Cure, Association for Character Education, and Birmingham’s Jubilee Centre for Virtues, to name a few.

Author: Vijith Vijay Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: @mrvijithvijay Email:



Suter, L. and Richard, D., 2017. With Private School Fees Up 70Pc Since 2004, How Are Families Paying? [online] The Telegraph. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 December 2020].

Kamboj, S., 2019. 10 Most Expensive Schools In India | Ritiriwaz. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 25 December 2020].


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