Private schools, especially those at the higher secondary level, will not see many students as public or government schools absorb almost all students finishing Class X without a cut-off point.

The government’s decision, it seems, wasn’t received well by proprietors who were quick to conclude that their business would be affected and that they will have to close shops. Some are even threatening the government to take over the schools they built with huge investment and loans.

With education or the quality of education in the focus,  it is an irony that school education has become a bone of contention between educationists and businessmen. Educating our children shouldn’t be commercialised. That would be the end of their future even as they take the first steps at higher secondary level. The pressure on academic qualification and on the government to narrow the gap is derailing our priorities.

Students should not be treated as commodities. This is exactly what is happening with private schools criticizing the government’s education policy and government trying to stick to its decision.

Ideally, there should be options, good options, both for parents and children and even for those in the education sector. Why should all students go to government schools? Why can’t we make private schools the school of choice for students and parents after finishing the primary level?

Private schools at the pre and primary levels have the credibility of providing better education than government schools. Parents are convinced that it is better to send their children to private schools when they begin their schooling. Why can’t we repeat this at the higher secondary level especially  when higher secondary level is considered to be the deciding factor of what career they pursue or the make it or break it for the thousands of students.

The debate of government robbing school proprietors of business or students not qualifying for government schools at the higher secondary level is flawed.

Private schools with autonomy and freedom to improve quality of education leveraging information technology or latest development in the education field should be the school of choice. They should not depend on the government sending students. In fact, as a business, they should be able to attract the best of the best to study in their schools. This is the trend everywhere.

In the light of His Majesty The King’s decree on the need to reform the education system, the biggest opportunity lies with private schools. They can be the game changer. Why can’t we not make them schools of choice for higher education and not depend  on students who, if there is a cut off point, cannot make it to government schools.

Cost of schooling is a factor, but if the rich or those who value education can send their children to the best private secondary schools, there will be enough space for those who cannot afford, yet have the yearning for learning.

Given our experience with private primary schools, many parents would want to invest in the education of their children. If we have the choice, we need not treat our youth as a commodity for profit.