Private education – Is it worth the cost?

Author : teriann

Recently I wrote about the high cost of attaining a tertiary education in Jamaica.  I however neglected the other expensive sector in education, that is, the exorbitant cost of preparatory schools.

The government has provided infant and primary schools which cater to the educational needs of children aged 4 to 11 years old.

These schools provide instruction based on a national curriculum geared towards enhancing literacy and numeracy skills.

The cost paid by parents to attend government schools are relatively low, as those schools are subsidized by the government.  There are of course some costs associated with attending public schools such as parents teachers association and insurance fees.

However, if you choose the route of sending your child to a preparatory school, then prepare to spend a lot more than a few fees.

The average cost of attending a preparatory school in Kingston, for example, is between $60,000 to $80,000 per term. Yes that means for one year a parent could spend up to $240,000 for just one child to receive an education!

If that sounds like a lot of money to spend on primary education why do so many persons choose this very expensive option?

Is it worth it?

There are many reasons why persons choose the alternative route of sending their children to prep schools. The biggest factor is that private schools tend to have lower teacher to student ratio and better facilities.

However, a number of primary schools have excelled at preparing students for GSAT even as they struggle with overcrowding and inferior facilities. The students who attend primary schools are in no way inferior to those who attend prep schools.

Some parents have even been forced because of the economic pressure to withdraw their children from prep schools and have reported that they are happy with the transition.

What do the GSAT results reveal?

The Gleaner published a list of primary and prep schools which performed well in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) exams in 2013.

This exam is used to place students in secondary schools.

The results of the report revealed that the prep schools performed much better on average than the primary schools. The cohort sent up to do the exam were significantly higher in primary schools while their scores were less than their prep counterparts.

So do you think prep schools are justified in charging parents such a high cost?

Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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6 Responses to “Private education – Is it worth the cost?”

  1. Mev says:

    It is worth the cost. The prep schools have to charge for quality maintenance. They tend to have not only lower teacher to student ratio and better facilities, but better teacher/parent relationships, care and security as well.

  2. baba says:

    Its not worth it because most of our really smart people came through the public school system plus prep school deprive students of good social skills. However prep schools provide an option for people who don’t want to mingle with the general public and that’s their right

  3. Nina says:

    There are prep schools that try to be conscientious in their prices. You just have to search. Ananda Marga Kinder-Prep is one of the best prep schools, and they try to keep their fees under $40,000 per term. Their P.T.A. helps to use fund-raising activities to supplement the school’s budget.

  4. Nina says:

    Now that I think about it, their exact fee might be on their site: I know their price is a little under $40,000 though.

  5. Cymone says:

    Well it certainly makes the statement, ‘Education is expensive’, appear as truth. Well I believe the fees are too much, especially for primary education. But it also makes one think of how much more these teachers are being paid to teach these students in comparison to the Government schools. Is it that money is the main drive behind the teachers performance.

  6. Zoe Foster says:


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