Private vs. Public School Differences Vary

THE position of private education varies. In some countries, it is on an equal footing with state schools; in others it has separate status.

In Europe and elsewhere, the state often has a considerable role in private schools. The government pays 70 percent of the cost in Hungary, 80 percent in Denmark and Austria, and 85 percent in Norway. The state also participates in financing private education in Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, France, and Mexico. On the other hand, in Britain, Greece, Turkey, and the United States, private schools must be self-financing; all the state does is provide certain services for pupils.

In France, Spain, Belgium, Austria, and Senegal, private schools are usually run by religious institutions. This is less true in other countries.

Teachers in state and private schools have similar qualifications in all countries. But salaries can differ widely: They are higher in Hungarian, British, Greek, and Turkish private schools than in public schools. Teacher salaries are 10 percent higher than in state schools in Hungary and 20 percent higher in Turkey. But it is rarely worth a teacher's while to work in a private school in Switzerland, Spain, France, or Senegal, where salaries are higher in the state system.

The ``public vs. private'' debate is still alive among educators and parents in quite a few countries, including the US, Mexico, France, Belgium, Spain, Turkey, and Hungary.

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