Ministry of Education and Invest Maldives have announced opportunities for private investors in Maldivian schools. They told a group of 19 potential investors that four schools are up for grabs including Ameeru Ahmed and Ghiyaasuddin in Male, Afeefuddin in Kulhudhuffushi and Muhibbudin in Hithadhoo.
These four could evolve into elitist private schools like Eton or Doon Valley School, as Education Ministry hopes. But they could also flop like EPS, MES, Ameeru Ahmed and Nooraanee School, which were doing extremely well some years back. Do we know what went wrong with them and how to prevent such mishaps in the future ventures? The following are some issues worth pondering:
Affordability: Many parents pay as much as Rf 1500 rufiyaa per month per subject for private tuition. So they could afford higher school fees. That is the good news. The bad news is when it comes to paying school fees many parents consider even Rf 200 very high.
Quality: One has to pay good salaries to get good teachers. This can only happen if adequate fees are charged.
Government interference: Many private schools failed in the past because of government interference. Can the government resist the temptation to meddle in the new private schools, particularly when they would be operating in government buildings?
Discipline: This is the main problem with government schools. Can the private schools enforce discipline especially when many of their pupils will be the spoilt kids of rich parents?