The inequality between public and private schools lowers the quality of education

2 august 2019

The practical inequality between public and private schools hinders competition and lowers the quality of education. This problem was highlighted by the participants of the meeting of the profile subgroup of the Interdepartmental Work Group for elimination of systemic problems holding back business development in the non-raw materials sector.

The public representative of the Commissioner for Human Rights in education Amet Volodarsky specified that many regions, in practice, ignore the law on education, which sets equal rights and obligations for public and private educational institutions. This causes a whole series of problems. "In the Yamalo-Nenets district the administration says that in the district there are no private kindergartens and there never will be, while in the Caucasus private kindergartens receive support from the administration. And all of this is happening at the same time in the same country", - explained Volodarsky.

The round table participants added that the private-public partnership mechanism does not work in private education, city administrations reject such partnerships, although it allows to quickly solve the problem with the lack of places in any overpopulated area.

The experts also noted that private education cannot be seen only as a business, as it fulfills socially significant tasks. However, businesses and individual entrepreneurs providing education services have no access to public subsidies for their expenses. "From the point of view of sustainable development of the non-raw materials sector, we would be able to remove many barriers if federal laws granted private educational institutions additional rights. For example, in the Tax Code, in the part concerning the benefits granted to education organizations, a sentence could be added: regardless of the form of incorporation", - proposed Volodarsky.

He stated that, to identify and remove similar barriers, it is planned to appoint in each region community ombudsmen for education, who will work under the supervision of the Commissioners for entrepreneurs' rights.

Anastasia Alekhnovich, the Head of the Expert Center of the Russian President's Commissioner for the protection of entrepreneurs' rights, added that public institutions face many barriers which have a negative impact not only on the quality of education services, but also on economic growth as a whole. For example, according to the expert association, the current procedure for state accreditation of universities does not fully reflect the quality of their performance and does not ensure an objective approach to assessment, and the standards of higher professional education do not meet the demands of the time.