5 Misconceptions of Studying in a Public School

It's about time we quash these false beliefs.
by Mara Agner   |  Oct 3, 2016
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In the data obtained by the Philippine Collegian from the University of the Philippines' Office of Admissions, it states that out of the 1,558 UPCAT passers, only two students came from public schools. Not because public school students aren't capable of passing the UPCAT but because of the implementation of the K-12 system, which failed to produce graduates this year. In fact, in the past three years, private and public school graduates had a 50-50 distribution of UPCAT qualifiers. Nevertheless, there's still that thought that public schoolers are inferior to students in private schools (among many other misconceptions) and it's high time we change this kind of thinking.

The quality of education is poor.

It's always been assumed that the quality of education you get at a public school is as low as its tuition fee, what with the lack of good learning facilities and a salary competitive enough to keep the most brilliant of teachers from seeking better opportunities, among many others. But "you get what you pay for" isn't always applicable in the case of public schools. Having studied in a private elementary school before transferring to Muntinlupa Science High School, Sophia thinks that the only glaring difference between public and private schools are the lack of facilities.

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"Facilities in public schools aren't as well-maintained compared to those in private schools because public schools depend on the allotted budget by the government. When it comes to the quality of education, there's really no gap," she says.

The students are ill-mannered.

Imagine sitting in a classroom with, give or take, 60 students. Throw in a couple of inconveniences like the heat and the lack of proper ventilation and you'll get a noisy (and maybe a little rowdy) room, no less. "But it isn't true that we don't quiet down when we need to. When the lesson is exciting, or the teacher makes it so, we get really interested and retain what we are taught. We don't make noise or disrupt classes for no reason," says Amber, a creative writing student from Philippine High School for the Arts, who spent her elementary years also in a public school in Cabanatuan. "Also, we have to always take into consideration the fact that [most public school] students don't always come from well-off families. They might not be getting enough attention at home, which is probably why their manners and actions are not as refined. Of course the public school system should work hard to change this, but it doesn't end there," she finishes.

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Private school students are better than public school students.

"Some people think that if you're studying in a public school, you’re not on the same level as those who are in private schools,” shares Rhayne, a student from Caloocan High School – Science and Technology Education Program. The truth is, there are a lot of students in public schools that are just as smart, talented, creative, and skilled as the students from private schools. But the lack of tools to hone them is a bit of a challenge. But it’s a good thing that public school students are trained to adapt and excel despite the lack of means, making them just as competent as private schoolers. “We don’t have computer subjects in school, unlike in most private schools, which is why some students underestimate our abilities when it comes to computer-related skills, like graphic design, but in reality, many of us can do it even better than some of them,” she says.

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Studying in a public school will bring out the worst in you.

It's no secret that students have to share some textbooks or experience having flooded classrooms in public schools. From the outside looking in, it doesn’t quite paint a good picture. But once you get to experience it yourself, it doesn't seem too bad at all. In fact, if you allow it, it can bring out the best in you. "One incredible advantage of studying in a public school is the amount of exposure one gets to lots of competitions, events, and nationwide activities. Sometimes when you're in a private school, you tend to exist in your own little world and the exposure to competitive environments is [not as intensive as in public schools]," says Amber.

Public school students are unintelligent.

"Public schools don't have unintelligent students. Public schools only have poor students, who can't go to school every day because they can't afford to. These students actually have the desire and need to learn—it's just that they are stuffed into tiny rooms, with more students [than in an average classroom]," says Amber. In fact, this is the very stereotype that pushes public school students to excel and prove that they are competent. Sophia says, "since public school students are not considered to be intelligent and good, it drives us to succeed and prove others wrong."

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Do you study in a public school? What are some of the worst misconceptions people have when they find out where you study?

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Mara Agner
Assistant Lifestyle and Features Editor
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