Public vs private: research reveals attitudes towards education

According to the latest survey by STEM/MARK, younger Czechs think better of private schools than the older generations. 2 in 3 respondents between age 15 and 29 appreciate a more individual approach and more than three fourths agree that studying in English gives them an advantage when searching for a job after graduation. Almost 4 in 10 people aged between 45 and 59, on the other hand, think that there are no advantages to studying private over public universities. The study was commissioned by the University of New York in Prague in connection to its 20th year of existence on the Czech market.

68 % of respondents aged between 15 and 29 appreciate that there are less students in classrooms in private universities.

Even though public universities have a longer tradition in the Czech Republic than the private ones, the latest surveys show that the perception of private universities is starting to be more positive, especially when it comes to younger people. According to the latest survey by STEM/MARK for UNYP, 68 % of respondents aged between 15 and 29 appreciate that there are less students in classrooms in private universities in comparison to public ones. Almost 3 in 10 younger respondents name international environment as the second biggest advantage, almost one quarter thinks that the quality of teachers is higher and only 14 % do not recognize any advantage of private universities over public ones.

Older generation with people between 45 and 59 years of age has a different view. Only 45 % think there is a better teacher-to-students ratio, less than 1 in 10 thinks that the quality of teachers is higher. Almost 4 out of 10 do not see any advantages of private universities over the public ones.

There are still many myths, misconceptions and prejudices towards private universities.

“In connection to the twenty years’ anniversary of our existence on the Czech market we wanted to look at where the private university education stands in the opinions of the Czech population. It is encouraging to see that the younger generation is starting to understand the benefits of private university education. On the other hand, we feel that there are still many myths, misconceptions and prejudices towards private universities. Most of them come from the fact that Czechs have very little opportunities to hear about the private university sector. Therefore, we want to talk about what UNYP as a leading local private university does, to provide an education which is in some areas equal and in some even better than education provided by the public universities. I understand the more reserved stance of the older generation which did not have a chance to experience it first-hand and forms its opinions mainly based on news from media,” said Sotiris Foutsis, general manager of UNYP.

 “For the last twenty years we are focusing on developing a very individual relationship between teachers and each student. Rather than memorizing facts we encourage our students to discover new information, we show them best ways how to process it and how to present findings or solutions. It is a system which is very similar to what awaits them in the work environment. We have positive feedback from top tier employers in Czech Republic about our graduates. One of the proofs that we are doing it right is also the high employability – our graduates have very little problems finding great careers both as employees as well as entrepreneurs,” Sotiris Foutsis adds.

The STEM/MARK survey also points out there is low recognition of private schools in the Czech Republic. Almost 2 out of 3 Czechs cannot recall any private university, and this ratio increases in cities with population between 50 and 100 thousand where it reaches 75 %. Even in Prague, only less than half of the respondents could name at least one private university.

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