Good performances in private schools have not only attracted many parents but also left the public wondering what secret could be behind their success. Despite government investing heavily in public schools, not much in terms of performance is yet realized. Most public schools, especially in urban areas, are well staffed. Teachers in public schools are better paid compared to those in private. This paper undertakes a comparison between Public and Private secondary schools in terms of academic performance. The paper is based on a study carried out to determine the level of variation in academic performance between public and private primary schools in Wareng District and the major possible causes of such variations. The study covered a total of 55 public and 17 private schools distributed evenly among the five educations Zones in the district. The figures translate to 52% and 68% of public and private schools respectively. Data collection was by means of questionnaire administered to teachers and head teachers. Results on performance were collected from District Education Office. Performance in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) was used because it is a national examination that is not biased. The duration covered three years, 2007-2009 inclusive. The findings of the study revealed that despite government investing generously in public schools private schools still outshine them. It is clear that private schools perform much better in academics than public schools. KCPE results for the three years (2007-2009) where private schools were ahead of public ones consecutively – in all the zones. Moreover, public schools in the District are relatively well staffed with pupil-teacher ratio in urban areas at 21:1 in rural areas in average pupil-teacher ratio in the District was 31:1. The research findings are of significance to Ministry of Education policy makers and public schools.
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