An exploratory examination of the factors that may contribute to the differences in academic performance between students in public and private schools in the Republic of Guinea: An examination of private and public schools in the District of Ratoma in Conakry
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This study has been initiated to investigate the differences in the factors that may contribute to the differences in academic performance between students in private and public schools in the Republic of Guinea. After the introduction of the issue and its background information in the Guinean context, I reviewed the literature on the factors that may contribute to the differences in academic performance between public and private students such as students' characteristics and socio-economic status, admission policy, teaching learning conditions (facilities, class size, access to materials, and assistance after school), and teachers and administrators' experience, qualifications, and autonomy in decision making. An overview of the Guinean education system within its economic and political context and background information was presented. Public and private schools in the District of Ratoma in Conakry (the Capital-City of Guinea) were randomly selected and used in the study. The subjects in this study were students in the last year of elementary school (sixth grade), middle school (tenth grade) and high school (thirteenth grade), their teachers, and schools administrators in these selected schools. The data were mainly gathered through survey questionnaires, interview, check lists, and document analyses. With the use of quantitative research method software (SPSS), this study employed some statistical analyses such as computation of frequencies, means, standard deviations, and percentages, Chi-Square, and independent t-test between the two sectors (public and private schools) to analyze and interpret participant responses. Findings from this study show that students are almost evenly distributed between public and private schools in terms of characteristics and socio-economic status; therefore, the home input factors have yielded little or no significant differences between the two sectors in terms of academic performance except for mothers' occupation and times spent on school activities at home. The differences in school input factors such as teachers working conditions, school facilities, lack of resources, and school directors' autonomy in decision making are found to be the main significant differences that may be contributing to the differences in academic performance between students in the public and private schools surveyed.