“In the world, private schools are among the best ones and we are building a tradition”, says NEWTON College rector

Jan Mojžíš
MUDr. Jan Mojžíš

It’s never too late to start studying. This is one of the reasons why business studies for managers are increasingly popular.

Generally, the institutions providing such education are private, so we asked Jan Mojžíš, the rector of one of the most successful schools in the Czech Republic, what is the level of a private school in the Czech Republic in comparison to Britain and how can you recognize good quality.

Does public and private higher education have different levels of education? Or is the difference only in that one is for free, and at the latter students must pay tuition.

There are public schools that produce exceptionally high-quality educated graduates, but many schools provide average 25-year-olds who have no practical experience. Of course, this is similar to private schools. We at NEWTON College strive to be in the first category and send educated and excellent graduates to the world.

But nothing is for free, not even studying at a public college. Education is paid to students by the state, or us, the taxpayers. In the case of private schools, the income is almost exclusively from the tuition fees.

Jan Mojžíš
MUDr. Jan Mojžíš

If we talk only about private universities, what impact does the tuition fee have on the quality of education?

If you want to have the best-qualified people at the school, reside in a good location, and you prefer education in smaller groups for better results and better teaching, all of these will be reflected in the tuition fees. So the difference between a school for thirty or sixty-thousand annual tuitions should be noticeable. But it’s not the same in all places.

What is an excellent university like?

There are three possible perspectives on university evaluation. In an international context, quality is usually measured using rankings based on the scientific activities of the school and teachers. The problem is that a top scientist may not be a top teacher. Other rankings assess how graduates are doing, what jobs, salaries, career growth they have. Such an assessment makes more sense. The third way is to look at how students feel about the curriculum and what they draw from their studies. However, this is almost impossible to evaluate, and that’s a pity.

So what do you think the candidate should take into account?

Jan Mojžíš
MUDr. Jan Mojžíš

Mainly the teaching methods, the size of groups, the interaction between students and teachers, the relationships between them, and relation to the government. This is a great advantage of a private higher education institution because of its size and method of management give more scope to focus on these criteria.

What is it like in terms of teachers’ approach?

Many teachers at private schools come from public universities. So there is no significant difference in the extent and range of information communicated; there is a difference in approach. The objective of the lessons is that students enrich their knowledge and put it into practice. So our students are also already working people, successful entrepreneurs, and managers. Of course, it is not only about the teachers but the system as a whole.

Can you be more specific, please?

For example, we at NEWTON College have study counselors to guide students during their studies. So we perceive students as clients. Of course, this is not true when they defend the final thesis. Students come to the Study Department and share their problems, successes, and failures. They wouldn’t do that if they didn’t trust us.

History and graduates form the image and awareness of universities.

Do you think private schools in the Czech Republic have a worse reputation than elsewhere in Europe?

Unfortunately, yes. This is due to the behavior of some private schools that have shortened and simplified their curriculum in the past. Moreover, we lack tradition. By law, private higher education institutions may operate since 1998, but in fact, they have started around 2000. This is a short time to build several successful graduates, who then form the image of successful private education.

Elsewhere in Europe, it is entirely different. In traditional democracies, such as the UK, private universities are among the best. It does not matter whether they have one owner or a foundation or a fund owns them. In France there are slightly fewer private schools than in Britain, but still more than in our country. In Poland, for example, private schools have more than 30% share, in our country only about 13%.

Jan Mojžíš
MUDr. Jan Mojžíš

What do you think would help improve the reputation? Do you think it will come with time and tradition?

Yes. History and graduates form the image and awareness of universities. When you walk around a private school in the United States, there is a list with its successful graduates in each building. It is a nice example of building a school image and a sense of belonging that graduates have throughout their lives. In our country, it is not common even among the most famous universities. I see it as a space for private universities that can create a sense of belonging.