Tuition market is running parallel to formal education
Come new academic session, students across the nation would be found beelining outside famous tuition centres (who declared to have coached the board toppers) for admission. And even before the schools start their session, these coaching centres would not only be full, but would also have completed the a few modules with the kids!
Formal schooling and coaching centres (a.k.a tuition centres) have become synonymous to each other. Today, schooling is deemed to be incomplete without those extra hours in tuition centres. Be it at secondary education level or be it for any competitive entrance examination, securing high marks and grades today is ought to be virtually impossible without attending a couple of tuition classes. I rarely come across students who bag success without the baggage of extra coaching. Recently, what caught my fancy was a news that was published in one of the leading dailies, about how a group of students from Ahmedabad cleared not only school examination but also state’s board examination, with decent grades, without attending any extra tuition classes.
There is no denial that supplementary education has its own merits, but then it also questions the very verity of formal education. These coaching centres not only highlight the discriminatory education system of the nation but also distort mainstream education. However, it is also true that this sector is providing employment and mode of earning for many who fail to make it through the conventional education system, due to red-tapism, regulations and not so attractive salary structure. So, on the hindsight, it seems a win-win situation for both teachers (as they can earn extra bucks!) and for those who cannot make it through the mainstream school system! But, on a deeper analysis, the picture would not seem so very attractive. In the veil of coaching centres, teachers (school teachers) are virtually forcing kids to attend their own private classes post-school hours. Thus, using the school children as their captive market and teaching-hours for their personal business development activities. No wonder tuition centres suddenly have become a full-fledged market, more so, in the absence of controls and lack of any regulation. Republic of Korea has prohibited any kind of private tutoring. Likewise the Government of Mauritius and Hong Kong has regulations in place to limit the negativity of the business.
Going by ASSOCHAM studies, most of the middle-class families generally end up spending a staggering 30 per cent of their total income on the private tuitions of their children. The tuition industry is worth Rs.16,500 crore with parents spending as much as Rs.4 lakh on private tuition in a year. Of course, the upper strata of the society won’t mind paying some extra cash for such services but it is the middle class who has to whimper under the burden. There needs to be a system in place that prohibits school teachers from running commercial tuition. Though some states have taken such steps but they are still not able to completely root it out. Schools need to be accountable and keep a check on productivity during school hours and should provide additional tutorials if needed. Even an hour extra of tuition post-school robs a child off his extra-curricular growth and eventually deforms him/her from natural growth. And for what, after all, it is the coaching centres that take away the credit at the end, and thrive on it!