Who Are The Tuition Providers?
Who Are The Tuition Providers?
As with every other industry, supply will always create demand when it comes to the tuition industry. Under these circumstances, private tuition exists simply because it is made available by the providers and these too propose students to exploit the advantage of this availability. The other explanation is that students may discover that these services are available in their area and thus choose to take advantage of them even though things would have been different if private tutoring services were not readily available. On the other hand, it is a common thing for tuition services to be provided in increasing numbers simply because the demand has also been growing.
Let’s explain this a bit… After school hours
Whatever the case, it is hard to have tuition without the involvement of tuition teachers or tutors. They consist mainly in two forms, one where the private tuition tutors happen also to be teachers from the ordinary schools and also in a situation where the tutors have no relationship or any form of responsibility over the students or are not even teachers in the mainstream schools. In the first case, those who happen to be school teachers provide tutoring services to students who are already under their care in school but do it for an extra remuneration. This case happens to be one of the most tricky and thorniest issues surrounding this kind of tuition.
These teachers might justify their practice with the argument that it is hard for them to cover the entire syllabus within the official school hours. Another common argument is that their remuneration for services provided in the mainstream schools is very low and thus are forced to work beyond the class hours to help them supplement their earnings. There is a good number of people who criticize these arguments and find fault with the teachers claiming that such services should be offered freely especially if the students being offered private tuition are part of their schools. The critics argue that it is the responsibility of teachers to ensure that the syllabus is covered comprehensively and that the students are part of their workload for which, they’re employed and therefore should not ask for extra pay to do their work.
One of the greatest fears amongst many people is that these same teachers might slow down their teaching efforts deliberately during the normal school hours so as to ensure that the syllabus is not covered comprehensively. By so doing, they will be creating a market for their services which will ‘force’ the students to seek their services outside the normal school hours. Worse still, the aspect of blackmail could also come into play. Teachers are likely to create an impression, directly or indirectly, that any student who fails to attend the private tuition classes will be punished during the exams or other activities.
On the other hand, students who opt out of the private tuition offered by their teachers stand to be disadvantaged especially during the exams when compared to their classmates who’ve been attending the paid tuition sessions. In short, there is a clear conflict in interest when private tuition is offered by school teachers especially when it is done at an extra fee. No matter the how good the intentions might be, this controversy might not be resolved easily and this in a way taints the process, making it a bit questionable.
Can school teachers be involved in private tuition as well?
In many countries, Malaysia included mainstream school teachers are forbidden by the government from offering private tuition to their students at a fee. This is in recognition of the dangers surrounding this situation and the aim is to ensure that teachers and students are putting the required effort to cover the syllabus during the normal school hours. The teachers could however offer these supplementary tuition services voluntarily but not for a pay. Some countries like Singapore have enforced these regulations with the aim of discouraging the controversial practice in schools. Nonetheless, Singapore school teachers are free to offer private tuition and accept a pay but only if they are doing it to students from other schools. However, there are no such regulations in Malaysia. As a result, the number of school teachers offering private tuition has been on the rise over the years. As a matter of fact, the Malaysian government supports such practices with the hope of making private tuition more accessible especially to students from poor backgrounds.
Should others provide private tuition?
Private tuition providers who are not under the mainstream school teachers’ umbrella come in varying profiles. They might be averagely qualified or well qualified, young or old, part-time or full time, male or female, self employed or employed by different tuition centres. There is a rising number of university students who offer private tuition services with the aim of supplementing their income thus making it easy for them to continue with their learning or get some pocket money. Most of them normally provide tuition to primary and secondary school students. There are also some few students from upper primary schools who normally offer tutoring services to primary school pupils as a way of earning some money for use in different ways. Nevertheless, a huge number of private tuition teachers in Malaysia are in the process of obtaining university degrees or have one already. Many urban tuition attendees are more likely to receive their tuition from university graduates compared to those in the rural areas.
Professionals for special needs
A number of private tutors normally offer very precise skills. For instance, a tutor might have great skills in teaching chemistry at SPM level or in all the study levels. Another scenario is where a tutor is proficient to handle mathematics in SPM level or still in all the levels of study. This will mean that that particular tutor will specialize in that particular subject and not any other. Some professional tutors choose to focus only on the main subjects in national examinations. These normally boast of many years of tutoring experience which they can use in the appropriate areas. This is common among those who are involved in full-time tutoring and especially those who rely on private tuition to make a living. However, this does not in any way imply that those involved in part-time tutoring are not equally effective as their full-time counterparts. Most of them are actually very experienced and have accumulated many years offering coaching services to primary and secondary school students. This notwithstanding, many part-time tutors always consider it as a good way of supplementing their income and not their main occupation.
Making an extra effort
There is no doubt that there is a demand and tutors must step in to provide a response to the market needs. Most of them normally make all the necessary effort to discover what exactly is needed by the students so as to respond effectively in meeting the need. Many of those involved in the coaching process normally have great concern regarding their performance while teaching the students since they consider them as important clients, something that is not common with public school teachers. This is a prevalent attitude among many tutors who have no fixed assurance of client flow and therefore have to offer the best in order to remain relevant in the tuition industry. To the contrary, mainstream school teachers who choose to provide tuition to their students after the normal school hours might not show this same enthusiasm since they already have secure jobs and an already established group of potential pupils in their schools. By contrast, tuition centres normally employ different tactics to try and attract enrolment in their institutions. Some of these methods including advertisements through newspapers, leaflets, magazines and posters or offering prizes to the best performing students in exams.
To these tuition centres, their continued provision of services is normally pegged on their performance and therefore must work hard to deliver quality results to the students. This is not the case when it comes to mainstream school teachers who are never likely to lose their jobs simply because of poor performance by the students under their care. There is no performance contract which they must adhere to and therefore could relax and not be bothered much by what is happening. Private tutors must go an extra mile to ensure that their students are adequately prepared to give them an edge over their peers in class.
In conclusion, some tuition centres and tutors are well known and respected than others. This could be as a result of their performance or just because they are well known in their neighbourhoods. While some of the tutors in the industry have to work hard to bring clients in their fold, the reputation of these other tutors works for them and many have a long list of potential clients waiting to benefit from their services. Some of the most skilled tutors have to be booked early enough and in most cases students have to book a spot with them months or even one year in advance.