Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Education Mafia – The tuition industry – Part 2

Many parents who have lost faith in the ability of schools alone to teach their kids to the required grades, opt instead to heavily use tuition classes to supplement this void. It is also practiced in the rural areas where students go to the nearest big town on Saturdays and Sundays to follow classes. The Tuitions Sir is now a famous being, more than the school teachers. In addition teachers, especially from prestigious schools, market themselves and offer private tuition and class tuition after hours, in the time they should be preparing for lessons at the school. Further they encourage their own students to come to their tuition classes, using their own pupils as a captive audience.

This is now a money chase, and parents are forced to pay whatever it takes, and there is quite a sacrifice on the part of parents in this regard. The tuition industry hides the problems of the education sector as it supplements and therefore assists the student to get a better grade, and the school gets the credit for it!

This business is unregulated, though it responds to market forces, their productivity is the results, and so these crammers flourish especially if they are good. It must be noted that poorly paid teachers use the tuition route to supplement their income. One must understand that teachers pay is not on performance. So rotten teachers and good teachers get the same salary in the state sector. The good teachers feel it their right to get supplementary income by tuition as they have a skill they can impart and which can earn them some extra money. It must also be remembered that good teachers are also attracted by higher perks and salaries to the private sector schools, international ones. Many teachers opt for early retirement to go into to the Private Sector and the state sector suffers accordingly.

The value placed on the tuition industry is massive, however it is not included in the 1.9% spend on GDP that state education system accounts for. I am also made to understand that many Professors and University Academics supplement their income by teaching in the private tertiary sector, a further boost to their incomes, which can double if they work as many hours as they can, here again the state sector suffers.

It is clear from the above that private tuition adversely affects state education. Private education also draws the best out of the state sector. 

One clear way out of the problem is to train, train and train teachers. There has to be a charge on teachers to train with promises of future rewards, in the private sector as well as the overseas teaching sector. Teacher training would be improved if scholarships are granted to the best 25% intake, so that those with hardship but with ability can get in, and the others must fund at least 75% of the cost of their training by way of loan or some such recoverable system.

The equity in this is that they will be able to earn a higher income in the tuition industry, or in the private or overseas sectors. It is unfair for the Government of Sri Lanka to pay the full cost of training people who then use this free training to enrich themselves as it is at the expense of other citizens of Sri Lanka who are not as privileged. 

The whole aspect of obtaining one's education completely without charge to then not give it back to the country is the issue. Their could be a claw back of payments if the teacher is willing to work in the remote areas where few good teachers wish to relocate to, thereby handicapping students in those areas.

In summary the whole principle of equity and justice needs to be explained and then implemented in a fair manner at least a fairer one.

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