Schools, not tuitions, should fulfill the need for education

DPS STS School Dhaka

The global private tutoring market is expected to reach $201.8 billion by 2026. South Asia, in particular, is leading the world market in the private tuition sector for students. The number of students getting private tutoring after school has been increasing in many countries throughout this region, including Bangladesh. The education scenario has become so competitive that parents feel they have to give their children the best possible chances of excelling. Conceived as indispensable supplementary input for mainstream schooling today, private tuition has spread beyond the confines of helicopter parents and tiger moms. Most households now depend on private tutors with the hope of turning the "B" into "A." In some cases, private tutoring has risen as a parallel to the education sector itself! 

But does private tuition really increase parental choice and improve student achievement, or does it exacerbate social inequalities and impose elevated costs on households, perhaps without enhancing outcomes? 

Many students find that their studies are more effective because private coaching centers are more important than what they learn in their classrooms, while parents, unsure of the assurances provided by schools, cannot but rely on these private lessons and end up piling pressure on their monthly expenditures. Be it for polishing essential skills, college preparation, or keeping up with higher-achieving peers, private tuition does not come cheap. A study produced by UNESCO's Global Education Monitoring Report and BRAC has detailed that households account for 71 percent of total education spending in Bangladesh, one of the highest rates in the world. What is more worrisome is that the additional investment has risen despite conflicting evidence on whether tutoring raises educational attainment. 

Numerous students go for private tuition primarily because teaching in school classrooms is not stimulating enough. There is a huge gap in ensuring proper care and attention from teachers, thus, diminishing the quality of learning experiences. Many parents are not satisfied with the quality of education their children receive at school. Driven by their thirst to ensure good results for their children, parents opt to admit their children to coaching centers or keep a private home tutor at home, eventually perpetuating the problem. This is a vicious cycle that ultimately hinders the intellectual growth of students.  The students and parents must understand the steps to master a textual concept as given here:

Simply attending to multiple lectures in tuition centres creates false sense of understanding in students and eventually cause confusions in them while anwering questions in examinations. It is imperative that the students spend significant time in self study and revision instead of wasting time in travelling to tuition centres and attending to repeated lectures on the same topic.

Additionally, it is quite normal for students to want to indulge their time in other co-curricular activities of their interest. However, engaging their valuable time in private tuition may lead to great dissatisfaction. It even hampers the childhood of the students by engaging their entire time in the academic arena, which costs time and money. After all, in reality, good grades do not always translate to better opportunities. 

Our primary challenge is that private tutoring is becoming a major component of the education sector, frequently getting more important than school education. This practice needs to be avoided and to do that, we must strengthen the quality of education from the root level. To begin with, teachers should be more efficient and effective in being available to all students. This way, students can reach out to them on a personal level both inside and outside classrooms. Moreover, instead of waiting to test the student's knowledge in a test, teachers need to check for comprehension during each lesson regularly. The process will allow teachers to answer student questions and provide a deeper understanding of the topic, resulting in enhanced learning experiences. 

DPS STS School Dhaka has sponsored and incorporated several academic initiatives in its learning program through which students can be greatly benefitted and won't be opting for private tuition at all

Most importantly, it is essential for teachers to just 'be there' for all students. Among the many research-driven discussions of pedagogy and teaching strategies, it can be easy to forget the power of simply reassuring and encouraging your students verbally to instill confidence in their abilities. While students are still navigating their way in life, they require mental and emotional support outside of their parents. By cultivating this positive and healthy learning environment, teachers can facilitate greater collaboration, communication, and interaction. 

Schools should be very thorough in providing extensive care, both in academic and non-academic aspects. For example, DPS STS School Dhaka has sponsored and incorporated several academic initiatives in its learning program through which students can be greatly benefitted and won't be opting for private tuition at all. One such initiative is the 'Performance Enhancement Class (PEC),' which focuses on improving the specific subject-wise skill level of individual students who are in need of assistance in a particular area. Available for all subjects, students can easily enroll in this program for free if they feel they need improvement in a specific subject.

There is no need for the students to receive private tuition if the lessons are learned and taught well in the school itself. There is no alternative to classroom teaching, and it is the teachers who can inspire and spur growth in the students. Teachers can do what parents cannot. Therefore, teachers and schools should be the primary source of learning and development. Schools, not tuition, must fulfill the need for education at all costs. 

* Dr. Shivananda C S is Principal, DPS STS School Dhaka