Tutoring industry booming in Asia, ruining educations system
July 13, 2012
So far educationists and policymakers have deemed the private tutoring, also know as shadow education, as the remedial help for students but largely ignored its negative impacts such as creation of differentials. It dominates the lives of young people and their families, maintains and exacerbates social inequalities, diverts needed household income into an unregulated industry, and creates inefficiencies in education systems.
The private tutoring which is common in urban and rural areas are expanding at an alarming rate in Asia. Households in certain countries spend staggering portions of their incomes on shadow education, a new report produced by Asian Development Bank ADB and Comparative Education Research Centre CERC at the University of Hong Kong reveals.
The study shows that in Pakistan, expenditures on tutoring per child averaged the equivalent of $3.40 per month, in year 2011. This was a significant amount, given that 60 percent of Pakistan’s population reportedly lived on less than $2 per day. In other countries such as Hong Kong, China, the business of providing private tutoring to secondary schools reached $255 million in 2011. In Japan, families spent a whopping $12 billion in 2010 on private tutoring.There are various reasons for the widespread of shadow education, poor quality of education in schools is not the only one. In several countries in the region, including some with high-quality school systems, shadow education appears to have become a permanent feature. However, even in these countries it can be steered and regulated; and in other countries proactive measures can prevent or minimize some of the problems that have become evident elsewhere. Sharing lessons and knowledge about the trend and its implications will help such efforts and support dialogue on these issues among stakeholders of education, the report observes.
In Pakistan private tutoring is very common in urban areas and also widespread in rural areas. A 2010 survey of 19,006 rural households in 32 districts of all provinces found that 25.3 percent of students aged 6 to 16 in private schools received private supplementary tutoring compared with 9.7 percent in government schools, a repeat survey the following year confirmed the general pattern. “Shadow education is expanding at an alarming rate. It is already most extensive in the Asian region, and increasing proportions of household income are being spent on private tutoring,” said Jouko Sarvi, Practice Leader for Education in ADB’s Regional and Sustainable Development Department. “Policy makers would be wise to look at why parents feel they need to engage private tutors, and think about ways to ensure shadow education works with, rather than against, the mainstream system,” said CERD Director, Professor Mark Bray, who co-authored the report.
The demand for private tutoring is partly driven by negative perceptions of traditional schooling and the belief that extra lessons are essential for academic success. However, private tutoring is not always effective in raising academic achievement; and in some schools students commonly skip classes or sleep through lessons because they are tired after excessive external study. This means that the shadow system can make regular schooling less efficient.
Some teachers are also focusing more on private lessons than regular classes, leading to another cause of inefficiency. Especially problematic are situations in which teachers provide extra private lessons for pupils for whom they are already responsible in the public system. This can lead to corruption when teachers deliberately teach less in their regular classes in order to promote the market for private lessons.
The report, recently published, says policymakers across the region need to take a closer look at how shadow education affects family budgets, children’s time, and national education systems. Policymakers should then design regulations to protect consumers while focusing on improvement in mainstream schools in order to reduce the need for private lessons.
The findings confirm that the national education system is on the verge of collapse and calls for its reforming because large amount of money is involved in the tutoring industry which encourages private tutoring and discourages schooling.