Note on supplementary education

What’s wrong with coaching and tuition?

It makes better sense to discuss this question with parents. The discussion that follows could be shared with parents, without any need to edit.

All new-born children do get weaned off mother’s milk sooner than later but a tuitioned-child may never get off the dependence on tuition. Indeed, children should not be expected to become independent learners with the help of tuition or coaching. Tuition as we see in India – a replay of the teacher in school – is an Indian invention, reflecting the near collapse of classroom teaching. The world uses supplementary education in the form of tutors who help children in resolving specific areas of difficulties or conceptual blind spots but they never replay the teacher.

To be honest, in some ways tuition and coaching are almost an exclusively Asian practice; Korean, Chinese and Japanese children also heavily resort to tuition. However, the comparison between India and these countries with respect to tuition ends there. The reasons, form and content of tuition in India are very different compared to the other three countries.

A brief comparative of the tuition/coaching systems of the four countries is very illustrative and presented as under:

It must be obvious that tuition and coaching in India are an altogether different kettle of fish and arising out of poor quality formal education.

Further, tuition/coaching suffer from the same problems that the school classrooms do — broadcast of content, little time for discussion, class of 25 – 50 students (can go up to 500 students), a reporting system that is akin to school’s progress reporting (gross, inactionable and non-cumulative), no time for remedial measures, ‘faceless students’, etc.

It may be obvious by now that seeking tuition for your child is one major reason why your child may still be struggling.

Please stop tuition and coaching for your children and get them tutors who only work on the weaknesses or the strengths of your children and never more than once a week in a subject. Tuition for completing homework is to be totally avoided.

In fact, tuition and coaching are robbing children of the need (and skills) to think, synthesise and ‘make connections’ within and across subjects.

The last word — none of us (parents) took tuitions and yet we HAVE done well! Your child will also do well – get him off tuition and work on improving reading skills, language and previous-class concepts!

The 2013 annual education research by Pratham found that the impact of tuition in rural areas is reflected as a mere 10% increment in the performance of private school students. In government schools, the performance enhancement by tuitions is nearly 15%. Apparently, the quality of government schools is so poor that re-teaching is essential.

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