ADB: Private tutoring more bane than boon
Private tutoring is less about remedial help for students and more about competition and creation of differentials, according to a report by the Manila–based multilateral lender, noting that tutoring is actually shadow education as it mimics the style and activities of regular schooling.
Differentials are inequalities [in the quality of education received by individual students] Karen Palmer, media relations specialist for ADB, told GMA News Online over the phone on Thursday.
The report was done in collaboration with the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) at the University of Hong Kong.
The demand for private tutoring is partly driven by negative perceptions toward traditional schooling and the belief that extra lessons are essential for academic success, according to the study.
Gloria Chavez, president-chancellor of De La Salle University-supervised College of Saint John in Roxas City, Capiz, said that in her experience, students are not the ones who want to be tutored privately.
“Actually, it’s the parents who insist on private tutoring,” Chavez said in a separate phone interview. “They want their children to be in the top of their class, become honor students, reach a certain level.”
Chavez, who leads an 826-student school ranging from preparatory to college levels, said there is nothing wrong with trying to achieve excellence, but she her main concern is that children are given undue pressure in the process.
“They want their children to excel, so the tutorial lessons are not for remedial purposes anymore,” she said.
At St. John’s, teachers are prohibited from giving private tutoring, unless the extra lessons are for remedial purposes, Chavez noted.
The ADB and CERC study noted that private tutoring does not assure academic success. It found out some students commonly skip classes or sleep through them because they are tired from their extra tutoring lessons.
There are students who focus solely on their tutoring lessons.
“Sometimes, they only eat dinner, then it’s back to studying,” said Chavez. “Sometimes, conflict arises between the private tutor and the schoolteacher, and the child gets confused.”
Also according to the ADB and CERC report, some teachers focus more on private lessons than regular classes, leading to the inefficiency of regular schooling.
These factors introduced by shadow education are what make regular schooling less inefficient, said the study.
“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 for ADB’s Regional and Sustainable Development Department.
Some countries spend “staggering costs” on private tutoring, according to the study.
In 2011, Pakistan spent the equivalent of $3.40 a month for each child on tutorials, when 60 percent of Pakistanis reportedly live on less than $2 a day.
The business of private tutoring in Hong Kong made $255 million that same year.
In 2010, Japanese families spent $12 billion for tutorials.
In a 2010 study cited by the report, a survey of 1,235 students in 23 Philippine schools showed that among Grade 6 students, 40.7 percent received tutoring, compared to 46.5 percent of student in a higher level.
The amount of private tutoring a Filipino student received was inversely correlated with the size of his or her family, in which a student with fewer siblings tended to receive more tutoring than children with more siblings, the study also showed.
“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 with Chad Lykins.
Chavez, meanwhile, worries for the children who undergo extensive private tutoring. Instead of playing or socializing with their peers, these children miss out on the activities commonly done by children.
“In a way, they get deprived of their childhood,” she added. — VS, GMA News