Friday, September 4, 2009

Tuitions - For and Against

All right, time for yet another serious topic. This time, it’s going to be tuitions. By tuitions, I mean basically the craze for attending private tutor’s classes, during one’s school life. There may be other type of tuitions, which I won’t be focusing on.

During the past decade, in India, the demand for private tuitions has shot up astronomically. People are now willing to shed gregarious sums of money, to invest in their child’s studies, by forcing him/her to attend scores of tuitions, so that he/she can improve his/her score and attain more marks in exams. Many new coaching institutes have opened up, all around the country. Most of them focus on cracking competitive exams like IITJEE, AIEEE, CBSE-PMT and others. And thousands of people have entered the private coaching vocation by offering classes related to Mathematics, Sciences, English, etc. Ie, the subjects in high demand (for coaching) by the students. Why this sudden rise in demand? Did not people study the same things in the past, say in the 70’s and 80’s? And they certainly did not need any special extra coaching or tuitions for cracking IITJEE, or even scoring high in their board exams. There are many factors for this. I won’t delve into them in this post. But in short, some of them are Rise in Population of youngsters making the competition reach an insane limit, improvement in communication, rise of IT sector, more awareness as a result, and rising hunger for marks, so that people will do anything to get a few marks more.

So are tuitions good or bad? And do we really need them? Do they actually ameliorate our adroitness or are they just another set of nefarious tools, utilized by the rapacious businessmen. Well, the answer, as in most cases, is both yes and no. We shall check out both its advantages and disadvantages. First, the good side. If the tutor is genuinely good, and interested in imparting knowledge towards others, then a child will almost certainly benefit under his guidance. For weak students, it will be a munificent boon. I have seen that many students are hesitant in asking doubts, while in the school classroom. They are afraid that they will be ridiculed by others, or will get a feeling of inferiority complex that while all of my classmates understood, I did not. So if I ask something, I will just be showing others that I am a fool. What they fail to realize is that ‘The one who asks a question, is a fool for 5 minutes. The one who does not remains a fool for his entire life.’ (okay, I borrowed that quote) But such students feel more comfortable in their tuition class, where they get their particular doubts cleared.

But I have seen, even many good students taking tuitions. Such students usually do so, in order to practice as many numerous problems and exercises related to their curriculum, so that they can maintain their rank and continue doing well in class. They generally do not need any extra help as such, and I personally feel they can manage quite fine on their own. If we take the case of private coaching institutes for competitive examinations, such as FIITJEE, RESONANCE, AAKASH, etc, we find lots of brilliant students opting for their classes, even though they are already quite good in their concepts. But it’s a fact, that such training does ameliorate their strengths, and make them get a possible better score. Study material and practice material is also a pre-requisite. I don’t believe that such institutes can make anybody crack a competitive exam. After all, it depends on that individual student, and his desire to win, and work hard. Such institutions will always focus on their success rate, and will widely endorse their achievements. For example, many will say these many thousand students got into such and such. Not a single one will mention that fate of over lakhs of students, who take coaching and tuitions, and yet fail to deliver.

One such factor amounting to failure, is the lack of interest from the students side. It is often seen that parents force their wards to take multiple tuitions, against their will. They feel that they are doing a favor for their children, not realizing that its doing them more harm than good. Such students often skip tuitions, for a cricket match, or if they do attend, all they do is sit somewhere out of the tutor’s sight, and indulge in asinine talk with their friends, or dabble with their mobiles. Such levity or flippancy only deteriorates the student’s performance even further. No wonder the parents are shocked after receiving a call from the school, saying that their child has performed miserably. They believe that they have performed their dharma or duty by sending a child for tuitions. As if ‘tuitions’ is a magical wand which can make their child top his class. Here is a real incident which happened during a parent-teacher meeting:

Teacher: Mr. A, I am sorry to inform you that your son has not performed well this time. In fact, he just managed to pass, procuring 40% marks.

This is ridiculous, Mr. X. How can my son do that badly? It must be the mistake of all of you teachers. They must have targeted my child, and given him low marks on purpose.

Teacher: I assure you, Mr. A, that is not the case. There is no reason for any teacher to target your child. Your son is a poor student, and he scarcely pays any attention in class. I think you need to have a proper talk with him.

Parent (after reading the report card) : But this is nonsense , I tell you. My son has got only 37 marks in Mathematics, and 41 in Science. I made him take 3 tuitions for Maths, and 4 for Science. How then is it possible that he gets such low marks?

Teacher: I think, I now understand the problem, Mr. A. Your son has been taking too many unnecessary tuitions. I think he will benefit more, if instead of taking multiple tuitions, he starts taking genuine interest in his subjects.

This is but a small part of a large story. In today’s scenario, it is estimated that more than 90% of the children going to school, amongst the middle and high class, take some form of tuition. And unfortunately, in majority of the cases, the child is being over-burdened by them. He detests them, and ends up abhorring his subject, becoming totally nonchalant towards it. Rarely, is the child asked whether he actually wants to join a supplement tuition class, or even if he Actually needs one. I believe that unless a child is a very weak student, that too in an exceptional case, he/she can easily manage his/her subjects on his/her own. After all, the subjects are common for everyone. It’s not that one student is doing algebra, and the other has to do rocket science, in the same class. Students should make groups amongst themselves, and solve any problems they find difficult. They should also take help from their school teachers, as and when required. I do not believe that just by taking tuitions, one can bolster his performance in an astonishing way.

The situation is gradually going from bad to worse. Earlier, only those studying in high school, would prefer tuitions, especially for Physics and Mathematics. Now the situation has become so that, even KG and Standard 1 students are being forced to take tuitions. Why don’t parents realize that they are just destroying their child’s career and life by overloading him with tuitions, at an age, when he should be playing and learning basic things of life. And the even sadder part is that parents don’t seem to realize that they are doing something wrong. All they desire is a report card stamped with 90% marks in all subjects. But in today’s competitive world, no one can blame them. After all, students scoring 92-93% marks in their boards are not getting admission in good colleges. This is because of our inane education system which favors only the absolute toppers. But in a highly over-populated country like ours, we just can’t let this happen, if we want to avoid disastrous consequences, like unequal distribution of wealth and resources.

The situation in high school has become such that, one feels as if he MUST take tuitions in order to survive in this brutal world. Most average students have lost all faith in their own ability. They feel that in order to match up to the toppers, they have to take tuitions, else they won’t get admission in any good college. I have seen many students, who don’t even know the basic concepts of calculus, or mechanics, taking IIT tuitions, hoping to make it big, without making any significant effort of their own. Some of them get the remiss feeling that the institute will get them into an IIT. ‘My job(of taking admission) is over. Let the institute do its work now’. And when they fail, they curse their tutor, or the institute, little realizing that they were just a part of those lakhs of undeserving people, who believe that their world is centered around the IITs and IIMs. Roughly, around 2+ lakh people who give the IIT exam are totally unprepared for it, and have no inclination towards engineering whatsoever. Same is the case for the CAT, and other competitive exams. Such people are mere gamblers, trying to push their luck, uttering flippant quotes, such as ‘Arrey bhai, exam dena main kya harz hai. Jab baki sabhi de rahe hain, to hum bhi de dete hai. Mil gaya to accha hai. Nahi mila to bhi theek hai.’ Some are even more tepid. They remark, ‘Lagta to nahi ki mera kuch hoga, jab itne saare exam de rahe hai. Hamara to dosh nahi hai, bhai seats hi bahut kam hai. ‘

Anyways, I know that I deviated from the main topic of tuitions. Nevertheless, I personally have never supported tuitions, and never will. I firmly believe that they are just a waste of time, effort and money. Most tutors are just itinerant people, who only try to hoodwink others and earn more money. In any case, if you feel that you simply HAVE to take tuitions, try to minimize the number. In any case, taking more than one tuition for a single subject is nothing but mere folly. As I advise everyone, do a proper self analysis first, to find out where exactly you lag, and whether taking tuitions will actually solve your problem, and whether you are 100% sure that you can’t manage it on your own.

Okay guys, I know I wrote a lot on this one. Almost 2000 words. Anyways, thanks once more, for sparing your precious time, to read my articles. Take care. Ta ta.


Anonymous said...

u seem to be completely against the idea of taking view is that the main reason behind the surge in the no of students taking tuitions is that the quality of teachers has depreciated.most of them take up the profession only bcoz thr is no other option left for them n fail to do justice.the quote:"A real teacher teaches from the heart n not from the book".to be very frank,i don't think most of the teachers i had in school r real.when thr is no real interest from their side,individual attention is out of the question so at least for subjects like maths,tuitions r neccesary for those students who r nt good at it.

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