Extra Tuitions Become a Crutch

It wasn’t too long ago when taking extra tuitions was considered embarrassing to one’s intellect and a mother would take pains to coach the child at home, do the homework with him/her, and avoid external help as much as possible. Today the opposite is true. Tuitions is not “extra” help or practice, it’s not ADDITIONAL work to polish skills taught at morning schools, in fact it is most popular form of education.

The problem starts right from the bottom. Once a child is admitted in school, having a tutor come at your residence (or enrolling in an tuition center) is almost as necessary as starting with a maulvi sahab. The problem is more pervasive in the slightly older generation, say students of O and A Levels, who sign up for tuitions from different tutors for all their subjects, separately. So at one time parents are paying for 4 to 5 different subject tutors apart from the basic academic fees (which is exorbitant as it is).

I myself have taught at a center for two years. My enthusiasm and love for teaching waned when I realized that the students did not expect extra help from me to prepare for exams, they expected me to teach them the entire O Level course from scratch, usually in a couple of months. The course that is, according to protocol, supposed to be covered by the school in 2 years. Whenever I asked a student why they weren’t taught anything in schools I got replies ranging from “The same teachers in school want us to come to them in the evening for tuitions, they teach properly during tuitions” to “We don’t really attend classes that regularly, especially when we can bunk”

What is the real problem with the education system? O and A Level system is a very well-structured and respected system, why is not working here? Why is tuitions a necessity for everyone? Isn’t it disturbing that opening up a tuition center is one of the most profitable businesses in Karachi today, not to mention the easiest? Where is the dignity?

13 Comments so far

  1. Zainub (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 2:59 am

    Where is the dignity? I don’t know, but I wish I knew. All my sisters, and I have three are, or were enrolled in the Cambridge System, and apart from the youngest, who is going into 8th grade this year, the other two have had to take tutions. Their reasons were simple: teachers at school not good enough/don’t know how to teach. I went to the same school, but I was in the Matric System, so uptil 10th grade, I never took tution. Got out of school and went to a state owned college, and doh – wasn’t a single subject for which I didn’t take tutions! The transformation (which was completely unwilling) took a bit of getting used to. My reasons? Even simpler. Half the classes at college weren’t even held, the other half where teachers turned up, didn’t know how to teach, and the remaining came for the first class of the year, wrote tution centre phone numbers on the blackboard, and asked us promptly to call and register.

    For your question though, I don’t think you can say the A and O level system isn’t working, if you look at the results, for instance, Pakistan has produced some phenomenal result in recent times. Only last week a ceremony in Karachi celebrated and recognised the success of 69 high achievers, including a record breaking 55 world toppers at O Levels and nine at A Levels. 33 of those 55 where from Karachi.

    What are the best O/A level schools in the city is the next question you have to ask. From my research, a list in no particular order would be KGS, St Patrick’s High School, Dawoud Public School, Convent of Jesus & Marry, Mama Parsi Girls’ Secondary School, The City School, Beacon House…over the past few years there have been high achievers from all of these institutions, yet, I can confirm to you, thaat I know personally students from each of these institutions who have taken tutions for one subject or the other. And they were not exceptional cases, my older sister, gave her A two year ago from KGS, and Os from Mama, and approx 90% of her class were taking tutions for a minimum of one subject. People were even taking tutions for subjects like Eng Language! Now I can understand if some one wanted to take tutions for Literature, but how anyone can teach you to write essays, letters and answer comprehension questions by the time you’ve already have had 11 years of schooling is completely beyond me. Another sister is going to give Os this year, now the tution taker percent has gone up to 95%.

    Who do I blame? The teachers and the schools. Based purely on what I have seen in the example of my sisters, unlike me, they’re both geeks and never bunked classes, they’re the kind of people that would run after even incompetent teachers to try and understand, but there’s a limit to which you can bang your head against a wall hoping for an answer.

    I know they’re other kids who probably just don’t take their studies seriously enough and consider it fun to go to tutions after school, almost for a social gathering, but those kids are in the minority. The overwhelming majority of the tutions goers today would never take tutions if they standards at their schools were good enough. Who wants to spend 3,000 extra per subject per month anyway? Its not like life is easy for parents with all the inflation there is. Money isn’t growing on trees for all A and O level students, quite a few may belong to super rich families, but several other belong to middle class, and they’re not the only siblings in the family being educated, so I’m sure you will agree the majority of students, both O, A and even Inter and Matric students, are taking tutions for fun or by choice.

    Its the fault in combination of the schools and teachers, some schools don’t pay teachers enough despite hoarding thousands in fees money themselves, and as a result these teachers are themselves left with no other option then to opening private tution centres. Some teachers on the other hand are plain greedy. And can’t be satisfied enough with whatever amount of money they’re being given. And always look to earn the few lakh / month more through private tutions.

    But no, I still don’t know where everyone’s dignity is. Perhpas our “teachers” themselves can answer. In fact, given you taught at one of these private schools, you’re in a good position to tell us. Why did you join? I’m not criticising, please don’t get me wrong. I really do want to get to the bottom of this. Where you just teaching for the sure joy of teaching? Or where you there because the school you taught at wasn’t paying you as much as you wanted, or that you wanted more? Sorry for the personal nature of the questions, but you’ve open a hornest’s nest here, touched my ‘dugti rug’as it were, and I really had to take it all out. Apologies in advance for any offence caused to any possible teacher readers, I never meant to personally afront you, just really want to know why.

  2. Darthvader (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 4:29 am

    oh YES ….social commentary again and a lots of it ..for those who care – mind expanding discourse -blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah ..it’s like we have a collection of goody two shoes authors and they all feel it neccessary to perform their prosaical-masturbation right here at KMB

    peace , love and rus-malai

    Vader , the Dark Sith

  3. MB (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 7:19 am

    Can i give you a good advice ?
    Why don’t you enroll them in gov. schools (tuitions will continue anyhow) and save some bucks.


  4. Darthvader (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 9:23 am

    Held for moderation!!!!!!!!!!! — YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    exactly the kind of thing that you would expect from a gutless hack on KMB – so you want to write on a public forum but don’t have the stomach and

    the mental fortitude to deal with the public opinion. it’s these self-righteous finger wagging goody-two-shoes like you that are part of the problem.

    Just the thought that you were a teacher makes me cringe …….

    and yes , go ahead and hold this one too …thats what i expect from 4th class authors like yourself .

    and off course

    peace and love

    Vader , the Dark SIth

  5. Murtaza (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 9:24 am

    I don’t think the problem is entirely with the teachers or the system. I was in BVS, a matric school at that time, some of my schoolmates have done exceptionally well, both at home and abroad. Others don’t even do well on something as simple as the TOEFL. I ended up doing my O’levels from Army Public School, and A’levels from KGS. And I can safely say that some teachers were better than what I have experienced in the US at Purdue University, among the best engineering universities. Some can’t even speak english properly. Yes, some have been excellent too.
    The point i’m trying to make is, after 6th grade, a student is quite capable of reading and understanding 80% of the material. And if there are problems, teachers are always there to help, and that is not the only source. It is not necessary to go for tuitions. It is just sort of status symbol, and a mindset that one cannot do without tuitions. Walking around campus I come across numerous ads for tutors for basic algebra and what not. And people make a lot of money tutoring even in the US.
    Not everyone is a good speaker, or able to initiate and maintain interest, I’ve struggled to stay awake sitting in the front row. But most teachers do know the material, and if the student is sincere enough there is no need for tuitions.

  6. mansoor (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 11:21 am

    it is a pervasive problem alright..
    but what i’m wondering is.. if the cambridge system can fail in this country… were we really right to say that the matric/inter system was/is a failure?

    or is it that we, the people, just refuse to learn and instead want to go out n party?

  7. MB (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 11:51 am

    ab tumne dil ki baat ki na meray dost
    Thats the truth, GO OUT and PARTY coz hum toh hain hee baray nawab ke bachey, na bhi padhain toh kia, DAD ka itna business kon sumbhaleyga

    Well, on a serious note i guess MATRIC system has too many SYSTEM related issues which are basics. Its basically a trash our board tries to fix, forgetting that a trash is a trash no matter how colorful you make it. They need to replace it.

  8. MB (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 12:24 pm


    Please delete my latest post. Its mistakenly send here. ye dictatorship wala

  9. Arsalaan Haleem (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 1:29 pm

    Bayl, I don’t know how old you are but taking tutions, other than attending your regular school, was as popular 15 years ago, when I was doing my Matric, as it is today.

    And even then the expectations of those taking tutions was almost the same as today. Nothing much has changed in the last 15 years, except for the government of the day.

  10. F. AHMED (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 5:05 pm


    I suggested that the number of topics should be limited so that there can be useful debate……

    i c that u were also a bit mixed up and put another post here which was for another topic..

    this is what happens when we have riding in more then one boat at the same time@MB;

    I suggested that the number of topics should be limited so that there can be useful debate……

    i c that u were also a bit mixed up and put another post here which was for another topic..

    this is what happens when we have riding in more then one boat at the same time

  11. bayl (unregistered) on March 10th, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

    Thank you DarthVader, for your valuable input.

    I just checked my email and I approved your comments immediately.

    Thanks again, criticism is welcome :)

  12. TH (unregistered) on March 11th, 2007 @ 12:21 am

    Tuitions were a big help to me. I was able to revise the stuff I already learnt at school. I knew kids that took tuitions for each and every subject they took during their o’ levels which was pathetic. The instructors would guarantee an A for the kids which is why the parents were so keen on them taking them. Besides, they because the highlight of everyone’s social scene.

  13. Darthvader (unregistered) on March 11th, 2007 @ 1:16 am

    @Bayl: while you are at it , let me give you another oppportunity to thank me again .if you want to use the word
    tuition(s) – as in a plural..than the proper english is “become” not becomes – and vice versa – i would’nt give a crap about one’s writing skills on KMB -whic for the most part are
    pathetic- but since you are a teacher ( a horrifying thought as it is ) i thought i let you know , should you , by virtue of some totally
    stupid inspiration , decide to teach again .

    love as always
    Vader , the Dark Sith

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