Private tutoring is here to stay

Each student differs from the other in terms of caliber, ability and comprehension, and the existing education system is ill equipped to offer the required individual attention. As a result, tutoring has assumed enormous significance because it provides an individual, innovative and personal education atmosphere to students, writes Irene Nayebare
 Children with their teacher at Kigali Professional Tutors. Education Times/Courtesy
Children with their teacher at Kigali Professional Tutors. Education Times/Courtesy

Each student differs from the other in terms of caliber, ability and comprehension, and the existing education system is ill equipped to offer the required individual attention. As a result, tutoring has assumed enormous significance because it provides an individual, innovative and personal education atmosphere to students, writes Irene Nayebare

TUTORING IS A KEY constituent of today’s education system. The system’s growth is primarily attributed to the inability of a standard education system that addresses the unique needs of each student.

Each student differs from the other in terms of caliber, ability and comprehension and the existing education system is ill equipped to offer the required individual attention. As a result, tutoring has assumed enormous significance because it provides an individual, innovative and personal education atmosphere to students.

Whatever its name and nature – classroom coaching, home tuitions, online classes or study material sourcing; they are a choice many are reverting to increasingly. Parents prefer that their children are prepared for their national exams and will revert to searching for extra lessons for their children.

“My daughter is in P6 at Kigali Parents School. I have absolute faith in their teaching, but I want to contribute to my daughter’s passing too. I have to. That is what true parent- teacher relationship means. So I decided to get her a private tutor in addition to the classes at school. I can honestly say he knows what he is doing.” Migambi Paul, a parent in Kanombe says.

Biology, Mathematics, even creative fields like art, where you would think coaching would be of little use, are subjects where the demand for private tuition is increasing.

“We do not want to be just good at the subject, we want to be perfect enough so that when the national examinations come around, we are perfect in each and every area of the subjects we are doing,” says a student who preferred anonymity.

Why has the demand for private tuition increased?

Demand for private tuition is driven by the fact that competitive entrance examinations are critical for gaining admission into leading secondary schools as well as good tertiary institutions.

Grace Rojo, studying Mathematics Chemistry and Biology at Lycee de Kigali says that since the school she is studying at is one of the best, it is important for one to get extra coaching in order to keep up with other top performers in school.  

There are many advantages of private tuition, some of which include a hustle free studying environment. A classroom environment is annoying especially for those students who are introverted thus tuition provides an environment where the student does not have to fear to talk to the teacher as they are one on one.

Caroline Odero from Kigali Professional Tutors located in Kimihurura says that a quiet, introverted child who fears to raise their hand in class will find private tuition liberating since there are no other students for him/her to fear. Such a student will be encouraged to open up more in such private situations.

One other advantage of having home tuition is that it gives a good chance of reinforcing the new topics learned earlier from school. It also gives a good chance of clarity when it comes to difficult topics or subjects. Here a student has individual attention from a teacher as opposed to a class of over 40 where the teacher is more concerned with finishing the syllabus on time.

On regulation, Janvier Gasana, the Deputy Director General in charge of Quality and Standards at the Rwanda Education Board says, “The government recognises internal arrangements within schools to help students who need extra studies. Private tuition does not need any regulations from REB. We are also parents; we understand the need for extra studies for children. We understand that each child has a special way of studying.”

However, tuition can sometimes be too costly. For instance, one subject may cost more than fifty thousand francs per month in some cases. So if a student decides to take six subjects, he will probably have to pay around three hundred thousand francs per month. This additional expense is a burden that leaves out poor children who cannot afford such amounts.

Umuhoza Francoise, a student at Kigali Institute of Education in Education studies says private tuition is a waste of time.

 “This is a waste of time because the child learns almost the same things that are taught at school. This can lead to reinforced learning according to some people, but the truth is that the child is simply wasting the time when the child could have studied or learnt something useful in that time” she says.

She goes on to argue that the entire aim of education is to have an independently thinking individual.

“The best children are the ones who are self-made. If the child goes for tuition, there is no time for self study and it is as if the child is being spoon fed all through the education. This can lead to deprivation of the chance for the child to be a self made person who is an independent thinker,” she adds.

 

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