Private tuitions by school teachers
Created by Vidya Sagar Pancholi on Mon, 2011-07-25 16:16
Realising the importance of education in overall development of the Nation, Govt. of India has made right to free and compulsory education for children within 6-14 years of age (RTE Act), a fundamental right. However, a critical analysis of various clauses mentioned under the RTE Act of 2009, would reveal the inherent difficulties in achieving those clauses. For instance one of the clauses within the act mentions that “no teacher shall engage himself or herself in private tuition or private teaching activity” (RTE Act 2009, 8). An account of private supplementary education (private tuitions) reveals that as many as 70% of students receives private tuition in urban India (PROBE report 1999). In rural India alone, there are 26% students between the ages of 6 and 14 (ASER 2010) receiving some form of tuition supplementing mainstream education. Although it is hard to pin down the percentage of students getting private tuitions by mainstream teachers, however even if it were considered to be half of the total sum, the numbers are massive.
While private supplementary tutoring or ‘shadow education’- as many researchers say, may have positive consequences, e.g. in improving students’ learning, providing constructive activities for pupils during out of school hours, and providing income and employment for tutors, studies shows that it has negative consequences too. It can distort mainstream curricula, it can create pressure on young pupils, it can exacerbate social inequalities and lastly, there are possibilities of manipulation of clients by tutors, especially in situations where mainstream teachers provide paid supplementary tutoring for their own mainstream pupils. In many cases, it has been found that teachers have complete control on whether a student fails an exam or passes it (except in examinations conducted by a board). Therefore, teachers exploit this fact to their advantage by forcing students to take tuition from them. Further, to some extent, parents favour to invest on private tutoring for their wards hoping they will perform better and have an edge over others.
However, even if demerits are high in the shadow education system, the idea of banning tutors is a bit like trying to eliminate robbery by ensuring that the entire population is poor. Further, even if restricting mainstream tutors is what RTE talks about, the challenge is how to restrict them? Should states come out with individual framework? What would be school administration’s role in such a case? What is that local authorities would be doing? There could be long list of questions without straightforward answers!