Teachers & Private Tuition – Betterment or Blackmail in Kuwait?

Teachers are the unsung heroes of our lives. They are there from the start of our educational journey as the vanguards of the new generation, instilling in them a lot more than they are paid for in terms of life lessons and academia.

There is however a point where the scale tips and teachers go from bettering students to bettering themselves.

The Minister of Education in Kuwait has vowed to dismiss all teachers found to be giving private tuition in their spare time as a way to deter this phenomena from occurring (link).

Private Tuition

Why?

It should come as no surprise that economies around the world are not doing so well. Living costs are rising at a much higher rate than average incomes, forcing new parents to feel a tight pinch when it comes to education, which is every child’s god given right.

Now, given the rising costs, which affect everyone, institutions and persons alike, everyone seeks to better their income someway. Schools do so by hiking up their tuition fees to astronomical rates, as well as pressuring teachers by putting more heads in classes in order to garner even more money.

down down merry go round

A teacher is paid to do their job, which is to teach. Now they have a growing class and of course there will be instances where students in those classes will feel neglected or lack attention.

The other more nefarious side of the coin however, which begot the MoE’s ban on private tuition, is that teachers willingly do not teach in class, dropping hints to students that if they wish to learn, they should sign up for private tuition. Which, going back to the first point of supplementing income, is their means of coping with the rising cost of living.

more often than not, teachers end up making more from private tuition than they do from their actual job.

Unlike other professions, moonlighting as a teacher is easy. You do your same exact job except with a much smaller audience. All other variables remain the same.

This is a serious cause for concern because of the following reasons:

1) Lack of yard stick in class to measure the teachers progress with their wards; the students.

2) Ready availability of customers (in the form of students) for the teacher to supplement their income through.

3) Ready availability of material for the teacher to use in private.

Private tuition is such a lucrative market that some teachers even have waiting lists!

raking it in

As a former student of the system in Kuwait, our teachers encouraged us to take tuition with other teachers in order to go through the syllabus quicker. That being said, not all tuition is given with the profit motive as the driving factor; I had one Geography teacher, Mr. Ian Irving (God bless him wherever he is) who initially gave me one tuition, at a lower rate than the rest of his compatriots, only to ask me instead to visit his class during a double study period I had, thereby saving me the money as well as educating me in a class environment.

I only took tuition when I was preparing for my IGCSE’s, nowadays however, tuition is rampant in the earlier years, begetting the question of what exactly is being taught in class.

Private tuition becomes an issue when the teacher fails their duty to teach in class; which is their job for which they are paid, in order to force parents to book private lessons for their children should they hope for them to succeed.

And that is the worst type of blackmail there is, bartering with a child’s future and their education to supplement their income.

blackmail

Of course nothing is definitively black or white, and every case is undoubtedly different and complex and not clear cut. However, the issue of private tuition is something that requires more analysis.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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