Perhaps the demand for Private Tuition in SW19 will always stay steady – never very high, never dipping much – but elsewhere in London education professionals are queuing up to express disapproval of the tutoring phenomenon. The tut-tutting has gone national, too.
Here in the United Kingdon there is an outcry about the social injustice of private tuition. Yet the truth is, this is a truly global issue.
Market research firm Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (GIA) released a study this week stating that the global private tutoring market will be over $102.8 billion by 2018. According to GIA, the private tutoring market is “Driven by the failure of standard education systems to cater to the unique needs of students, combined with growing parental desire to secure the best possible education for their children in a highly competitive global economy.”
Levelling the Playing Field
In the UK, wherever there are Grammar Schools, (there aren’t any in Merton, but Private Tuition is still popular) the same story has emerged. Those who most succeed came from private schools and/or tutors. Now the government is pushing to level the 11 plus playing field by “Tutor Proofing” the exam. They want to replace knowledge-based questions with the kind of problems that coaching can’t reach – questions that test the raw ability a child has been born with, not the knowledge or skills that they gain from a middle class home. Independent schools are also disapproving. All concerned feel that the less well-off kids are lagging behind in the races for places. Worst of all, our society is the biggest loser, because brains and potential are going unrecognized.
Is it Fair?
You can easily see why they are worried. It just isn’t fair for one child to have this extra edge in the competition for the best free education. Espcially since many believe it will secure lifelong advantages.State Primary Schools aren’t supposed to teach for the test. So a review undertaken in Kent, -where 11,600 pupils took the 11 plus – has been “looking for a test that was less coachable than the current one.” In some parts of the world where kids may not read and write, IQ tests are totally non-verbal – just pictures.
While the headmaster of a super-selective” boys’ school in the county admitted that pupils had to score 418 out of a possible 420 to win a place this year. Robert Masters confirms that ever-rising pass marks reflect the growth of the “coaching culture” rather than pupils’ intelligence or an increase in applications. “This is a real concern for all the grammar schools in the area,” he has said.
Tutors have their own perspective. We suspect that ANY kind of test can be coached and practised in advance. We also know that parents of children in those parts of the borough where exam results are lowest are often the ones willing to invest in their own little bit of private education. What tutors (Especially Judy E!) feel really bad about is pushing a sleepy child through yet another evening hour of extra work. Just after the Maths tutor left.
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