School teachers Vs Private tutors

NINGTHOUJAM SABITA

Why do most parents send their young children to private tutors or hire private tutors as soon as they start attending school? Do they feel that the teachers at school do not teach them properly or their children are weak in their studies and need special attention from home tutors? If they are weak in a particular subject(s) is it not the responsibility of their school teachers to take care of them? What makes the parents feel that their children need private tutors?

There is nothing new or strange about parents hiring private tutors to help their children with their studies as they reach secondary or senior secondary level which parents consider a critical stage in their children’s career. And there is also nothing strange about mushrooming of private coaching centres which promise best teachers for each and every subject and excellent performance by all students attending them in both the secondary and senior secondary examinations. Every coaching centre looks overcrowded whether it is located in a crowded or an isolated area. Half-page or full-page advertisements will appear simultaneously in almost all the newspapers published in this state announcing the outstanding “performances” and “achievements” of these coaching centres in senior secondary examinations, JEE or NEET as soon as their results are declared. These results show that the coaching centres have many common students.

Take a leisurely drive in and around Imphal and you will find at least two or three big signboards of private tutors of particular subjects in each and every locality. You will often see the title “Sir” before the names of the tutors. Students of both private and government schools take their help and guidance. These private tutors more often than not are school or college teachers (both private and government) whose time is divided between tutoring and teaching. Can we blame them when the students as well as their parents insist on their help? The students spend more time with their tutors than with their school teachers.

Every right thinking person holds the prevailing situation to a large extent responsible for the deteriorating academic atmosphere both in schools and colleges in Manipur. But my question is why the present situation does not have an impact on private tuition. If the private tutors can continue with their tutoring the teachers should face little difficulties in continuing with their teaching at schools.

One of the main reasons why parents seek help from private tutors is they feel a teacher cannot pay due attention to each and every student in a classroom which normally has fifty or more students. They think a private tutor can only help their son or daughter with their lessons. Some of the private and government schools in Imphal have more students than their seating capacity while some government schools do not have even the least required number of students. Free books, exercise books, school uniforms and mid-day meals have failed to persuade the parents to send their children to government schools. Why do so many private schools flourish both in urban and rural areas while government schools fade away despite government’s efforts to improve them?

It is not the government schools alone which are gradually disappearing. The colleges are literally disappearing too. Why should colleges disappear when there is no dearth of students? Why should our students opt for colleges in other states of the country if the colleges in Manipur could offer what they need? It is not the children of the rich alone who are going outside the state for their studies. Even the children of the poor are going outside the state in search of their career options. What excuses can our government give?

The truth is those in the responsible position have not been successful in creating an academic atmosphere which is conducive to the growth of our society. It is not the law and order proble that is affecting the academic atmosphere in Manipur. The present situation calls for a serious examination by all concerned to understand the problems ailing the system.

Why should parents send their children who are regularly going to school to private tutors who are often their school teachers? Do they really believe that the future of their children is secured if they are given private tuition from an early age? When did this trend actually occur in Manipur? Manipur is not the only state of India where students go for private tuition. The trend is visible in other states too.
I too had a private tutor who also taught in my school when I was very young. He taught all the subjects to me, my sisters and cousins in the afternoons. I was too young to understand the benefit of the tuition. I wanted to play with my friends instead of sitting next to him trying to learn multiplication table by rote.

Parents become friends as they escort their children to tuition centres and wait for them or go for morning and evening walks together everyday discussing future plans for their sons and daughters after the twelfth class. They remain friends long after the tuitions were over and their children went outside Manipur looking for greener pastures.


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