After-school tuition: supplementary or mandatory?
WORLD / Opinion – The after-school tuition (or private tutoring) industry is booming.
In 2012, Forbes quoted a GIA report on the burgeoning of the global private tutoring market. It was projected to exceed $102.8 billion by 2018. The U.S., Europe and Asia Pacific (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea) made up 90% of the global private tutoring market in the report.
Are full-time schools not enough?
The main reasons cited by the report for the meteoric growth of the private tutoring industry were:
- the unique needs of individual students that the education system cannot cater to, and
- the growing desire for parents to equip the best education for their child in the global economy today.
In other words, schools are not good enough to help every child shine. Private tutoring will give each child the best possible chance to get good grades and secure a better, more comfortable future – this is what the parents are banking on. It is only right to give your child the best you can.
The Telegraph reported in 2012 that parents in the UK spend 6-billion pounds (USD 10.2bn) a year on private tuition, “with many saying it is a necessity they can barely afford”. In 2013, the BBC reported that US parents are now spending USD$7 billion a year on private tutoring and Koreans a whopping 14 billion won (USD 13bn). This was probably not new to Japan – Mastercard quoted the ADB report stating japanese families “spent US$12 billion in 2010 on private tutoring.”
In Singapore, former Member of Parliament Janice Koh mentioned in 2008 that “(Singapore) households spent S$820 million (USD$640mln) on tuition, double the figure in 1998.” Super tutors such as Mr Phang Yu Hon earned more than SGD$500,000 (USD$400,000) after taxes as a private tutor in 2009. “Rockstar” tuition teacher Kim Ki-hoon earned USD$4 million a year. New-Yorker and Princeton-educated Mr Bardin told The Financial Times he charges $600 an hour or $900 for 90 minutes.
Great news for private tutors and education businesses
With private tutoring industry now becoming a shadow education system, this is great news for effective education businesses and private tutors who can help grow their students academically. Everyone wants good grades – why would anyone settle for mediocrity after paying an arm in tuition fees?
The individual attention private tutoring offers students also help them grow in character – gaining confidence as they understand the academic concepts taught.
In Singapore, even though its Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah stated in Parliament in 2013 that “our education system is run on the basis that tuition is not necessary”, the fact that one of its largest telco wants a slice of the pie indicates the opposite is closer to reality.
In China, CNN stated “China’s private education sector — which includes after-school tutoring, test-prep, private universities, pre-school education, and continuing education — will reach a market size of $102 billion by 2015. English-language training alone has reached a market size of $4.8 billion.”
Continued growth almost certain
The private tutoring business attracts everyone involved. Parents want children to do better in school. Mature students want to get better grades while the ones not interested in more studying have no say in the matter anyway. Tutors with teaching experience and track record can make more money and impact individual students better in smaller groups.
What’s there holding the industry from booming even further, then?
Will all our children be expected to have after-school tuition one day?