In 1990, my father was at the principal’s office in an Indian school in Dubai. He sat there as a representative of those parents who couldn’t send their children for private tuitions outside schools. He was desperately trying to make the principal understand the ethical flaw that was going on in the education system where the same teacher who held a class in the school, also gave private tuitions later to some of the same students and those students scored the highest in the said subject.
In 2012, I had to face a similar situation in my daughter’s school. She kept getting low marks in a subject when I refused to send her for private tuitions to the teacher who taught that subject at school. I approached the principal of the school, I realised that the students who went for private tuitions were being given questions and answers to practise on and those same questions were tested during the examination at school. I couldn’t stand the moral degrading of the education system and the fact that the students openly discussed such a faultless method where you paid extra to a teacher to pass in an examination! I, as an educationist, couldn’t stand that and I thought I would change it by getting the principal aware of it. Well, the end result was that nothing positive actually came out of it because the school supposedly couldn’t afford to lose an experienced teacher. Even though she had her private affairs to make some extra money, this was obviously not the school’s problem, I was told. On the contrary, my daughter started getting targeted for each and every fault that was not hers at school. Until she left the school, the school and some teachers always gave her nightmares. She even requested me once not to interfere with her school and teachers anymore as she felt she was being alienated.
Today a friend of mine happened to discuss a similar issue faced by her daughter. She is not able to attend private tuitions given by the teacher as she is located far away and her parents don’t see a reason as to why she has to attend private tuitions when the same teachers are teaching the same subject in the school where she pays a handsome amount in tuition fees.
Now that the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) inspections and similar efforts are being done by the Ministry of Education to raise the standard of education in the UAE, I think it is high time the system called ‘private tuitions’ are brought to a naught! Why do we need private tutoring when schools are the places of study? It is a shame when students and parents have to go through these kinds of trials regularly in schooling years.
- The reader is a homemaker based in Dubai.