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Saturday, January 8, 2011
It was a wonderful Tuesday morning. Year 4 students had mathematics in the first two periods. After explaining the lesson, it was the time for them to practise. While they were busy with the questions in the book, I called one by one to mark the homework I gave on the previous day. The first student brought the book to me; I marked it and the second one and then the third followed it.
The fourth student I called was a bit hesitant to come; he tried his best to avoid the marking. After a little shout, I managed to make him bring his book. I turned the pages quickly several times, and yet could not find any homework there.
“Where’s the homework?” I raised my voice.
“I couldn’t do it,” he answered in a low voice.
“Why?” Now the whole class had stopped work and looked at this drama.
“I had a tuition class, so I got late to come home.” The reply made me furious.
“What’s your priority, tuition work, or school? You go for tuition to support your school work, right?” I asked. “That’s not an excuse to miss your home work,” I added. “Miss, I will bring the completed homework on Thursday,” the boy replied.
“Why can’t you bring it tomorrow?” I was puzzled.
“No, Miss. I have tuition today too. Therefore, I do not have time to do it. Tomorrow I do not have tuition. So, I definitely can complete my homework,” he replied.
After the incident, I ordered the class to raise their hands if they have not done their homework. Few tiny hands were in the air. When I queried the reason, it was the same - I had classes.
Nowadays going for extra classes has become the trend. From kindergarten to Advanced Level, sometimes at the university too, students go for extra classes. With the competition in the country, one might ask how can we survive without going for tuition? In a way that is reasonable. When a student is in Grade 5, he/she is in a race to score the highest marks. When a student is in Grade 11, then he/she is in a race to get the most number of As. The funny thing in Advanced Levels is, that getting three As is not the trend, what everybody needs is the highest Z score.
There is a good side of this competition too. It gives a push to those who can really do well. However, there should be a limit to it. A child who is talented in other things rather than studies will suffer a lot by this pressure. Sending for tuition will not improve his studies, because his talents are different. He might end up losing both sides. This is a pathetic situation.
In every stage in school life, students have become competitors of this big race. In this race not only students, even their parents and teachers also take part. Along with the students, they also work hard. Parents take their children for tuition all over the country and any time of the day. However, do those little ones have time to relax or even study what they learnt at the classes? They miss their childhood.
In my opinion, tuition classes do play at least a little role in spoiling children. If you pass a town at a time when usually classes are over, you will understand what I mean. Children are all over the road, shouting and teasing one another, it is a total mess. Sometimes passers-by also become victims of the pranks played by these students. Children are always on the lookout for some freedom to do whatever they desire.
Naturally, they tend to abuse the freedom they get in these classes. Moreover, the aggressive marketing campaigns of these tuition stores have been ruining public property with posters and whatnot. Education is not just about subject matter. It is a much wider paradigm, which should touch all other aspects of a child’s life.
Whatever said and done, students will go for tuition forever. With the current education system that is something very difficult to change.
However, there should be a limit. If the purpose of going for extra classes is to get some help for schoolwork, the school should always get the priority.
Children should have some time to play and enjoy their freedom. Burdening them with loads of tuition classes will never bring the result you expect.