10 ‘guarantees’ given by tuition centres that should be questioned

Published: May 18, 2015
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Pakistan is witnessing the evolution of private schools along with the mushrooming of evening tuition academies.

Pakistan is witnessing the evolution of private schools along with the mushrooming of evening tuition academies. They manage to fascinate parents with an extravagant jingle and it has become the biggest educational discotheque where parents gamble, over-invest and most of the times, the results are not quite as anticipated.

They all claim to achieve results and they all have different, ‘effective’ methods to help your child ace their way. But how is a parent supposed to know? Are they just supposed to go by their ‘claim’?

Here are 10 ‘guarantees’ given by every tutor or tuition centre which must be questioned before any parent jumps on the tuition bandwagon:

1. We offer a crash course

What do you mean by that?

Are you going to cover the complete syllabus in a month?

What factor will lead you to gauge the student’s understanding?

What is the requirement for this ‘crash course’ or is it simply your fee?

Is this course equally effective for a weak student as compared to a student who performs well?

2. We give individual attention

We are looking for that, but what is the class strength?

Have you hired assistant teachers?

How will you give individual attention if your class has 70 students?

Do you mean to answer every question put forth by every student, everyday?

What plan do you have for working with weaker students?

3. Be part of an encouraging learning environment

Yes, we have heard a lot about it but what do you mean by it?

How do you make sure the environment remains this way?

Do you have enough physical space and support to make it conducive or do you simply consider a quiet class as conducive?

4. We have differentiated classrooms

It’s a new idea but do you have different teaching material for every topic?

How have you changed the material to encompass the needs of the students?

Do you vary between your teaching techniques or simply opt for monotonous lecturing?

Do you assess your students regularly and if so, are the assessments varied and will you tell us how?

5. We do formative assessment

Can you tell us how you designed this formative assessment?

What do you actually mean by that? Do you offer this assessment for every topic? How frequently do you use it?

Do you assess it according to a certain criteria or simply see the marking scheme of the summative assessment?

6. We give regular feedback

Wonderful, we want to remain in the picture but will you give us feedback on a regular basis and will your feedback be brief and not helpful, such as ‘work hard, solve more questions, read books, revise notes’.

Can you tell your students to what extent they need to work on and in which area?

Do you simply deduct marks for the wrong answer or further explain how to rectify the problem?

7. We produce ‘A-graders’

That’s great, we are really tempted. Can you tell us the total number of students and how many of them got As?

Can you provide evidence proving a poor student received an A grade under your tutelage?

How many A-graders are already good performers from before?

Why did the others not perform well? Were they weak? Did you inform their parents or did you realise this fact after the results?

8. We have the best faculty

Are they also teaching at a school? If so, why are their students attending their tuitions as well?

What is the best aspect of your faculty? Do they simply cover the syllabus, focus on past papers and discuss techniques regarding solving questions?

Do your faculty members only rely on marking schemes or do they promote critical thinking as well? How are they are different from the others?

9. Frequent interaction with parents

Great, we are actually looking for this. Will you call us on a regular basis?

Will we have a two-way communication regarding our child’s improvement or will we listen to your feedback only?

Will you always find fault in our child or will you ask for our critical feedback about yourself as well?

10. We guarantee excellent results

Wonderful! We’ve come to the right place. What will you do if our child could not perform that day due to some domestic problem?

What if he tried everything and even then he could not perform well? Will you give us a refund?

In this situation, where the education sector has arisen as the most lucrative business while enjoying a non-taxable source of income for academies, parents need to be very vigilant and instead of over-investing, they should take schools on board and share their concerns with them. With better understanding, we can help improve the upcoming generations.

Umair Qureshi

Umair Qureshi

Umair Qureshi is an educationist and works as social reformer to shift the paradigm from "Aimless literacy" to "Meaningful Transfer". He is currently teaching at Beaconhouse School as a Physics teacher.

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