Tuition Mania: A Paradox


Education, in developing countries, is widely understood to be the key determinant of individual productivity and wide economic growth. In the present scenario of globalization and hyper mobility, the demand for “quality” has created an intense pressure on almost every sector and the educationsector is no exception.

Over the years, thespirit of competition amongst students has increased intensely. The exacerbation in the competition has been due to the mismatch between the number of aspirants and number of seats available at levels of the academic ladder and the job opportunities associated with them. Parents, in this competitive environment, are eager to go to any extent to facilitate “quality” educationfor their children, “A means of retaining a relative advantage for their children inthe educational race”. Thereby, necessitating and paving a way for private tuitions. Students termed “weak”, “average” and“bright”have taken recourse from private tuitions for varied reasons encompassing educational, social &psychological aspects. As an extension of a growingglobalphenomenon, tuition centers have successfully found ground in Kashmir. The tutoring industry has become an expanding source of employment as well as a way for many mainstream teachers to earn supplementary incomes.Consequently,it has also baited individuals from other sectors to contribute and incentivize, particularly,bureaucrats, doctors andengineers, generally for economicreasons. Presently,tuitionsare much less about pupils who are in real need of help and has become more about maintaining the competitive advantage of the already successful and privileged. It also represents a significant financial investment byfamilies for their children, thus plummeting the opportunities for the poorer section who actually need it.

The reasons for rising demands of private tuitions vary from an ineffective teaching and learning process in Government Schools to the demand for placements in prestigious colleges and institutions, peer pressure, and the negligence by the Government towards their responsibilities in the education sector,and hartals and curfews restricting school timings. All the above advocate the necessity for privatetuitions. At its outset it had paved a way for development and emancipation of society, but in the long run, privatization led to the menace of ‘commoditization of education’. Education is now treated as an article of trade, a commercial transaction . Itis now no more a public good,but a commodity to be traded in a market with subtle ways ofexploiting the customers – the student community. Private tuitions abide by the rules of customer efficiency and satisfaction. Private tutors provide the care but withdraw their concern. The encroachment of market mentality into the education sector has frayed the moral fabric of education. It has configured a student as a consumer rather than a character to build. It overlooks the value of intellectual challenges and exploration by reducing knowledge to specific oriented results. Most importantly the amoral marketplace contrasts with the ethics of mutual care and degrades the socio-moral fabric of community thus contrasting with the moral acumen of education.

Hence it is high time for the stakeholders to stipulate concerns about education before it mashes with the doctrine of a well developed economic enterprise by reducing the value of a very coveted and respectable profession. Therefore emphasizing the need of introspection and preserving the holistic and altruistic nature of education.

Faizaul Haq

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