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Pupil in US, math teacher in Kochi

AFTER CUSTOMER support, medical transcription, reading x-rays and preparing tax returns, Indian hands are proving to be exceedingly popular in another cross-continental online avocation: helping American children with math and science.

india Updated: May 16, 2006 14:42 IST

AFTER CUSTOMER support, medical transcription, reading x-rays and preparing tax returns, Indian hands are proving to be exceedingly popular in another cross-continental online avocation: helping American children with math and science.

What started rather tentatively a couple of years ago has been gathering steam lately with more American school-goers opting for personal tutoring to boost their grades and SAT scores. And it only helps their parents that the Indian online tutors come cheaper -- at $18-20 an hour. Domestic alternatives cost $80-125 an hour.

Growing Stars Inc., based in Fremont, California, is among the pioneers to tap Indians in online tutoring. It now boasts of 400-odd students. Helping them battle complex formulas and equations are some 50 teachers based in Kochi.

It is the brainchild of an Indian software engineer, Biju Mathew, who could not afford tutors for his two children. Mathew teamed up with a friend based in New Jersey, Saji Philip, to start the Growing Stars operation in January 2004 for students in Grades 3 to 12. Over the past one year, the venture has started coming into its own.

Another Indian-run show is the Chicago-based Studyloft.com — for college students. According to founder Bikram Roy, this 24/7 service connects students with qualified eTutors in real time from the privacy of their dorms.