Schools offering international boards such the International Baccalaureate (IB), the A-levels and the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) have only recently become well-entrenched in the city, but a cottage industry in coaching classes and private tuitions catering to these exams is already burgeoning.
An investigation by Hindustan Times revealed that the coaching phenomenon is now in danger of getting well-entrenched.
The 10 students and four parents from seven of the city’s international schools and seven tutors that this newspaper interviewed said the number of students taking tuitions is growing every year.
“I have seen a 100 per cent increase in international school students who come for tuitions in the last two years,” said Anil Kanthe of Venus Overseas Education, which offers coaching.
Students and teachers at these schools are eager to point out that the international board tuition segment pales in comparison to the ICSE/ CBSE/ SSC coaching industry.
But many people find it galling that coaching has expanded to international boards because they are, at least on paper, more child-friendly, depend less on drilling and rote, and require schools offering them to have low student-teacher ratios.
Yet parents are spending Rs 10,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh a year for private tutoring, on top of the between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 6 lakh a year they pay in fees to these schools. Maths, physics, economics and French are the most commonly tutored subjects.
Schools say they discourage tuitions and are willing to offer help to weak students.
“Certain parents are insecure — they feel they owe it to their child, and they aren’t doing their job as parents if they don’t send them,” said Farzana Dohadwalla, IB South Asia spokesperson, dismissing the trend as a fad.
Tutors blame the schools, saying many have started up before ensuring all their staff is qualified.
“There is a tremendous shortage of quality teachers, which is why students find it tough,” said Anil Kanthe of Venus Overseas Education.
And teachers themselves might stoke demand by giving tuitions on the side. “You can’t grasp everything in school,” said one who refused to reveal his identity.
Parents, meanwhile, partly blame the schools. “The school doesn’t allow tuitions but then they also put so much pressure on the children to get good grades,” said a parent. Her class 12 son has been taking Maths tuitions since class nine.
Finally, students also come in for criticism.
“Sometimes students who come from an ICSE or CBSE background are just used to taking tuitions,” said Aparna Mirchandani, from Podar International School.
For those used to being spoon-fed and having teachers chase them up, private tutors do what school teachers in these international schools do not.
As each group blames the other, the phenomenon continues to grow.