With physical classes still closed, demand is up for home tutors for lower primary students

Hourly cost for personalised home tutoring now ranges from ₹300 to ₹600, depending on the teacher’s experience and subjects taught

Ever since the new academic year began, Indrani S., has been scouting for a private tutor to come to her house and teach her daughter who is in Class I. “My husband and I have to log in for work at least 8-10 hours a day, and we have no time to teach our daughter,” said Ms. Indrani, who realised that though her child was attending classes online, she was finding it difficult to grasp basic concepts. “So my husband and I have decided to hire a teacher who will come home and help my daughter in all the subjects,” she said.

With no decision on when lower primary school students can resume physical classes, an increasing number of parents are turning to private tutors. They are worried that their children’s learning outcomes will suffer as online classes are not enough to engage young minds.

The demand for teachers has increased tremendously in the last few months; so much so that some tutors have increased their rates almost four-fold since the previous academic year. The hourly cost for personalised home tutoring ranges from ₹300 to ₹600, depending on the subjects taught and the teacher’s work experience.

In many ways, this has come as a boon to teachers who were forced to take pay cuts or who lost their jobs during the pandemic. The demand for Kannada teachers, especially, has increased.

Madhavi K., who tutors students for Kannada, said she offers both private online classes as well as personal tutoring. “My online classes are similar to those conducted by the school, but there is only one student so he or she gets individual attention. It may be difficult for a child to learn in a class of 30,” she said.

Tooba S., another tutor, said that many parents have understood the need for private coaching as they realised that their child’s learning curve dipped in the last academic year. “Although I teach Class IV students, I have to start from the basics and cover concepts they studied in Class II, as students have forgotten what they learned before the pandemic. It’s challenging and therefore I have increased my hourly rates,” she said.

Many parents also feel that recruiting a home tutor is safe as it would minimise their child’s chances of contracting COVID-19. Girish Kumar, a software professional, said that he and his wife have decided not to allow their child to attend physical classes until he is vaccinated. “Even if schools reopen for lower classes, we will not send our son to school as we believe it is very difficult for children to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour,” he said.

Meanwhile, upper primary and high schools are gearing up to conduct offline classes after the State government decided to lift physical attendance restrictions and allow them operate in full capacity in districts which has less than 1% positivity rate.

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