Tuition fees breaking the bank

With tution fees becoming the inseparable part of education system today, parents are forced to pay exorbitant amounts for private coaching.

October 27, 2015 07:44 am | Updated 07:44 am IST - CHENNAI:

Illustration: Satwik Gade

Illustration: Satwik Gade

Once upon a time, the last bell at school was a sign that it was time to pack up your bags and head out to play. Now, the same school bell is just an indication that students have to rush from school to their tuition centres, a school away from school.

At a time when parents are protesting against schools charging fees that are higher than that prescribed by the fee-fixation committee, they are often forced to pay an even higher fee for tuition centres, especially for higher classes.

“It is virtually impossible for students to avoid tuitions. For, they have come to be viewed as a necessity for schoolchildren, cutting across social classes. While schools have been forced to reduce their fees, tuition centres get what they demand since there are no rules for fixing their fees. Parents are often happy paying the fees fixed by these centres,” a Principal of a school in Velachery said.

Parents, however, feel they are justified in paying high fees for tuitions because they believe that teaching at these centres is often better than in schools.

“I pay around Rs. 3,000 a month for mathematics for my daughter who is in Class IV, but I can see the difference in her performance,” Naveen Karthik, a resident of Pallavakam said, adding that he pays around Rs.5,500 a month for tuitions in mathematics, Hindi and science, whereas his daughter’s school fees works out to around Rs.40,000 per year.

The fee for tuitions depends on the class, board, and the kind of amenities that the tuition centres provide. “Earlier, people would simply sit under a shamiana on someone’s terrace, but now people want air-conditioned classrooms. Some tuition centres even offer PowerPoint presentations for their students to help them learn better. Obviously, the more amenities there are, the more you will pay, but many of us think the investment is worth it,” said V. Sushila, a parent of a Class X student, who pays Rs.90,000 a year for tuitions for her son.

For many parents, tuitions have become a way to ensure that their children spend an appropriate amount of time studying. M. Ramya, whose son is in Class V says she sends her son for Hindi and Mathematics tuitions because both she and her husband are at work through the day and cannot ensure her son studies. “Although it costs me a lot of money for the tuitions, I feel it is a necessary investment,” she said.

She spends around Rs. 8,000 a month for tuitions.

According to S. Vidya from Srinivasa Academy, tuition centres need to contend with a number of overheads, including the trainer’s salary, and even electricity bills. The academy charges around Rs.5,000 per subject and is aimed at students from the middle- and lower-middle- income families. “Even with lower fees, often parents will end up paying at least as much as the school fees for tuitions. Depending on the area where the centre is located, and the kind of infrastructure, the fee for tuitions will vary,” she said.

And then, with increasing competition, even students who perform very well in school need extra coaching.

“Mathematics, physics, chemistry and accounting are a major concern for students studying in CBSE schools. Often schools cannot help students solve every problem in the book, which means they rely on these special classes,” she added.

Tuition centres and tutors are under a lot of pressure, especially for higher classes. “We need to finish the lessons before November and also conduct tests in December and January. Even in case of an emergency, tutors are not allowed to take leave, and we need to make sure that we complete a subject with around two or three classes a week,” V. Shanthi, who tutors students at her house in Adyar, said.

CBSE Maths, Physics and Chemistry (all classes): Up to Rs.20,000 per month for the three subjects. Some individual tutors even charge per class, with rates of up to Rs. 5,000 per class

Class X tuitions (State board, all subjects): Up to Rs. 1,50,000 for a year

Maths tuitions across classes (All boards): Depending on the class and the location, tuition fees can be as high as Rs.10,000 a month

Chemistry tuitions for classes XI and XII (State Board): Can go up to Rs. 5,000 per subject

Class IX tuitions: Some centres even charge up to Rs.8,000 per month

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