Private Tuition and the State of Schools

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One of the most challenging aspects of school is attaining high grades. But it gets so much more challenging when fellow students break the system and go to private tuition en masse to survive school because apparently adequate support isn’t provided to them in school. I went to an English medium school, where the medium of instruction + learning was entirely in the English Language. All we kids ever did was speak English in school, during school hours – in fact, if I remember correctly, communicating in Bengali in school premises was expressively not allowed. I think this system with private tuition that England fosters is highly unfair. I know even all my mates survived it, with sheer difficulty – it certainly was no piece of cake.

I still managed to put in my best effort and did things so many kids couldn’t – like getting conditional offers for Mechanical Engineering from six top UK universities, in the face of stiff local/global competition. There are only a couple of seats in each university for each subject, and thousands of children around the world, who annually strive to make it to top British universities – so, if I do the math, my head freezes over how I managed to do it.

Back in school, though, I found it impossible to cope with private tuition, post six hours of schooling, five days a week, because I also needed the weekend and school after hours to be just a kid and spend doing things more than just simply learning. Going to private tuition for me was the rarest episode because I would learn in the traditional method of going to school and coming back and working on my homework and spending plenty of hours learning for weekly tests for various subjects, as well.

I studied in one of the highest learning systems in the world, for schools, because it was an English system – naturally, if I always went to English medium schools, one after another, that’s what it would always be like. I would even get private tuition because I needed ‘extra help’ with some subjects in school, since I couldn’t understand one word of what a few of the teachers would teach in a few of the subjects, and there was no end in sight for it, after surviving school five years (from ‘Year I’ onwards), in the natural method.

I have the worst memories of having to incorporate learning in the afternoons and evening, as well. I just couldn’t mould myself the way so many others had because after five years of following the traditional learning method of ‘go to school and come back home and spend afternoons sleeping + evenings studying’, I was under the impression that, that was school was all about. And it really is: it’s the correct idea of schooling in England, and because I went to an English medium school, naturally my school was no different (at all) – everything was just the same. How could I expect anything else from what a school is and what it’s supposed to be?

I don’t understand how a kid who gets private tuition for each and every subject in school still manages to fit in time for playing, sleeping appropriately, spending time with friends or even watching the television regularly. As a kid, I know, it can do things to your morale – I know I felt it, when I saw en masse, so many kids come out with tonnes of A grades (metaphorically, speaking – they would top each year, as in come out first etc.) after practically spending all their after school hours studying in the unregulated system of ‘private tuition’. How a person wants to rise in the education system at university and not opt to drop out, following that experience, is something I will never understand because when I was in school, England sure didn’t care about the state of schools.