Welcome to Reason: Is there a place for live-in tutors in India?

The crackdown on tutoring in China has roiled the shares of tutoring companies traded in Hong Kong and New York
Pic: Edex Live
Pic: Edex Live

“When I was growing up, my parents told me, 'Finish your dinner. People in China and India are starving.' I tell my daughters (now), 'Finish your homework. People in India and China are starving for your job.'”  - Thomas Friedman (b.1953), an American political commentator and author – a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner.

Homework has become pivotal to school/college-going youngsters today. It is apt to start (and end) this topic from India’s gurukula system of education which has been in existence since ancient times. The Upanishads (1000-800 BCE) mention multiple gurukulam, including that of guru Drona at Gurgaon.

In modern times the students have to go to the tutor and a whole town, Kota in Rajasthan, has emerged as the coaching capital of India. The COVID pandemic added another dimension of on-line teaching and learning. The latest is corporatisation of education as reflected in the following report (10/9/21).

India’s most valuable startup, the online education provider Byju’s, is in talks to raise between $400 million to $600 million and then accelerate plans for an initial public offering next year. The Bangalore-headquartered company could close the pre- IPO fundraising in a few weeks at a valuation of about $21 billion. Byju’s is led by a former teacher Byju Raveendran.  

A report by Reuters (8/9/21) says the following on the subject.  

China banned private tutors from giving classes online or in unregistered venues such as residential buildings, hotels and coffee shops, ramping up its effort to stamp out all for-profit tutoring.

Authorities banned for-profit tutoring in subjects on the school curriculum in an effort to ease pressure on children and parents. A competitive higher education system has made tutoring services popular with parents but the government has sought to reduce the cost of child-rearing in an effort to nudge up a lagging birthrate.

Media has reported on various ways parents and tutors have been trying to circumvent the rules, including how some agencies were advertising “ live-in tutors” who could command salaries of up to 30,000 yuan ($4,650) a month. The crackdown on tutoring has roiled the shares of tutoring companies traded in Hong Kong and New York.  

The ministry said attempts to evade the regulations include hiring private tutors in the guise of "housekeeping services", "cultural communication" or "live-in tutors" as well as conducting classes in the name of summer camps or study tours.  

In India’s case, it would be reverse of its centuries-old Gurukul heritage. To conclude, if China is set for “Live-in Teachers”, can India be far behind?

The subject is open to many views. What are yours?

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