We were inspired by this video from Privatisation in Education Research Initiative to think about our opinions on the culture of private tutoring in Cambodia. It’s very common in all the schools we work with.
There are some good things from private classes:
• Students can have more confidence on lessons that they’re not sure about. Most teachers complain that they can’t finish the government curriculum because the time that are given to them is very short.
• The system supports teachers for money – their normal salary is not enough for teachers for affording their lives.
• It is good to create the idea of investing in education. This means like children should invest more on their education, they have something to contribute to their own education so then they feel ownership.
• It is good bring students to focus more on education rather than use their time in the different way. For example, some students especially students who are in the rural area, they don’t like to create a group for discussing about their learning, they would use their time in the different way like going for walk, play game or fishing. If they do those thing everyday they would keep to that thing and it could lead them to forget about their learning.
However, there are some negative points about private classes as well:
• If the part time class become the culture that students need to do, it would affect to students who are poor especially from their rural area. They would feel like if they don’t study in the part time class their score would be lower than other students. They would feel like they want to quit from school because they might feel like they can’t even compete with their friend on their score so how can they compete for job in the future.
• Some teachers put pressure to students that they need to learn even if they don’t want to. Teachers don’t tell students directly they need to attend the private class but they will sometimes give a low score to students who do not attend the private class. They might also ignore those students in the government class. Occasionally teachers will just take the exercise that they already used in the private class to use as a monthly test so students who attend the private class can easily get a good score.
• Part time class could make the teachers pay less attention in the government class. They do not put much effort into their teaching time in the state class so this would make the government education getting lower and lower quality.
How can we improve this issue, for my personal idea I think:
• Ministry of Education Youth and Sport could consider again on the curriculum that were developed because teachers complain that they don’t have enough time to finish the curriculum.
• Ministry of Education Youth and Sport could try to investigate more and build more capacity in school principals at all levels. It is important to focus on leadership. If we compare one school to another school, teachers get the same salary – so why is one school better quality? Sometimes, teachers just complain on their salary, but if you ask them quit the job, will they quit? No they don’t. Let’s see how many people who apply for being teachers per year. Thousand people apply for that and they all have very high passion
• Ministry of Education Youth and Sport could build or put more pressure to the local authority to care more on education rather than ignore it. This means at each level for example, the village chief level should pay more attention to primary school, the commune level should focus more on junior high school level, district level should focus on high school level, and provincial level should focus on university or examination.
We share many of the concerns of PERI about the culture of private tutoring, and also the hope for change. It won’t be an overnight change but we’re confident that by working with young people, like Srey Pech in the video, they will appreciate the value of learning and the quality of education, not just the exam score.