India’s secondary and higher secondary education system has been successful in attaining the gross enrolment ratio of more than 68 in higher secondary classes between class IX and class XII in the age bracket of 14 – 17 years. The gross enrolment ratio is seen to decline gradually from more than 99 in primary classes of class I to V in age bracket of 6 – 10 years followed by around 92 in upper primary classes of class VI to VIII in age group of 11-13 years as per report of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Govt. of India. There are more than 1.5 million schools comprising of both the public schools and private schools with the mandate of imparting education to create educated children for pursuing the aim for seeking higher education or otherwise as per their competencies and likings.
The education processes at secondary and higher secondary school primarily need physical infrastructure consisting of classrooms, laboratories, amenities, and the teachers & staff to have effective teaching-learning. It has been seen that there is increasing dependence upon the private tutoring to supplement the learning in the school. As per NSSO statistics published in 2016, a large number of students consisting of 38 % male and 35% female depend upon private tutoring in secondary and higher secondary education in the country.
This practice of private supplementary tutoring is concomitant with the prevailing deficit in the learning in schools which is being compensated through the additional inputs through tuitions. Usually, it starts from the families who are financially capable of affording the private tuitions and the aspirations to accrue better results from their child, which are not there otherwise. But the success of any child continuing with regular schooling and supplementary tutoring fillips the culture of pursuing supplementary tutoring.
Over some time, this practice has enchanted the children enrolled in schools and a sizeable number of secondary and higher secondary students resort to supplementary tuitions for getting better results. This parallel system of teaching the same syllabus in tuitions infuses redundancy and makes the schools complacent about their duties and responsibilities. The worst affected ones are those belonging to low-income families, who could not afford to pay for such private supplementary tutoring.
The increase in complacency on the part of schools eventually leads to poor quality of education which may not be sufficient to meet the forthcoming aspirations from such school students and ultimately leave the education system. The gradual decline in gross enrolment ratio from primary to the secondary and higher secondary education system is a consequence of the inability of dropouts to keep pace with their peers due to the inadequate financial capacity of their families.
The increasing choice for private tutoring along with regular school education needs to be introspected from the perspective of expectations of the students such as teaching methodology, content delivery, curriculum coverage, depth of curriculum coverage, practicing problem solving capability, integrating syllabus with real-life phenomenon for making it relevant, motivation for self-learning, class size for proper interaction with teacher, time utilization, capacity development for succeeding in national level competitive examinations for admission to undergraduate courses, relationships with teachers in their regular schools and private tutors etc. Better education being a vehicle for changing the lives by yielding good returns from the suitable employment and incomes, everyone aspires for attaining the capabilities needed for achieving desired objectives.
Though every child is free to adopt the practices for improving the performance, but the emergence of private tutoring and its expansion to supplement the school education is unduly burdening the children physically and families financially in two parallel systems for attaining the same objective. Apart from the insufficiency of the learning in schools leading to need of supplementary tutoring being the key factor, another driver for its expansion seems to be the massive unemployment of educated youth who considers tutoring as one of the easiest pursuits to have earnings for livelihood, which may be in the organized or unorganized form.
Challenges felt by the students of secondary and higher secondary classes from the stiff competition point of view which creates the do or die situation before younger ones, compelling them for taking all possible measures to ensure success in the competitive examinations for admission to prestigious undergraduate programmes in different streams of engineering, medical, law, commerce etc. Quite often the news reports about the suicides or attempt to suicide by the students at the higher secondary level are very unfortunate and need honest introspection of the prevailing system. The distressing conditions usually emanate from the one’s inability to cope up due to weak primary and lower secondary education background, lack of interest & aptitude in the subjects pursued, poor performance leading to an inferiority complex, fear of failure, non-fulfillment of family expectations, no utilization of inherent strengths, loneliness, social isolation, etc.
The families should gauge the likings, interests, and aptitude of their wards before deciding the courses to be taken up as the attainment of target depends upon the intellectual capability, passion, and commitment for it. The private tutoring should not be considered as a panacea for achieving the goal set without a prior appraisal. The magnitude of the informal private supplementary tutoring has now grown to the extent of offering tutoring services as a complete solution to learning needs through formal coaching institutes with mere enrolment in some recognized schools, known as dummy schools for the sake of appearing in board examinations.
This has led to the temperament of students for nearly ignoring the regular school-based learning through formal and informal interactions with teachers, staff and other students. It has started replacing the regular schools and is a cause of concern. It is imperative to have a candid assessment of teaching-learning system in regular schools offering secondary and higher secondary education for identification of typical reasons to identify the factors as to why the students enrolled in them have started preferring tuitions to supplement the class room learning or in certain cases completely depending on them and keeping regular schools as dummy schools.
Wastage of efforts and resources due to duplicity in learning processes should be curbed, and the education system should ensure optimal utilization of the potential of the youth for achieving excellence in every stream for furthering the civilization and making the nation strong. Regular schools should vehemently come forward and restrain their students by proper facilitation to fulfil the dreams of children and hcreate capable, ethical, responsible, healthy and good human beings who can perform well in higher education.