Even though most schools encourage students to continue their studies at school, a majority of students and their parents, home tutors and coaching centres find private coaching classes to be more fruitful, deeming school both costly and time-consuming and lacking the “extra” support that coaching centres provide.
“English medium schools charge an obscene amount of money for tuition fees in Grades 9 and 10,” said Rafiqul Islam, founder and principal of Lords Institute who has been running the coaching centre since 2005.
“To continue studying at the schools after Grade 8, students have to pay around Tk60,000 per month, whereas coaching centres charge Tk3,000-3,500 per subject only. A huge number of students come from middle-income families and cannot afford the high tuition fees of English medium schools, so they opt for private coaching centres and home tutors to prepare for their O and A Level exams.”
Rezina Akhter, teacher at an English medium school who has been tutoring students for 20 years, said: “Parents prefer private tuition for multiple reasons. Schools provide 40-minute classes, which are hardly sufficient for O Level and A Level subjects. Subjects like maths, science and Bangla demand more time and attention. That is why parents enrol their children in coaching centers and hire home tutors for them for good results.”
She further said while some schools have highly qualified and professional teachers, many schools have teachers who are not qualified enough or do not have a good grasp on the subjects they teach.
“Parents appoint home tutors to help their children tackle the excessive homework assigned by the schools. After spending seven to eight hours in school, students have to study at home too, and for that they often need the help of a tutor if their parents are unable to help them,” said Syed Hasan, a university student who has been tutoring O and A Level students for five years.
Abrar Nousher, an O Level candidate, will appear in his exams as a private candidate. “I used to go to Drexel School. I dropped out in Grade 9 as my school did not have good teachers for the subjects I am taking. Now I am attending coaching classes in five subjects for my O Level exams. Without school, I have more time for my studies,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.