With schools and colleges closed, demand for home tutors shows a surge in Bihar

City COVID-19 Education

By Nishant Kumar

Sitamarhi:  With educational institutions closed, the number of private tutors in Bihar has increased in recent months.

Prakash Kumar, a teacher at Saraswati Vidya Mandir, Sitamarhi, informed The Observer: “Schools have been closed for more than a year, and I was left with no source of income. But for the past three months, I have been working as a home tutor.” He earns remuneration similar to what he earned before the pandemic.

Many private schools and coaching centres had opened during January 2021 after the Bihar government issued a Standard Operating Procedure allowing them to do so. But they could function only for a short while.

Saurav Thakur, a former teacher at Hellens Public School, Sitamarhi, said: “Just four months after the start of the pandemic, the school fired all non-permanent teachers. Since then, I have been working as a private tutor.

“We do fear police for breaking lockdown regulations, but we manage to reach our students’ homes,” Thakur added.

Many teachers have now enrolled themselves on apps like Tutorsgroup to find teaching opportunities. These apps charge one month’s salary from teachers if they find students for them.

“All my colleagues have joined Tutorsgroup as we are not skilled enough to teach through the online mode.” Teaching subjects like physics and mathematics through presentations is not easy, Thakur said.

Several parents are apprehensive of the Covid-19 pandemic but still get private tutors to come home for their children as they have no other option.

Devesh Jha, the father of a class 12 student, said: “Even though my son can’t go to school or coaching institute, his studies can’t be compromised. The Covid-19 situation is under control in Sitamarhi, but we take all necessary precautions.”

The total cases in Sitamarhi are about 8,500 with active cases falling to around 700. Daily new cases are under 70.

Some students believe that distance education affects the quality of learning.

“Even though I have enrolled myself into Allen Coaching Institute for a distance learning program, it’s better to have a teacher physically present to explain difficult concepts,” said Monika Kumari, a NEET aspirant.

Bihar’s students are not equipped for online learning. They have several challenges like a lack of computers and an absence of stable Internet connections. The most disadvantaged among students are those who study in government schools and don’t have a basic understanding of digital learning.

Enrolment on Tutorsgroup has risen significantly after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

Brajkishor Bhagat, the owner of Tutorsgroup, said: “The enrolment of both teachers and students has increased during the pandemic. We are looking to expand our operations to all over India in the near future.”

A report published in the Business Standard said: “More than 80% of parents with children studying in government schools reported that education was ‘not delivered’ during the lockdown.”


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