SR752 million for private tuition!


Makkah newspaper

YOU will not see all your shortcomings by your own eyes even if your vision is perfect and powerful. Some of your flaws will not be seen except by the eyes of others. Sometimes you need to use the spectacles of others to look good, because your spectacles may have become dirty and will not give you a clear vision of what is real.

Some numbers are considered indicators that should lead you on the road of success or progress or should help you to know the extent of deviation from the straight road that takes you to your destination. Some figures are like mirrors that will show you the truth.

Saudi families have spent a whopping sum of SR752 million on private tutoring in the year 2017 alone. This report indicates that our schools do not shoulder their proper educational role, or Saudi families do not trust the ability of schools to educate their children.

These figures are not speculation in the media or economic estimates. On the other hand, they are statistics provided by a government agency, the General Authority for Statistics.

Detailed statistics have been given on how much money is spent by Saudi families on private tuition in each region. Riyadh spent the highest amount, or SR260 million, while Makkah region spent SR156 million. Baha had the lowest spending on tuition with SR2.6 million.

These huge amounts should be considered as a good scale to measure the quality of education in our schools. We can add this to other assessment methods followed by the Education Ministry.

The National Assessment Center conducts tests for school students annually at the expense of the students. Is it reasonable to believe that all these assessments did not encourage the Ministry Education to follow the right educational methods yet?

Can we reach the conclusion that the ministry does not want to adopt corrective measures or it is incapable of making reforms even after knowing the poor performance of students and schools?

I would like to say that this huge sum should not pass unnoticed by the Education Ministry officials if they really want to bring about reforms. I am sure that the ministry understands the situation as it provides free tuition through its "Ien" electronic tutorials where students will be able to attend virtual classrooms with their colleagues from their homes.

If the Ministry of Education has opened schools to teach students in real classrooms, established virtual classrooms to give lessons through electronic devices and yet the families have to spend huge amounts of money on private tuition even after simplifying the curricula, then there is something wrong with our educational process and we have to correct it before we lose generations to this mediocrity.

If we are unable to transform schools into fields for acquiring knowledge, developing skills and practicing constructive activities and scientific tests, what we spend on their buildings would be a big loss for the state and this loss would be much higher than SR752 million that the families spend on tuition every year.

Imagine that a student goes to school daily and attend classes free of charge and then returns home without learning anything and then the family looks for a private tutor and pays huge amounts on tuition to help their child pass the tests conducted by the school teacher, who could not teach him properly for reasons beyond our understanding.

I know that many teachers exert great efforts to teach their students and some of them bear even the cost of educational materials and tools that are not readily available at schools due to the Education Ministry's bureaucratic procedures and practices.

I have also noticed that the education authorities do not differentiate between hardworking and negligent teachers. This is quite frustrating. The ministry has promised that hardworking teachers would receive pay hike and rewards but it still remains in paper.

The ministry should expedite the implementation of proposals that would contribute to enhancing public education standards.