One of the frequent complaints of the teaching profession is that they are trying to communicate with large classes comprised of pupils who have a wide variety of different languages as a first language.
You might imagine that they would welcome the provision of one-to-one tuition using teachers who possibly share the same first language as the pupil in specialist subjects such as mathematics.
Their first objection seems to be based around the fact that it is the private sector which is making this additional tutoring available.
“This idea stinks. It is all about a private sector company making money out of UK education.”
– Surely teachers are themselves ‘making money’ out of UK education, they don’t provide their teaching services for free do they?
Then we get the predictable ‘someone has nicked me job’ whine…..
“I’m a fully qualified primary school teacher, with years of experience, who has specialised in Maths support and who was made redundant. I’m now considering relocating to New Zealand so I think you can imagine how I feel about this.”
– Perhaps you didn’t want to work in Islington where there was a vacancy for a one to one maths support teacher?
But the real invective is reserved for their final complaint.
“The ethical issue is whether one can hire teachers for salaries and working conditions which would under no circumstances be acceptable in UK.”
Now we get to the nitty-gritty – for you see these graduate mathematicians, security checked, all with teaching experience are sitting 4,000 miles away in India, and the pupils communicate with them via headset and computer. All of the tutors are trained in the English maths curriculum at key stages 2, 3 and 4. The service can be tailored to each child as the teacher sees fit, and each session is supervised giving the teacher control.
The service, which is called BrightSpark Education, and was set up by UK- based entrepreneur Tom Hooper. His company employs more than 100 Indian-based tutors full time, all of which are maths graduates with teaching experience, and each tutor undergoes security checks.
That has terrified the teaching profession – they see their jobs going the same way as call centres – and for the same reasons; qualified, motivated employees who take a pride in their job for a fraction of the price demanded by English teachers.
Nor is it just maths tuition:
Homework is the latest activity to be swept up in a global outsourcing craze, with hundreds of pupils studying with online tutors half a world away in India. And firms from the subcontinent say Britain is next.
Propelled by the same forces driving India’s computing and call centre success – abundant highly-educated English-speaking workers, rock-bottom wages and technology that makes global collaboration easier – Indian firms are grabbing a slice of America’s lucrative private tutoring market.
Growing Stars, based in California, trains its 40 tutors in Cochin, south-west India – near Bangalore, hub of India’s outsourcing industry – in US culture, giving them elocution lessons to “neutralise” their British English and help them adjust to Yankee accents, said chief executive Bijou Mathew. The tutors – mostly qualified teachers with masters degrees – greet students with a perky “How are you?” – even though it may be the middle of the night for them.
If you read the original articles, you will note that not one of the complaining teachers has cited any disadvantage to the pupils, it is just reasons why they should be permitted to retain their stranglehold on young minds….
Could this be why?
The number of new teachers who fail to find permanent work after completing initial training has more than doubled in just one year, official figures have revealed. More than half – 52 per cent – of the 33,350 newly qualified teachers who finished training in 2009 had not started their induction years by the end of March 2010.
That is tax payer’s money that has been training those teachers – if there are not jobs for them, and if Indian maths tutors can do such an excellent job at £12 an hour – why are we paying to train the militant English version?