Jiva Technology

Do tutors offer an unfair advantage to those that can afford it?

Tutors have long had to contend with the faint whiff of unfairness. With their sessions costing anything from around £20 per hour and upwards, tutors don’t exactly come cheap; they’re frequently seen as the preserve of the wealthy and the middle classes. It’s an accusation that isn’t exactly helped by the knowledge that tutoring does actually help students get better results (see my previous post). If it was a drug, it certainly wouldn’t be considered a placebo. Take this one step further and apply some simple logic:

If the support of a tutor gives a student an advantage over those who don’t

and,

employing a tutor is expensive, so it’s only available to the few, not the many,

then,

tutoring offers an unfair advantage.

It would seem that we can add tutoring to our list of ‘evils’ that perpetuate social inequality; a list that includes high performing state schools located in expensive residential areas, private schooling and unequal access to elite universities. What is more, the evidence seems to support this view. In the the only study that I’ve seen regarding the prevalence of tutoring in the State Education system, the University of London found that more than up to 27% of students had at one time received the support of a tutor. Put another way, nearly three quarters of state school students had never, ever received the support of a tutor.

Case closed. Or is it?

What if we changed one thing? The cost. If we could provide tutor support at a rate that made it available to the mass market, then tutoring goes from being an unfair advantage for a few to a great learning tool for the many. Tutorhub is our way to bring tutoring to a broader audience and we’re working on ways to make it accessible to a much, much broader audience. Watch this space.

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