Wading through the Wall Street Journal archives yesterday (don’t ask why) and I come across a bizarre article that might turn the heads of some of our tutors.
In Hong Kong, it seems tutoring has been taken to whole new levels. It’s big business there and a handful of tutors are revered as deities in their own right – referred to as ‘tutor gods’ thanks to glitzy marketing campaigns that have seen their faces plastered across magazine front covers, billboards and bus flanks throughout the city.
Big business indeed – the most popular ‘tutor gods’ might address a hundred students at a time, each forking out up to $12.50 for the pleasure. A 40 hour week could earn the top tutors as much as $50,000. There’s talk even of a television series with intrepid tutor gods as protagonists. Riveting.
But before you get too excited about the prospect of the idea catching on in Britain, dig a little deeper and you’ll see that the waters are a distinct shade of murky…
Part of the tutor gods’ remit is to ‘tip’ pupils on questions to revise in case they come up in exams, and some of the tips have been oh so close to the actual exam questions that people are crying foul. Thanks to The Wall Street Journal, it is now possible to compare one tutor’s practice paper he prepared in the run up to an exam, and the actual exam itself.
Smell a rat?
But who’s to say it won’t catch on here? The strange phenomenon of celebrity tutor gods is born out of an education system broadly similar to ours; high-stakes exams and tests dictate college places and parents will do anything to give their children a helping hand or competitive edge, especially when everyone else is at it.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?