Mahmoud Ahmad, Arab News
Thursday 20 May 2004
Last Update 20 May 2004 12:00 am
JEDDAH, 20 May 2004 — Shop walls and streetlights are being covered again with the advertisements of private teachers in the countdown to final exams in schools and colleges.
The Ministry of Education warns against hiring these teachers, saying that they are taking advantage of students. The ministry has stated that most are not qualified teachers and are usually overstayers.
Some charge between SR1,000-SR5,000, for subjects such as mathematics, physics or chemistry.
Abdulraheem Saleh, a parent, said, “It is the only way to save our kids from failing the year. I know it costs a lot of money and I know some of them are not qualified to teach, but what can we do? I do not want to see my son fail and have to repeat. I have to admit that both students and teachers are to blame. If teachers were teaching better and students were paying attention in class, there would be no need for these teachers.”
Ahmad Al-Shebani, another parent, said, “I do not blame my son. If the teacher was doing his job properly, there would be no need for private teachers.”
“I remember when I was in middle school, our math teacher did not teach us properly; forty percent of the class did not understand the subject. When we complained to him that we would fail, the teacher himself offered to give us private lessons for SR500 per student. In the private lessons, he explained everything perfectly and made everything look easy,” Ahmad said.
“Why wasn’t he teaching like this during class?” he asked.
Private teachers charge between SR100 to SR350 per hour or charge for the whole course, which ranges between SR2,000 and SR5,000. Some students blame it on the pressure and the large workload from having so many subjects in a day.
Hashim Al-Imam, a student, said, “Do not blame it on the private teachers. There are students that hate certain subjects by nature. Look at me for example, I hate math and I cannot understand it. I need a private teacher to teach me. I am willing to pay him even if he charges me high fees, because I hate failing and repeating the same year. The math teacher does not have time to answer questions from 20 students at the same time. That is why we need extra classes outside school.”