Peshawar: The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted lives and institutions across the world. From global disruptions in production to supply chains to a new era of work and study from home, our lives are shifting towards a new normal.
The education sector is no different, having been one of the most severely impacted with schools and universities countrywide shutting their doors in line with social distancing as recommended by the World Health Organization.
Ms Irum, B.Sc. graduate from Government girl’s college six years ago – but to this day, resident of Kohat, one of the developing district of Pakistan’s northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, has been facing decline in her home tuition business after occurrence of the epidemic.
From cancelling classes and exams to emptying dorms to research stuck in limbo, home tuition business and academies coast-to-coast are facing increasing uncertainty.
The young lady starts teaching tuitions at home after marriage with a purpose to contribute financially to the family income and support her husband and three children. While talking to the writer, she exclaimed with cold-hearted that, “Before pandemic, usually 15-20 children take tuition with me but now regretfully only seven left. The foremost reason behind the decline is the loss of employment by the earning member of the family mainly father as they were on contract basis or laid off by the organization to curtail financial burden”.
The uncertainty in schools and colleges closure put things upside down and made parents’ confused about their children education and learning with their financial weakening as well. Hence, the tuition business that firming up women empowerment faces a deterioration.
She added, “some of the parents have come up with the conclusion that if schools are closed and the system is shifted to online so children should not be sending tuition as well”. The educational institutions provided relevant syllabus to the students; therefore, parents were pretty sure that they would teach their children at home easily.
The religious and cultural mores keep women confined to homemade, the situation even ambiguous and tentative in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The decrease and cut-off in salaries add fire to the status quo. The only easy earning method of educated wife, mother and housekeeper was tuition at home, which collapsed with the epidemic.
“Before pandemic, I earn almost 13 thousand, but now it decreases up to 7 thousand”, she replied. The 9th, 10th class students, charged 700-1000 per subject whereas lower-class students of 5-8 charged as a whole with 1500 including all subjects. Some students are not charged by her due to no income of their parents.
In the twenty-first century, earning livelihood needs each partner or better half to be employed and earn a handsome amount of money—entrepreneurship which was previously considered a male-gendered concept and carries masculine connotations. However, recently realized by women entrepreneurs that they could contribute to the economy.
In order to make a tuition a productive business and tackle this pandemic economic distress, Ms Irum is planning to start an academy involving degree holder family members as teachers. However, the issue arises when every student demands subject specialists. If one learns chemistry other want to master physics. Hence different subjects demand separate techniques and attention.
At the government level, the need for tuition is fulfilled by academies, so the majority of teachers get the opportunity of teaching and to be paid a generous amount of bread within 2-3 hours. Nowadays, children have more focus on academies as compared to schools and colleges, and it became a habit of pupils to enrol in tuition and academies to get good grades. Also, teenagers prefer to study from the academy as compared to their siblings or parents.
Fifty-four per cent of families in Pakistan reported an income loss, with many families losing jobs and experiencing hunger. If these effects have persisted, we may see many more empty seats. It is a challenging task for the government to reopen schools and colleges during this coronavirus pandemic, but the pressure is increasing every day on tuition business-facing steep fall graph.
Apart from the apparent miseries, this pandemic also presents some opportunities for developing countries like ours. We have a chance to rethink and reshape our small level business, especially tuition, to support the female part of society and to meet the needs of the post-pandemic world.
The capability of well-targeted tutoring programs reduces long-standing educational disparities that have been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In making strides toward educational equity, education leaders should expand the use of tutoring as a reliable, workhorse tool in ongoing efforts to cultivate a more equitable society.