Tuition….I don’t get them. Why is this trend of attending tuition popular in Myanmar? We have learned in school a proverb that say if you attend school regularly, you won’t have any problem with your studies (ေက်ာင္းမွန္မွန္တက္၊ စာမခက္) If a student attends regularly, why should he/she have to attend tuition where the same teachers from their school teaches them over again. Some say that they attend tuition because they get spots, which means that you get exam tips from the teachers. I’ve also heard stories about how teachers prefer those who attend their tuition over those who don’t attend them.
If parrot studying long paragraphs without fully understanding the meaning isn’t enough, the students hardly get free times aside from their studies. They go to school in the morning and then to their tuition in the afternoons or evenings. Then, they have to study at night. During the weekends, they have to attend their tuition again. Some of the students also attend English weekend classes where they are taught English, Math, Science, Computer, etc. If they attend the English class in the morning, they have to attend Myanmar tuition class in the evenings, and vice versa. I know ‘cuz I taught both morning and afternoon English classes where students rush from one tuition to another. They usually begged me not to give them too much homework or too much to study ‘cuz they have too much to handle. Okay, maybe some were just being lazy, but even so, I pitied them.
So, some of the students who get rare free times spend them playing computer games, going online, etc. They rarely read books for pleasure these days aside from comics and maybe a few reads those translated novels of Goosebumps and Mr. Midnight. However, students from private schools read more books than those from government schools.
If you think these tuition only exist for government schools, think again. They also exist in private schools. Students attending private schools in the morning have to attend tuition in the evenings. Some of these tuition are to help them with their learning while some are to be their study guide and help them with their homework (like me). Some private schools don’t allow their teachers to give tuition to students from their school since they don’t want the teachers to be giving special favors to their students. Even so, the teachers can give tuition to other students from other private schools.
Although I don’t remember much, I didn’t actually have to attend tuition when I was young. I remember going over to a house after school, but all I remember was reading comic books and eating roasted corns. At that time, I thought I was sent there ‘cuz my cousin didn’t want to baby-sit me. Even so, I didn’t stay there for long. I remember going to school at noon and then coming back home at 5 p.m. Sometimes, I didn’t even go home right away and went instead to the bus stop to wait for my mother’s return, especially if I want to tattletale about my cousin. Then, of course, going abroad changed my life completely. I did my homework regularly, studied a little and managed to get good grades in school. I started hating studying Myanmar school subjects because I have no one to teach me and I have to study all those notes my cousin had written without understanding the full meaning. My mother tried her best to teach us mathematics, but even so I sucked at it.
I had my first taste of tuition when I came back to Yangon. It was a tuition with about eight students where the girls disliked me and my sister, and the guys were the only person we can talk to. However, our strict uncle and his family thought we were too close to the guys so they hired a study guide for us and that was goodbye to the tuition. Not that I missed those girls, they really got on my nerves, but I missed being around with people my age. I spent days after days, memorizing all those notes which I have no clues of the actual meaning. And so I passed the exam, thanks to my study guide and those teachers who graded my exam papers and felt sorry for the pathetic girl.
Anyway, to get back to the point, aside from having a study guide for three months, I have never had any real tuition until I started 2nd year in UDE, but don’t get me started about it. I am still pissed off about it every time I read in those scholarships which require excellent academic records.
Again, back to the topic, I don’t understand why my two students who attend a prestige government school and also attend tuition with the same teachers from school couldn’t tell the difference between am/is/are and do/does when doing fill-in-the-blank exercises. Aren’t those the very foundation of English grammar? They, 6th grade and 8th grade students, can’t differentiate between them. I don’t know what they are taught at school especially in English. They lack knowledge about many things including things about our country. If they, the government school students, are like this, just think how much it’s worse for the students from private schools. They know more about the world than their own country.