More than a third of state teachers resort to illegal private tutoring in the afternoons, the head of the association of private tutorial centres claimed on Friday, saying that nothing is done to tackle this problem that causes unnecessary stress to public school students.
The president of the association, Giorgos Gavriel, told state radio CyBC that an unofficial estimate has about 30 to 40 percent of public school teachers giving private lessons at their homes to the same students from their classes in the morning.
Later in the day, Education Minister Costas Kadis stressed the determination by the ministry to regulate the private tutoring system, while the association for private tutoring defended the system, saying that it is a necessary part of education which is beneficial to society.
At a press conference about illegal private institutes, the impact on society and how to deal with it, the minister referred to two important aspects it supports, working towards the elimination of any illegalities and regulating the operations of the institutes.
As for the illegalities, Kadis said that during a meeting with the chief of police a mechanism was agreed upon whereby all complaints will be managed confidentially by police and the ministry together.
“In recent months, some cases have ended up in court,” he said, adding that the illegal activities of these cases concern either pubic school teachers illegally teaching in private institutes and homes, or premises operating without a license.
Police has set up a communication channel to inform the ministry of all cases and the outcome of judicial investigations.
On regulating the tutorial system, Kadis said the education ministry is working on updating a law from 1972 which urgently needs to be tackled.
“By modernising the law it will become clear who can run a private teaching institution, under which conditions and in which places and how teachers and institutions will be checked,” he noted, adding that the 1972 law was 17 pages, but now this has been enhanced and is 54 pages long for private tutorial institutes and 34 pages for private schools.
Kadis said that the ministry is committed to make improvements and many important reforms are well under way.
At the same press conference, Giorgos Gavriel stressed the necessity for private tutoring and categorically rejected the criticism voiced by the minister. As he said, the negative approach to the tutorial system usually starts from a childish thought that if we had better schools there would be no need for tutorials. He noted that organised private teaching institutions exist in other countries such as Greece, Japan, South Korea, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, France and Germany.
He also mentioned that the vast majority of students, even those who attend private schools resort to private lessons, especially in secondary school. This is due to the desire of students to be admitted to universities and in preparation for the labour market which goes beyond what their school can offer.