Teachers reap big as private tuition thrives during closure

Teachers are reaping big as parents push for private tuition to keep their children busy as effects of prolonged school closure hit homes.

The Standard has established that some parents are paying as high as Sh5,000 per week for controlled face-to-face teaching in various estates and villages.

And in other cases, some parents are paying at least Sh1,000 per week for structured online classes.

One such online teaching platform is run by Lina Anyango, a Global Teachers Prize finalist who has assembled teachers to teach secondary school learners at a fee.

“We have six teachers offering online lessons for Form One to Four students. On Fridays, we have mentorship programmes,” said Anyango.

Another online teaching group targets students who take science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“For those classes, we teach at a fee because it was running even before Covid-19 pandemic,” said Anyango.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli said he has heard reports of private face-to-face paid for lessons.

“But these are premised on misunderstanding of what the ministry said. There have to be guidelines on the number of children who can assemble and in what venue,” said Indimuli.

He said there should be guidelines on identifying and allocating teachers to the various classes.

“For now, we do not have the operating guidelines and we plead that teachers should not exploit parents. Parents should also be patient as ministry and TSC work on the way forward,” said Indimuli.

The Standard established that many parents who are afraid of face-to-face lessons have registered their children for various virtual lessons under strict monitoring. Buoyed by the recent statement by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on community teaching, parents and teachers are openly entering such contracts.

Magoha had said President Uhuru Kenyatta had suggested that teachers may assemble children around them for classes and other life lessons that may keep them busy.

“He (Uhuru) suggested that as long as you keep safe social distancing, nothing stops you from engaging the children,” said Magoha.

The CS said teachers, even those in the villages, should find a way of engaging the children.

Parents who spoke to The Standard yesterday said the statements by Magoha opened the path for them to engage teachers for face-to-face lessons.

The parents said the Ministry of Education interventions on online, television and radio lessons have not helped in keeping children busy.

“Face to face interaction with the learners remains the best way of keeping children busy because you are sure they are in class,” said a parent in Nairobi. The parent, whose two daughters are in top national schools, said she had to discontinue online classes to minimise Internet abuse.

“They have been having online classes but after it, they spend so much time online meeting strangers and visiting wrong sites under the pretext of doing assignments and this has been a worry to me,” said the parent who is also a primary school teacher.

National Parents Association chairman Nicholas Maiyo yesterday admitted that online lessons have been a major challenge for most parents, pushing for clandestine face-to-face classes.

“Parents have for a long time engaged teachers to teach their children in small groups because they felt it was safer than other modes,” said Maiyo.