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A tutor is an instructor who gives private lessons. The most famous example of a tutor and student is the Greek philosopher Aristotle who tutored Alexander the Great while he was a child.² Tutoring can help high achievers reach new educational and intellectual levels, but it can also help slow learners keep up with their peers.

Private tutoring is most prevalent in Asia. A recent study by the Asian Development Bank pointed out that tutoring can, “Dominate the lives of young people and their families, maintain and exacerbate social inequalities, divert needed household income into an unregulated industry, and create inefficiencies in education systems."¹

In the Republic of Korea, 90 percent of students receive private tutoring, 85 percent in Hong Kong, 60 percent in West Bengal, India, and 60 percent in Kazakhstan.¹

The cost of tutoring is staggering in Asian and Middle Eastern countries. In Pakistan, tutoring costs an average of $3.40 a month, while 60 percent of the population lives on less than $2 per day.² In Hong Kong, the business of providing private tutoring reached $255 million in 2011.¹

In many countries individuals can become tutors without training. In some countries like Cambodia, Georgia, and Kazakhstan teachers complement their incomes with after school tutoring because their salaries hover close to the poverty line.²

Private tutoring is not always effective in raising academic achievement. Teachers who spend more time on private lessons than regular classes can cause inefficiencies in the mainstream school system. Corruption can also occur when teachers provide private lessons for those that they teach. Some teachers deliberately teach less in their regular classes in order to promote the market for private lessons.³




1. Shadow Education: Private Supplementary Tutoring and its Implications for Policy Makers in Asia. Retrieved May 14, 2014, from

2. Aslam, Monazza & Paul Atherton, 2011. “The Shadow Education Sector in India and Pakistan: The Determinants, Benefits and Equity Effects of Private Tutoring.” Presentation at the UKFIET (United Kingdom Forum for International Education and Training) Conference, University of Oxford, 13-15 September.

3. Dawson, Walter. 2009. The Tricks of the Teacher: Shadow Education and Corruption in Cambodia.

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