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Teachers fret over inequality of private tutoring

Teachers are amongst the first to raise concerns that public education may suffer if parents start paying private firms to boost their child’s learning. Private teaching companies have seen their sales grow by tens of percentage points per year.

Image: Yle

The Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ) sees danger in the commercialisation of learning. OAJ chair Olli Luukkainen, hopes that the phenomenon does not develop further.

“It would be a sign that public education is unable to offer sufficient services and educational support for children,” says Luukkainen.

It is a legal requirement that students who are lagging behind the rest of their primary school class be given academic support, but this issue is not given a lot of focus.

“Some parents aren’t able to buy it, some are not aware of it and they are not always interested in it,” says the OAJ chair.

No child left behind

The commercialisation problem is a matter of equality, says education counsellor Jussi Pihkala. He feels it is important that parents and caregivers turn to schools for educational support.

Meanwhile, private tuition is being compared to private healthcare. If the public service is seen as inadequate or unsuited then people may turn to the private sector.

However, the Ministry for Education holds a strong view that the public education system is adequate.

“The municipality is duty bound to provide all pupils with learning and schooling-related assistance,” says Pihkala.