Is School Tuition Necessary for My Child?

School tuition has rapidly grown over recent years for various reasons. Its rise may correlate to some degree with the growth of private schooling in South Africa. Parents and learners alike are concerned about academic performance. It is undoubtedly the key for a better future in most instances. However, learning within a school may not be sufficient for many learners’ needs and tuition may offer that edge in achieving academic excellence.

With tens of thousands of students competing for spaces at South African universities, it is understandable that parents and learners are concerned about academic performance. However, the decision to seek tuition for school-going learners should be based on need. It has unfortunately become somewhat fashionable for learners to have extra tuition outside of the school environment, even when they are thriving academically.

It is not uncommon for parents to question why school tuition is necessary. There is an underlying belief that schools and teachers are responsible for their child’s academic performance. While there is some truth to this perception and the topic is debatable, tuition may offer the additional attention that some children need. This may not be practical in the school environment where there are 20 to 30 learners in a class manned by one teacher at a time.

Checklist for Tuition

If you are considering whether tuition is necessary for your child, then it is important to first examine individual circumstances. Blame should not be solely laid at the feet of the teacher or school as a whole. There are host of reasons why children may not perform at an academic level that is desired by the parent. Some of these factors may also lie within the home, despite the best efforts of teachers.

Ask yourself these questions before committing your child to tuition after the school day ends.

Is my child’s academic performance on par with the class average?

If your child’s performance is below the class average then school tuition may be an option. It is important to also look at some of the other factors below. It is also important to realise that not every learner will excel academically but should nevertheless be able to achieve the minimum required to advance to higher grades.

Does my child have a learning disability?

Contrary to popular belief, a learning disability is not always overt. Your child should consult with an educational psychologist to exclude the possibility of a learning difficulty. Ongoing therapy may also be needed to ensure that your child is able to improve skills necessary for learning.

Is my child’s academic performance linked to out-of-school factors?

Various studies have shown that children may perform poorly in academics when faced with conflict within the home and other social and psychological factors. Not all children in these circumstances are affected equally. Some may nevertheless excel academically. However, it is a consideration that parents and guardians should take seriously.

Is my child’s academic performance impacted by in-school factor beyond teaching?

From bullying to peer pressure and other negative behaviour such as truancy and drug usage, your child’s academic performance may be linked to events in the school or during school hours that parents and even teachers may be unaware of.

Does my child spend too much of time with non-academic activities?

There should not be a need for any child to be suffocated with academics during every waking minute. Children need to play, socialise and partake in various non-academic activities for physical, mental and emotional health. However, academic performance is linked to the extent to which a child is willing to do homework. If your child is absorbed in playing on an electronic device or watching TV for long hours while sacrificing study time, then he/she will naturally perform poorly in academics.