As long as students and parents believe government schools are not doing a good enough job, tutorial schools will be there to take their money. (Includes video)
Parents wait for their children to finish a tutorial class in chemistry at Chem-Ou School at the Wannasorn building near Phaya Thai intersection. JETJARAS NA RANONG
When you finish the story, check out the video that was made by the team which produced it. The link is below.
Tutorial schools are on the cutting edge
Students need to put in long hours in private classes
Saturday is not part of the weekend but rather another busy day spent furthering their children's education for many families in Bangkok.
One such family is the Sutthipaks, who spend most of a typical Saturday at Wannasorn Tower on Phaya Thai Road, where their children attend special courses with the aim of one day attending one of the country's best universities.
"We have to leave our house in Rangsit as early as 6am so we can grab the best seats for our children, who will be in class until 6pm," said 41-year-old Nattakan Sutthipak, mother of three daughters aged 15, 13 and 12.
The three girls attend different institutes in the building, with subjects including physics, chemistry, biology, English and mathematics.
Mrs Nattakan said her middle daughter, Siripat, is a Mathayom 1 student at Saipanya Rangsit 3 School, where she is enrolled in an intensive course for talented students. Although her grade last year was an impressive 3.91 GPA, it was not enough to top the class, with the highest score being 3.96 GPA.
"She was quite upset with the grade result. She asked me many things about her subjects, which I couldn't explain," said Mrs Nattakan.
"That's why I decided to enrol her at the Chem-Ou Tutoring Institute [in Wannasorn Tower] last October.
"Now my daughter is very satisfied with her results as she has improved her grades."
Siripat said she eventually wanted to attend Mahidol University's faculty of medicine, but learning at school alone might not be enough to realise her dream.
"[Attending the tutorial institute] gives me more necessary knowledge than just learning at school," she said.
"In my school, there are many old teachers and many are going to retire soon. If I don't come [to the tutorial institute], I can't be a doctor. Everybody is in competition."
Mrs Nattakan admitted the cost of extra tutoring was quite expensive – as much as 3,000 baht for a course. But she said the expense would be worthwhile if it helped launch her children on successful careers.
Puchita Wangdan, a 16-year-old Matthayom 5 student at Satriwitthaya 2 School in Lat Phrao who spent two years at Chem-Ou, said reading textbooks only was not enough for her to gain a sufficient understanding of complicated science subjects.
The additional lessons at the tutorial school helped her improve her knowledge thanks to the different methods employed there.
The Education Ministry said more than 300,000 students countrywide attended tutorial schools in 2007, generating revenue of more than 6billion baht. The number is now estimated at 400,000.
The average price for one course is about 3,000 baht.
With such a huge demand generating such high revenues, the government is considering taxing tutorial schools, which so far have been tax-exempt despite being private businesses as they are classified as educational institutes.
"If the government taxes tutorial schools, the burden will eventually be passed on to parents," said Anusorn Sivakul, the owner of Chem-Ou Tutoring Institute.
He said tutorial institutes would not be needed if schools fulfilled all their pupils' learning needs, but often the students want something more than their normal schools can offer.
"We are the additional option for them. Our strength is the weakness of ordinary schools, which is that we have excellent human resources," he said.
Mr Anusorn said it was very challenging for the government to guarantee well-qualified teachers at all schools because this would require a huge investment.
A qualified teacher's salary should be similar to that of a doctor or other white-collar professionals, he said.
"I conducted a survey among my students and none of them said they would like to be a teacher because of the very low salary. If this situation continues, it will be very hard to find decent teachers in this country."
thrive – to become, and continue to be, successful, strong, healthy, etc. เจริญ,เติบโต,ก้าวหน้า
cutting edge – the newest, most advanced stage in the development of something; an aspect of something that gives it an advantage
further – to help something to develop or be successful ส่งเสริม, สนับสนุน
typical – happening in the usual way; showing what something is usually like ตามแบบฉบับ, ตามปกติ
aim – purpose; goal เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย
grab – to take or hold somebody/something with your hand suddenly, firmly or roughly จับ,ฉวย,คว้า,แย่ง
enrol – to put yourself onto the official list of members of a course or college ลงทะเบียน
intensive – extremely thorough; done with a lot of care; involving a lot of work or activity done in a short time เข้มข้น, เข้มงวด, คร่ำเคร่ง
talented – very good at something ความสามารถพิเศษ
impressive – something that people admire because it is very good, very large or shows great skill ซึ่งน่าประทับใจ
upset – very sad, worried or angry about something วิตก กังวล
satisfied – pleased because you have achieved something or because something that you wanted to happen has happened พอใจ ถูกใจ
improve – to get better ดีขึ้น
eventually – at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด
faculty – a group of departments in a college which specialize in a particular subject or group of subjects คณะ
realise – to achieve something ทำให้เป็นจริง
retire – to stop working because you have reached the age where you are officially too old to work เกษียณอายุ
competition – an organised event in which people try to win prizes by being better than other people การแข่งขัน
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it ยอมรับ
worthwhile – useful, important or good enough to be a suitable reward for the money or time spent or the effort made คุ้มค่ากับความพยายาม
launch – to start something เริ่มต้น
career – a job or series of related jobs that you do, especially a profession that you spend a lot of your working life in อาชีพ
textbook – a book that teaches a particular subject and that is used especially in schools and colleges หนังสือเรียน, ตำรับตำรา
sufficient – enough เพียงพอ
complicated – difficult to deal with, do or understand ซับซ้อน
thanks to – because of ด้วยเหตุ, เพราะ
method – a particular way of doing something วิธีการ,วิธีดำเนินการ
employ – to use ใช้
countrywide – nationwide; throughout a whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
generate – to produce ก่อให้เกิด
revenue – income from taxes or business activities รายได้
estimated – thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available ประมาณการ
exempt – not affected by something ได้รับการยกเว้น
classify – to divide things into groups according to their type จัดประเภท
burden – a serious or difficult responsibility that you have to deal with ภาระ
fulfil – to do or have what is required or necessary บำเพ็ญ
option – a choice; something that you can choose in a particular situation ทางเลือก
excellent – extremely good ยอดเยี่ยม, ดีเยี่ยม
human resources – people's skills and abilities, seen as something a company, an organisation, etc. can make use of กำลังคน, ทรัพยากรมนุษย์
challenging – difficult, in a way that tests your ability or determination ที่ท้าทายความสามารถ
guarantee – to promise or confirm that something will or can be done รับรอง, รับประกัน
qualified – able to do something, because you have the knowledge, skill, or experience that is needed มีคุณวุฒิเหมาะสม, มีคุณสมบัติ
huge – very large ใหญ่โต
investment – the act of investing money in something การลงทุน
salary – a fixed amount of money that you earn each month or year from your job เงินเดือน
white-collar – working in an office, rather than in a factory, etc; connected with work in offices เกี่ยวกับงานนั่งโต๊ะ มีเงินเดือนประจำ และไม่ต้องใช้แรงงาน
professional – a person who does a job that needs special training and a high level of education ผู้เชี่ยวชาญในวิชาชีพ,ผู้มีวิชาชีพ
conduct – to do something in an organised way; to carry out — ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
decent – of a good enough standard or quality เหมาะสม
Here is the video where you can meet Puchita Wangdan, her mother and others: