In-house seminar on ‘Demand for Private Tutoring During COVID-19: An Initial Scoping Exercise for Sri Lanka’ by Usha Perera

23 February 2022

‘Demand for Private Tutoring During COVID-19: An Initial Scoping Exercise for Sri Lanka’ was the subject of IPS’ in-house seminar this month presented by Research Assistant Usha Perera. In her presentation, Usha highlighted that although the demand for private tutoring has increased during the pandemic, students have experienced many issues in terms of accessibility, equity, and affordability, along with other problems in the education system in Sri Lanka.

The research showed that several students from various household income levels attended some form of tuition even before the pandemic. However, the number quickly spiked due to school closures during the pandemic. The surveys conducted further showed that students perceived the quality of tuition classes to have improved, while school classes have worsened during the pandemic. However, many students, mainly from poorer Sri Lankan households, found it difficult to afford and/or access online tuition. Usha noted that the issue of affordability was partly offset by the reduction of tuition fees or offering free classes by certain tutors. Moreover, these were mainly seen among Ordinary Level and Advanced Level students.

Usha further flagged that while concerted efforts have been made to improve online and private tutoring, the area has several drawbacks and thus room for improvement. She concluded with policy recommendations that focused on: 1) improving the quality of the industry with comprehensive data, monitoring and regulation, and investing in online pedagogical expertise; 2) improving accessibility with the provision of devices and network connectivity, and improving communication platforms;  and 3) improving equity and affordability with the Government of Sri Lanka establishing a network with the tuition industry to bridge gaps and formulating a mechanism to assist students with affordability issues.

For more details on this IPS study, CLICK HERE.