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Unseen Tutors

Hasmik Soghomonyan

In the last year (or 2 years) of school studies pupils who are going to enter the university start taking private tutors classes. Generally they take 2-3 subject classes, which

they will need for passing the entrance exams. In Armenian word “tutor” consists of two words “teach” and “again” which absolutely illustrates the aim of tutor’s classes. Tutors are teaching again whatever children have passed in the school, preparing them for the entrance tests, which are based on the school program. Employee of National Institute of Education of Armenia, L. Arushanyan says that there are all possibilities created, for those pupils who really want to study, for entering university without tutors’ help. Each year more and more guidebooks, textbooks are being printed to ensure that pupils have got enough information and material for preparing for the exams by themselves.

Gayane, who is tutor of Russian language and whose son was preparing to take entrance exams few years ago, insists, that if those conditions were created hardly any parent would like to overload their child and spend money on private classes. “If was possible to successfully pass the entrance exams, all parents would be mad for carelessly spending so much money for tutors’ classes. School graduation has become quite an expensive thing, which eventually turns into a total show-off  that no one will remember later”, - says Gayane. In fact, I found out that school graduation can be quite expensive joy, while trying to calculate the average expenses. As the tutorship in Armenia remains part of the shadow education, there is no any mechanism developed to monitor and have at least approximate statistics about how many tutors are currently working in Armenia.

The only official data is available from the Tax Office of Armenia, where people are going to legally register their activity to pay taxes for it. When no mechanism of identifying and monitoring tutors exists, some people are still registering to pay taxes by their will; it’s quite a strange phenomenon. For being a legal tutor in Yerevan for university applicants, one should pay 15 000 AMD ($36) monthly or else the penalty in the amount of 250 000AMD ($605) will be charged for “secret” tutoring.

Arsen, who studies at the last grade of #83 secondary school in Yerevan, says that absolutely each of his 23 classmates takes tutors’ classes. If there was realistic chance of skipping tutors’ classes and having good exam results, no one would need tutors. However, by this moment tutors are like remedy for the sick educational system and until it gets healthy, it will still need some “unseen help”.