Commercialised "remedial" classes

I’m annoyed. The state of education in the country as we all know is up the tubes. Which created this wonderful little niche in the market for remedial and/or extra classes in just about every subject offered at school. Its commercialised and franchised and gloats its excellent results… :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve been that route, both my kids were ADD diagnosed in their early grades and were promptly enrolled for every extra class I could find to help them with school, it was a HUGE waste of money and in the end the elder one managed to drag himself up by his shoelaces and the younger was prescribed Ritalin, both are honours students now, however, the eldest (grade 10) feels he needs to improve his math marks (only subject he does not attain distinctions) and would like to take supplementary classes.

I utterly and completely resist the idea to enroll him in a commercialised/franchised programme. I’m also at a loss to find a tutor qualified to help him, there’s a lovely one advertised on the interwebs, but on further investigation, its noobs with no tertiary education and their only claim to qualification is distinctions in matric in the particular subject, hardly what I have in mind.

I’m certainly no mathematician, psychology is my forte, I leave finances and general counting numbers to the people that have that particular ability, so I’m frustrated and annoyed and irritated and yes, I’m venting, so smite me.


Anybody here have any advice?

it was a HUGE waste of money

A friend of mine is a full time math teacher, and she is fully booked every night tutoring at her house. Seems that a lot of kids depend on these extra classes. She delivers a quality product, and I suppose she charges accordingly. If there is a gap in the market, why not?

I take it there was no difference in your youngsters’ marks before and after the additional classes?

I your experience, do the “extra classes” simply repeat the school syllabus in a classroom milieu, or do they concentrate on each learner’s particular problems individually?

It seems that there is call for some sort of controlling or grading body to ensure quality of tuition.

But that said, I’ve always thought that math is best studied practicing by yourself!


Because education is not a tradable commodity. As an individual, you cannot sell your qualifications to another; at best, you can buy, cheaply, a pale imitation of one from a shady institution. We must give our children the very best education that we can. (On this front, we reveal our standing as unreconstructed socialists.)

Yes. Tutors cannot practise mathematics for you. They can guide you, but self-immersion is the path to success (and, forget not that children are remarkably adept at floating).


Because education is not a tradable commodity.

Don’t fully agree. A system offering a free education from grade 1 to post doc relies on too many idealized variables that are just not present in our beloved country at this stage. For example, a slightly cynical concern is that such a free-for-all system will be sabotaged by human nature itself. How will one stop hordes of students that started a course merely because its free, and then drop out after blowing a few years worth of government money?

But for the sake of the argument let’s say we are aspiring to the system that you would like to see in place. How would doing away with commercial remedial franchises and private tutors be beneficial to achieving the ideal?

As an individual, you cannot sell your qualifications to another

But the product the lecturer/ tutor/ baking instrutor is selling is his time and knowledge. He might as well have used that same time and knowledge to manufacture something and sell that. I don’t see a difference.


I think you have missed my point. Please explain to me how “Education is not a tradable commodity” equals “Education must be free” because I do not subscribe to this identity at all.

The gist is that standards of education should not be open to negotiation, let alone exploitation.


A commodity is some good for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market.
(Definition lifted from Wikipedia)

So, if you say “education is not a tradable commodity”, it means that education is :-

  1. not a good
  2. without demand
  3. of inconsistent quality
  4. not open to trade due to social/ ethical considerations.

Since 1 is obvious, 2 ridiculous and 3 iffy, I suspected you were implying 4, and, reinforced by “you cannot sell your qualifications to another” I assumed you proposed wholesale free education as a solution. But my apologies if I misinterpreted.

The gist is that standards of education should not be open to negotiation, let alone exploitation.

No argument there. It is obviously unacceptable to offer kids (or grownups) substandard tuition, be it commercial or free.


I’m with Mefi on this one. Education is too important to buy different qualities of in the same levels. The planet’s future critically depends on best informed kids.

Mefi, you’re a gal? I’d never have guessed.

I know what you mean. Most teachers and tutors, although qualified and capable, teach children how to do well in exams, not necessarily to understand the subject. Maybe check at the closest university or college, they sometimes offer advanced classes.

The problem I have with the commercialised programmes is that they are all computer based, they “assess” the kids, plonk them in front of a computer for an hour at a time and no effort goes into sitting with an individual child figuring out WHAT he doesnt understand. Hence my want (need) for an one on one tutor who actually understands mathematics and have a passion for it.

I’ll give UJ a call bluegray, maybe find a postgraduate with a passion for kids and maths. Thanks for the idea.

Mefi, you're a gal? I'd never have guessed.

Irreverend, you actually wrote that?



Eh? What am I missing here? ???