LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- 07/18/13 -- A plan to establish a national association to represent private tutors and set minimum qualification standards for the industry has run into trouble after a poll revealed a lack of support for some of its key features.
The poll published today, carried out for The Tutor Pages website (www.thetutorpages.com), shows seven out of ten private tutors believe the attempt to require people who work in the industry to hold degrees could exclude many quality tutors.
Under plans put forward by the Centre for Market Reform of Education (CMRE) think tank and backed by several of the UK's largest private tuition companies, all members of the new association would have to hold at least a general degree. Those who teach children over the age of 11 would be required to hold a degree in the subject they tutor, or one in a broadly comparable field.
But according to the poll of 500 private tutors, carried out for thetutorpages.com, the UK's leading private tuition website, 71 per cent think requiring tutors to hold a university degree might exclude quality tutors, while 69 per cent believe requiring tutors of children of secondary school age to have subject-specific degrees is too inflexible.
And in another setback for the CMRE and the tuition companies behind the scheme, more than nine out of ten tutors polled (94 per cent) said they thought many excellent private tutors would decide not to join the association.
The CMRE has been consulting private tutors and tuition agencies about its plans, which include a new code of ethics all members will be expected to abide by. The consultation period, which began in May, was due to end yesterday (July 17).
The think tank says the association, to be called The Tutors Association (TTA), is needed to ensure higher standards and act as "an independent arbiter of the quality of private tuition" in an industry where there is currently no formal regulation of qualifications. It said self-regulation was needed to address public concerns about the variable quality of private tuition.
But two-thirds of tutors polled by thetutorpages.com said neither parents nor anyone else had raised concerns with them about quality in the private tuition industry. More than half (56 per cent) also said they did not think the proposed association could be an independent arbiter of the quality of private tuition and believed that it would not ensure higher standards in the industry.
A similar proportion (56 per cent) also believed current regulation was sufficient and no self-regulation was required.
Henry Fagg, director and founder of thetutorpages.com website, said many freelance tutors were ambivalent at best about the proposal to set up a self-regulating body. "I think we're dealing with a clash of cultures, where many private tutors have turned away from mainstream education precisely because they believe that regulation tends to hamper learning. Historically, Aristotle didn't need a regulator to tutor Alexander the Great, and neither did Ezra Pound when he mentored T.S. Eliot. There is also a suspicion that large tuition companies could use an industry association to steamroll their interests, at the expense of the independent freelance tutor, pupils and parents."
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