BY KARUNA BALASUBRAMANIAN
Remote learning has boosted demand for private tutoring as parents and students juggle the challenges of learning from home.
Tutoring businesses have adapted to provide their services online, despite initial challenges faced with replacing in-person tutoring during the pandemic.
Learn Mate tutoring service owner Dmitri Dalla-Riva said he did not expect the transition to online learning to happen within the duration of a few weeks.
“I knew online tutoring would come, but I thought maybe in five to 10 years it would become more common,” Mr Dalla-Riva said.
“I've never seen something so intense and so drastic in terms of changing the way that the marketplace operates.”
Learn Mate developed a search function that allows viewers to search for an online tutor, as a fallback option, a few years ago.
“What was previously a fallback option is now the only form of tutoring available under current Stage 4 restrictions,” Mr Dalla-Riva said.
“Although we did prepare a couple of years ago, we did not put in much effort," he said.
“Now with COVID, online tutoring has become the sole income for the business to survive."
Mr Dalla-Riva’s clientele has actually increased due to transition to online learning.
“At this time last year, 85 per cent of lessons were done through in-person tutoring with 15 per cent online and now over 90 per cent is online,” he said.
For private tutors, COVID-19 has led to an increase in the number of students despite technology being a major issue.
Monash University student Peter Roberts is a private tutor for VCE students and believes the transition to online learning has come with a fair share of challenges.
“I was able to take a couple of in-person tutoring classes before the lockdown, but one of the main issues is connecting with students on video calls,” Mr Roberts said.
“I tutor in maths and science and it becomes difficult as one cannot see where they are making mistakes and also can’t physically see the workings,” he said.
Mr Roberts also believes school teachers have been finding online teaching difficult, which has led to more students seeking out tutoring services.
CEO of the Australian Tutoring Association Mohan Dhall believes one of the main challenges faced by the private tutoring industry is the complex market situation that has arisen.
“There have been several new service providers that have entered the market during the pandemic,” Mr Dhall said.
“However, they engage in a perfunctory way with some (providers) encouraging in-home tutoring, breaching the COVID-19 regulations.”
According to Mr Dhall, the mixture of old and new providers has left a fractured market, which poses a major issue to the private tutoring businesses.