The trend of celebrity tutoring has become a part in Hong Kong’s competitive educational landscape. Local teaching celebrities – whose faces grace covers of buses, billboards of subway stations and even YouTube videos — are not only young and attractive but also claim that they can help students ace Hong Kong’s university entrance exam. Here are some of the ways being used by the celebrity tutors to gain popularity
- Billboards loom on highways and exteriors of shopping malls advertising the tutors
- They have their own websites with pictures of them in designer dresses, flashing a leg sometimes while emphasizing on the high quality of teaching lessons offered
- Many of the city’s celebrity tutors have their own music videos, Facebook fan pages and products including files and sticky notes.
- Tutoring schools claim to offer tips on questions that are likely to come up in the public examinations.
- Some companies that run the tutoring centers also run mainstream schools. These schools often encourage students to attend tuitions on discounted prices
There are certain reasons why tutoring is gaining momentum in Hong Kong. The private tutoring business is thriving with an estimated value of 2 billion dollars and each star tutor earning $1.3 million.
- Large educational companies, including King’s Glory and Beacon College, make up more than half the local tutorial market and are becoming increasingly popular, according to the Synovate report.
- Almost three-quarters of Hong Kong high school seniors use some sort of outside tutoring service, according to a report released this year by Mark Bray, director of the Comparative Education Research Center of the University of Hong Kong.
- Tutorial-school chains generally generate most of their revenue through the mass sales of relatively affordable courses.
- The tutoring schools work towards manipulating the minds of the students and parents leading them to believe that they can actually help.
- Another driving force is the tough competition that every student faces while competing for entry into schools of Hong Kong. The tutoring schools flash their list of topnotchers who made it thereby attracting more students.
However in July, an amended law took effect to exercise a check on the misleading advertisements by various tutoring centers to attract customers. While the regulations cover a broad range of sectors, including travel agencies and beauty treatments, it also affects tutorial centers.
Photograph courtesy of King’s Glory