London primary school outsources mathematics teaching to India

Written by: Nairita Das
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London, Sept 10 (ANI): In a first of its kind in the UK, a primary school in London is reportedly outsourcing teaching to India to lead mathematics lessons for 11-year-olds, because Indian tutors are cheaper to hire than home-grown teachers.

According to The Telegraph, the Ashmount Primary school is using call centre-style staff in India to lead mathematics lessons, which cost 12 pounds an hour for each pupil, as a cheaper alternative to employing one-to-one tutors for children falling behind in the subject.

A private tutor in London reportedly costs around 40 pounds an hour.

The service, run by the firm BrightSpark Education, involves each pupil logging on to a special website and talking to a tutor via a headset. The completed work is then checked remotely by the Indian teacher.

The primary school in Islington is currently using the technology with half of its final year pupils, with plans to offer it to nine and 10-year-olds. The school had been approached by the company to pilot the system.

Rebecca Stacey, assistant head teacher said that the service had made a significant difference to her pupils' grasp of maths.

"We intend to roll it out so the whole of Year 6 is using it and perhaps down to Years 4 and 5. We try to keep every pupil with the same tutor. The kids really enjoy it. It is a different way of approaching the subject with children who might find it harder to engage with maths," she added.

A British-based entrepreneur, Tom Hooper, who employs 100 Indian-based tutors full time, devised the system. All are maths graduates with teaching experience, and are required to undergo security checks.

Although academics claimed that the move could be expanded to other schools in the county, many warned that it risked undermining teaching standards.

Dylan Wiliam, director of London University's Institute of Education, said: "As with many things in education, it¹s not a silly idea, but as we have discovered in recent years, a lot of things that appeared to be good ideas at the time turn out to be useless, or worse." (ANI)

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