Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Outsourced tutoring

I was wondering how long this would take... online collaboration tools plus broadband make it easy to outsource individualized tutoring. From today's Times. I don't think this type of tutoring is limited to English. As mentioned in the article, one can also find math or science tutors in India at bargain prices. Why not have college-level tutoring in subjects like calculus, Java programming or organic chemistry? The potential is limitless as long as the labor cost disparity is so high. Growing Stars' margins are huge -- once this becomes commonplace I imagine companies could be profitable charging $10 per hour on the US end and still paying twice a college professor's salary in India.

Note that this could eventually work both ways. A lot of Americans (and Canadians, Australians, etc.) make a good living teaching English in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc. Eventually, we might have tutors based here teaching kids in those countries (after the inevitable currency revaluation sends the dollar down against Asian currencies :-) I'm told that Skype is already overrun with people from China and other countries wanting to practice their English with native speakers.

Twice a week for a month now, Ms. Salin, who grew up speaking the Indian language Malayalam at home, has been tutoring Daniela in English grammar, comprehension and writing.

Using a simulated whiteboard on their computers, connected by the Internet, and a copy of Daniela's textbook in front of her, she guides the teenager through the intricacies of nouns, adjectives and verbs.

Daniela, an eighth grader at Malibu Middle School, said, "I get C's in English and I want to score A's," and added that she had given no thought to her tutor being 20,000 miles away, other than the situation feeling "a bit strange in the beginning."

She and her sister, Serena, 10, a fourth grader at Malibu Elementary, are just 2 of the 350 Americans enrolled in Growing Stars, an online tutoring service that is based in Fremont, Calif., but whose 38 teachers are all in Cochin. They offer tutoring in mathematics and science, and recently in English, to students in grades 3 to 12.

Five days each week, at 4:30 a.m. in Cochin, the teachers log on to their computers just as students in the United States settle down to their books and homework in the early evening.

Growing Stars is one of at least a half-dozen companies across India that are helping American children complete their homework and prepare for tests.

As in other types of outsourcing, the driving factor in "homework outsourcing," as the practice is known, is the cost. Companies like Growing Stars and Career Launcher India in New Delhi charge American students $20 an hour for personal tutoring, compared with $50 or more charged by their American counterparts.

Growing Stars pays its teachers a monthly salary of 10,000 rupees ($230), twice what they would earn in entry-level jobs at local schools.


Carson C. Chow said...

The irony is irresistible, Americans use teachers in India to tutor them in English! And you were worried
that our students were wasting their time boning up on Melville instead of Cohen-Tannoudji. If only they could read Melville.

Anonymous said...

Makes sense because their English language skills are better than most other countries and some Americans, but what do you if your kids pick up some Indian/English quirks?

Mike Reardon said...

We could add VoIP, Skype, or Google Talk, and Podcasting for proper phrasing, also CMR, or Product Life-Cycle software, for subject sequencing. Now with that as the students base, the online tourting can be reduced to half that cost, teachers and lawyers also, may be in for some changes.

Razib Khan said...

i have heard that broadband availability and reliability are limiting factors for india in this field. east asian countries have a better infrastructure....

Math Tutors Tutoring said...

I am searching a best outsource from a long time but after seeing this article my search is complete. guys, it is the best article for me and all student. thereafter thanks to all of you for comment on it article.

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