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One third of Romanian students aged 15 take private lessons. What is our situation compared to other countries?

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A study released last year at the request of Dinu Patriciu Foundation shows that the market of private lessons in Romania was estimated at about 320 million Euros per year, 17% of the children aged between 6 and 19 taking private lessons.

Another important information about this topic was published last year as well at the same time with PISA results per 2009, one of the questions which more than a half of million students worldwide taking part in these tests had to answer was related to the number of hours of private lessons per weeks outside school classes, including also programs such as “after school”, which are less popular in Romania however.

Thus, 36.7% of the Romanian students (the representative sample was of over 5,000 people aged 15) declared that they took private lessons in Math, this being the fourth largest percentage among EU countries, we were surpassed only by Greece with 53%, Estonia with 52% and Latvia with almost 39%. Since in Romania, after school programs are scarce, additional preparation widely means private lessons.

However, the largest percentages worldwide are recorded in Asian countries: Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore, over two thirds of the students receive additional preparation, but unlike European countries, after school programs are widespread.

On the other hand, Finland is the opposite, where less than 9% of the students took private lessons in Math, this country constantly occupying the first place at PISA tests. In Sweden the percentage is just a bit higher: 12%.

As regards the duration of the private lessons in Math, almost 20% of Romanian students declared it does not exceed 2 hours a week, 10.1% declaring that the number of hours of private lessons per week is between 2 and 4. Other 5.4% of the students declared that the duration is 4-6 hours/week, while in the case of 1.6%, the duration is longer than 6 hours.

Further on, as can be seen in the chart (click on the image for zoom), 27.5% of the Romanian students declared that they take private lessons in Romanian as well as in other languages of international circulation (for OCDE countries, the percentage is 17.2%), 29% of the students take private lessons in sciences (Physics, Biology, Chemistry etc, the percentage in OCDE being 17.2%), and 27% take private lessons in other subjects (20.4% in OCDE). It is worth mentioning that some of the students take private lessons in several subjects, the average percentage being around the value of 30-33%.

In Romania, the salaries in the education system are low; however, it is obvious that private lessons are a huge market and if we link the amount of 320 million Euros to the 200,000 teachers this means approximately 1,600 Euros/years/teacher or 133 Euros per month. Certainly, not all teachers offer private lessons but many of them boost their incomes through such activities.


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