Private tutoring is one of the least discussed and calculated areas in financing of education in Nepal. In rural areas, we see a lot of students taking private tuition classes of Science Mathematics and English. They usually begin the class from grade 8 and it becomes a must when they are preparing for SLC. In urban areas, its trend seems higher. Rich people hire private teachers at their own homes and they are ready to pay even big amount of money for the sake of their kids. In cities, we see a lot of private tuition institutes. The students of schools, colleges and even of universities go to such institutes. In a sense, taking private tuition has become a sort of fashion to the ‘urban’ students. Since last few years, in the name of bridge courses too, the kind of private institutes are increasing. But, in general, people do not take it as the cost of education. The cost of IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, GRE also do come under this kind of cost.  How much money do we invest on such private tutoring in a year? The government budget does not say anything. But, the question is questionable. And, it needs to be studied. 

What is the trend around here?

The scale, modes of operation, and implications of supplementary private tutoring have been seriously neglected both in policy debates and in the academic literature (Bray, 1999b). In some countries such tutoring is a massive enterprise. For example: A Sri Lankan survey found that in Colombo, 60 percent of Ordinary Level students and 84 percent of Advanced Level students received private tutoring (de Silva 1994, 4).  In the Republic of Korea, private tutoring consumed 37.4 percent of out-of-school education expenditures in 1994 (Paik 1995, 24), far exceeding the proportions devoted to books (19.3 percent), stationery (7.4 percent), transportation (6.4 percent), or uniforms, boarding, and other expenses (29.5 percent).  A 1992 survey of urban parts of Bangladesh found that 65 percent of pupils in government primary schools received private tutoring, which consumed 43 percent of the direct private costs of education for the total number of parents in the sample (World Bank 1996, 53).

Private tutoring has also been shown to be a substantial activity in parts of Cambodia (ADB 1996a; Bray 1999a), Malaysia (Marimuthu et al. 1991), Myanmar (Gibson 1992), and Singapore (George 1992). While more research is needed on the topic, some points are clear: Private tutoring is a major sphere of activity, not only in prosperous countries but also in impoverished ones. Private tutoring is growing. In societies such as Hong Kong, China and Singapore where it has long roots, it is expanding, while in countries where it was not previously evident, such as the PRC andViet Nam, it has emerged. 

Private tutoring is found at all levels, but is especially common in the years in which students take public examinations, both primaries (where relevant) and secondary .he organizational structures for private tutoring are varied. Some tutoring is individualized and takes place in either the clients’ or the tutors’ homes. At the other end of the scale are institutions that operate from many campuses. Some enterprises even operate on an international basis. Kumon, which is a company specializing in mathematics tutoring and is headquartered in Japan, is an example. The quality of private tutoring is very varied. In few societies do governments set (let alone enforce) regulations on teacher qualifications, class size, etc. Much tutoring is of the “cramming” type, with very questionable pedagogical characteristics. 

According to Bray (1999), private tutoring may be found in both rural and urban areas, though it is more common in the latter than in the former. It is far from certain that the unfettered growth of private tutoring, which has become a feature of many societies, is desirable. He further says that governments should at least monitor the scale and nature of private tutoring, so that they are aware not only of its impact on household budgets but also of its implications for the quality and effectiveness of mainstream schooling. Private tutoring is an instrument for maintaining or increasing social and geographic inequalities. While it presumably gives good private rates of return to the individual clients, it is not self-evidently an activity deserving encouragement.

Tuition is a good income source

‘Dil sir, I will call you back in an hour; I am in a tuition class’. Pralad, a teacher of kasthmandap replied me last week. How much fee do you charge? I asked him. It depends on the family but they pay me aath hajar in a month. But I teach in three different homes Woow! That’s great. You know I teach Nepali; Science, maths teachers earn more than that..’ Hora? In schools also they pay that much? I asked him. You know kasthmandap is not an ordinary school. They pay about 16 thousand per months in grade one! Hamra bachcha teha padhna sakdainan sir; he told me raising his eye brow. I did not say anything. I was thinking of my class of Financing of Education at university. I was even comparing the cost levels of an ordinary school and such schools. Moreover, I heard the unheard echo of Dr.Lamsal, our facilitator. In a class he had taken a reference of Prof.Bray who had done research on the ‘shadow of education’ in Nepal. Pralad came closer to me and said, ‘sir, katai vaye vannu hai, yo season ma tuition bata 4/5 lakha kamaune plan chhha”. ‘Sir, to be honest, tuition is a good income source for a teacher”. It really touched me and made interested in knowing more things about the topic.

To teach at homes, I teach in schools

‘Why don’t you come every day in class?’ I had asked the question to one of my students in IELTS. “I am busy sir”, he immediately replied. I again asked the question, ‘‘what do you do?”  “I am a school teacher. I teach in a private school. Beside this, I also a home tutor”. He told me these statements continuously. I tried to convince him that IELTS cannot be done without much practice. Otherwise, it will be just waste of time and money. Normally, an institute charge Rs. 5000 from a student for the course. And, the students have to pay Rs.13, 800 to British Council for the registration of examination. That means a student has to pay a lot. The opportunity cost is another matter. Then, I told my student to teach only school in day time so that the rest of the time will be useful to practice IELTS. But, he replied me that he teaches schools to teach at homes. He further clarified it. Most private schools; they don’t pay well. He gets paid only Rs.5500 in a month. But, he makes more money than that from tuition. If he says he is a school teacher of a school, it becomes easy to get home tuition. That’s why, he cannot leave his school. 

Castle made a house

I have been working as an IELTS instructor in different institutes in Kathamndu.  But, I am almost a regular teacher at Castle at Kumaripat, Lalitpur. The institute is one of the oldest and biggest language institutes in Patan. As R.B Maharjan, the proprietor of Castle says it is a good business. He was at Pulchok before but he had moved in Kumaripati six years back. Since then, he made good money and with the income of the institute, he made a house very recently. When he was telling his successful story, I was thinking of the cost of education; source of income and ‘shadow’ of education. 

My Reflection

I am a teacher. I had started teaching since 2055 BS. I have taught in different schools and colleges in Kathmandu and out of Kathmandu valley. I still remember of ‘first’ salary. I was a teacher in Bhu Pu Sainaik Rising English School at Rampur in Palpa. I used to teach mathematics for lower secondary students. My salary was Rs.1800. but, in the morning and in the evening, I used to teach tuition classes for SLC students in Bejhad, the city center of Rampur. I used to teach almost five groups in a day. And, I used to make more than Rs. 20,000 in a month! In fact, with that money I had come to Kathmandu for my higher studies. Even in Kathmandu, I used to take tuition classes very often. But, I had never thought seriously about the financing of education in the way. I happened to know this kind of hidden reality only after taking the class of Financing of Education in MPhil.Governments divide the budget in education. Whatever the portion comes, it comes as a fact and the financing of education is seen from that perspectives. But, the cost of private tutoring has not been counted yet. It is unseen but it is there. We also hear the news that there is free education; we don’t need to pay fee in schools and so on. But, is it really free? As Dr.Lamsal, our facilitator says ‘no education is free’. And, the area of private tutoring is almost unnoticed. My study is simply an example. We need to be more conscious in days to come. As a student of financing of education, we might need to raise this issue up to the higher levels of government. 


  • M. Bray (2002). The Costs and Financing of Education: Trends and Policy Implications.
  • Education in Developing Asia. Asian Development Bank Comparative Education    Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong.
  • World Bank. ( 1993). The East Asian Miracle: Economic Growth and Public
  • Policy. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Castle (2014). Kumaripati, Lalitpur.

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