India has well-educated math, engineering and science graduates. U.S. companies want low-cost tutors, especially with all the federal money now available to help students in low-achieving schools. Students are more accustomed to working online.
NEW DELHI AND CHICAGO — Somit Basak’s tutoring style is hardly unusual. The engineering graduate spices up lessons with games, offers rewards for excellent performance, and tries to keep his students’ interest by linking the math formulas they struggle with to real-life examples they can relate to.
Unlike most tutors, however, Mr. Basak lives thousands of miles away from his students — he is a New Delhi resident who goes to work at 6 a.m. so that he can chat with American students doing their homework around dinnertime.
Indian tutors get their students’ textbooks and lessons in U.S. teaching styles and American accents.
“I find that we tutors also need to shower a lot of praise for the students’ good work,” (Basak) says, “which is very uncommon in India.”
Teachers’ union officials say there’s no quality control for offshore tutors. As a volunteer tutor, let me add there’s no quality control for face-to-face, American-to-American tutors either.
Tutoring online or by phone is not going to work for everyone, especially for younger students. However, the cost is less than half for Indian tutors, and their math and science knowledge is first-rate. They’ll be a factor.