University students offer low-priced tutoring for neighbors
University students offer low-priced tutoring for neighbors
  • Lee Min-jeong
  • 승인 2013.03.04 16:15
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The University Student Tutoring Union links student tutors and the local community at 150,000 won, which is half the average tutoring fee. Photo by Lee Min-jeong.

Although university students consider tutoring as one of the most preferred part-time jobs for earning money, actually getting a tutoring job is not always easy. Those who seek tutoring lessons also have difficulty finding a qualified tutor at a reasonable price. To bring these groups together, undergraduates gathered to create the first tutoring association, the University Student Tutoring Union.
After conceiving the idea for the union in June 2012, Lee Keon-wook (Kyung Hee University, 4) gathered his two friends and started from posting flyers near churches, beauty salons, and supermarkets around Imun-dong and Hoegi-dong. They advertised themselves as tutors receiving only 150,000 won monthly for two lessons per week regardless of the age and subject.
“We fixed the price after reducing the price bubble in tutoring, thinking students would be able to earn about half of their allowance without any extra expenses,” Park Gi-ung (Hankuk University of Foreign Language, 4) said.
The result turned out to be a complete failure.
“I think the reason was lack of promotion, as we had tried to reach the parents indirectly, by merely passing out fliers,” Lee said.
However, the second opportunity knocked at Lee’s door that autumn. One of his class assignments required the students to serve the community by designing their own team projects that could improve the local residents’ quality of life.
“Though we had already failed once, I persuaded the other three members that the tutor project matched the assignment’s goal perfectly,” Lee said. “I was confident  that it would provide a secure job for students having a hard time searching for tutoring jobs while allowing local parents to afford tutoring lessons for their children at half the average tutoring fee.”
To target this “niche market,” the members conducted a survey on Kyung Hee University students and neighboring parents about their monthly living expenses and private education expenses, respectively. The results revealed approximately 1.3 million for students and 400,000 won for parents. With this in mind, the members then started advertising Lee’s idea once more, not only because it was a “good” act but because they also considered it a necessary link. This time, they also altered their promotion method to directly meeting the parents at apartments, communitiy centers and even elementry or middle schools.
Based on the basic price, the union newly established rules for group tutoring and set prices that vary according to the tutoring time or members. Nevertheless, the maximum price in all of these cases does not exceed 250,000 won. During the entire process of recruiting tutors and connecting them with parents on a first-come first-served basis, there is no extra cost except a 3,000 won fee.
“We are collecting fees from every member and we plan to donate the sum to a place in need every three months,” Lee said.
Currently, the number of the union members hovers around 100 students from Kyung Hee University, Hankuk University of Foreign Language and the University of Seoul, and 15 of them were connected with the parents as tutors. The idea also gained sudden popularity, affecting the union in both positive and negative aspects.
“We are glad of the increase in members, but we still need more parents to meet our supply of tutors,” Lee said. “As our initial goal was to provide tutoring service for the local community, occasionally receiving requests from other regions make us feel the necessity of having a more settled standard to run this group.”
The union members are planning to ask for an approval from the Seoul Metropolitan Government as a registered union, since the group will then become eligible for supports and promotion from the city government. Moreover, a special lecture providing various events in students’ fields of expertise is planned to be held once a month.
The union says that it is good by definition to help others and seeing the community members happy makes its work worth it.
“I think unions like us might be the solution in tutoring for both students and parents,” Lee said. “Why don’t Ewha students also give it a try?”

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