Ren Yifan, employed in a local Japanese company, spends several evenings a week studying Japanese from a tutor, a junior Japanese major of the East China Normal University (ECNU).
"Though I'm quite ok with the spoken language, I have worked in Japan,I use the language with my Japanese colleagues and have some problems with the grammar," Ren said,"I need a teacher to help me grasp the basic rules".
In Shanghai, Ren is not alone in recruiting a tutor to brush up his language skills. Officials from the ECNU's tutor center, an intermediary institution providing private tutoring services, said the demand from working people is on the rise. Previously, tutors were mainly required for students of primary and secondary schools.
Educational experts described the new trend as a sign of the maturing of the private tutoring market. They also said it is a result of the intensifying competition in the job market.
"Adult education is in high demanded,because people need to keep their career skills up with the rate of technological development," said Professor Hu Wei, with Shanghai Educational Science Institution. Tutors, usually paid 30 yuan (US$3.6) an hour, are available in range of courses and most college students of various majors. Courses in highest demand are for computer skills and foreign languages.
A.Chun is studying pinyin, a system of characters explaining mandarin pronunciation. Working as an aid for a local family, she wants to improve her pronunciation to communicate better with them.
"The course I want is usually offered in primary school," she said. "But now I have a private teacher and can study based on my own schedule." She has only two years of education in her hometown.
(eastday.com April 11, 2002)