Tutoring centres say demand soaring during pandemic

·2 min read

Two Ottawa tutoring centres say they're seeing demand for their services rise during the COVID-19 pandemic as students face difficulties keeping up with school.

With a large cohort of students learning at home over the past year, businesses like the Kanata Learning Centre and Kanata Psychology and Counselling Centre are "starting to struggle to keep up with the need," said executive director Rebecca Moore.

Moore said calls started to pour in during late summer and haven't stopped, especially with the recent lockdown. The centre is now seeing five to 10 times more requests for tutoring services, she said.

While those requests have come from a mix of ages, the majority of students have been seven-year-olds, Moore said, as that's when learning difficulties usually start to emerge.

They've also been tutoring many high school students who find the condensed "quadmester" or "octomester" schedules stressful, Moore said, and are struggling to keep up — especially since extra help sessions that normally would have taken place at lunch or during in-class conversations may not be happening.

The centre also works regularly with students with learning disabilities, a group Moore said she's been tutoring more than ever during the pandemic.

"These children already have difficulty being able to access the curriculum [and] feeling successful at school," said Moore, who's also a child psychologist.

"I think, probably, these are the students that we're going to see down the road who may be disproportionately affected by the changes associated with COVID."

'It's been really challenging'

The phones have also been ringing at Ottawa Tutoring, where requests for tutoring services are up by as much as 20 per cent over a normal year.

"We've just had a lot of interest in people trying to get caught up from last year with all of the school that was missed," said vice-president Kyra Cosman.

"With the new school format, it's been really challenging for, especially, high school students to stay on top of their studies, given the way that they're learning right now,"

The sheer number of tests has also proven stressful, Cosman said, with tests being held most days of the week.

She said their online services have increased dramatically, and they're struggling to find tutors who will perform in-person learning once the current COVID-19 restrictions are limited.

However, the online format has allowed her business to reach students outside of Canada — something, Cosman said, they plan to keep promoting even after the pandemic is over.