Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Picture of the Day: A Flashy Education

Would you hire a tutor from this school based on their appearance?
What is it with Hong Kong's tutoring schools? They splash out on billboards, spaces on the outside of buses and of course magazines and newspapers to promote themselves.

But in these advertisements they hardly look scholarly. In fact they look... posh.

Some schools show off their tutors in tuxedos and ballroom gowns and wearing make up, as if emulating a soap opera about upper-crust society.

Dr F Shum, chief English consultant at King's Glory explained that "appearance is important as a marketing strategy. It is the first passport for getting students into the classroom."

His colleague Alan Chan concurs. "Take the example of David Beckham. First, the public focused on his appearance and charm, and then became interested in soccer. Students may attend my class because of my first impression, but after what holds them is their desire to learn English," he says.

Are students and more importantly, their parents that shallow?

Tutoring schools shell out for big billboard advertisements
One would expect parents would prefer the tutors they hired looked more professional in suits than flashing some skin or wearing a tux.

Or would it just fuel more boyhood fantasies of having a tutor show up in a cocktail dress and give some "life" lessons instead of academics? Or a female student look dreamily at her male tutor who was easy on the eyes?

But apparently these eye-catching ads do bring in the students.

Some tutors make enough to own a Lamborghini, as evidenced by Tutor King's Richard Eng, who owns a yellow one.

And academics is supposed to be blind when it comes to appearance...

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