Judge bars NY from hiring online Indian tutors

Company lied about location of its online tutors, who never submitted to background checks.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

In a landmark ruling, a judge in New York state has ruled that the New York Education Department cannot hire online Indian tutors because they can't be subjected to background checks, which are mandatory in the US, reports Times Now TV.

The judgement cancelled a contract with an American tutoring company that was using 250 Indian tutors. The tutors claimed they were based in Texas. New York City had contracted with Socratic Learning to provide online support for struggling students, according to The Sun.

"Socratic blatantly violated its contract and we are suspending their contract pending further action by the state," a Department of Education spokesman, Andrew Jacob, said. "We will notify parents of any students who enrolled with Socratic Learning this fall they should select" a new provider.

The ruling worries the online tutoring business in India, which is estimated to have a turnover of $5 million annually. This ruling only prohibits institutions from engaging overseas online tutoring. Many students hire private online tutors without going through an institution. However, the New York ruling, overseas online tutoring businesses fear, may pave the way for the US Education Department to monitor online private teachers.

"Earlier, we had a collaboration and then we got reviews from the US that we were teaching far better than the US teachers. That is why they are resorting to India," commented Swati Arora, an online tutor at Career Launcher. Shantanu Prakash, CEO, Educomp Solutions said: "The way we get students is through online advertising and through search engines like Google. So students who approach us are spending their own money and have the full liberty to choose their own tutor. So we are not directly affected."
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