Date
26 March 2017
Students can get an answer from a tutoring app within seconds, and tutors don't need to spend time traveling to face-to-face classes. Photo: Snapask
Students can get an answer from a tutoring app within seconds, and tutors don't need to spend time traveling to face-to-face classes. Photo: Snapask

Why tutoring apps are catching on in Hong Kong

Tutoring apps are getting popular among students and tutors in Hong Kong.

Snapask is one of them.

The app’s concept is simple: provide students with instant assistance.

It works much like an Uber (the car-hailing app) for the tutoring business.

Students post their questions on the platform.

The app directs them to the right group of tutors, and those tutors compete for “orders”.

The tech start-up has a pool of more than 700 tutors, most of them college students.

“In general, tutors will reply in an average of 17 seconds,” Snapask founder Timothy Yu says.

Before such apps were available, students mainly attended cram schools for extra lessons after school.

Being cheaper and more flexible is Snapask’s key draw for students.

As regards tutors, they can make productive use of fragments of time — like when they are on a bus or when they are taking a break between college classes — to earn some extra bucks.

Students send their questions through a combination of texting, photos and voice messages.

A Snapask tutor gets paid about HK$5 (64 US cents) per question answered.

“Most students go to cram schools because their parents ask them to,” a Snapask tutor surnamed Chan told the Hong Kong Economic Journal Monthly.

“I have worked for those schools before, and some students kept yawning in the class. Some often arrived late, some left early and asked me to cover up for them.”

Chan said Snapask students are at least eager to learn and therefore take the initiative to approach tutors.

Revenue at Snapask, which was launched in January, has already reached about HK$100,000 a month.

So far, 15,000 students have tried the service.

Chan said he is never going to switch back to traditional tutoring.

“Face-to-face tutoring takes up too much travelling time,” he said.

By contrast, a tutor can respond to a Snapask question at any time and from anywhere, Chan said.

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FL

EJ Insight writer

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