One of our prettiest hacks heads off up the yellow brick road

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 March, 2010, 12:00am

You never get rich working as a journalist. But you might strike gold if you become a tutorial king or queen. That is why we are glad to report that one of our prettiest hacks has decided to call it a day - and join the far more lucrative and wonderful world of private tutorial schools. Good on her, I say!

We hacks like to make fun of those tutors, but it's just a serious case of money envy. It seems only yesterday - or a few months ago - when Nickkita Lau was writing about those infamous schools. Star tutors there earn tens of millions by making video appearances and boasting about their ability to predict public exam questions. As she wrote in a news report for an English-language publication - not this one - on November 6 last year: 'When it comes to the wealth of knowledge - the big money [is] to be made from the pay-as-you-learn system of the tutorial school.' She certainly knows what's she is talking about, and has now acted on it.

I try to tell my expatriate colleagues that being a star tutor, especially one in English, is not about knowing the language, but guessing the exam questions right. The objective is not to help your pupils master the language but to score exam points. Now the new liberal studies programmes in secondary school might make that harder to deliver, but clever tutors will adapt. Nickkita, however, actually speaks and writes well. Those qualities might be new in the world of English tutoring.

Nickkita promises there will be no 'dead air' in her class and a 'sure win' for every student. Bow before the new tutorial queen. Now I am jealous.