Nuha Ghouse founded Tutopiya, a live online tuition platform, way before remote learning became the new norm. Armed with a BSc in Mathematics from Imperial College London, she started by teaching students from leading private schools in the UK.
In 2018, she built Tutopiya while she was teaching students from international schools in Singapore. Not only was she determined to provide effective tuition, she was also focused on each student’s progress and engagement.
Today, Ghouse is able to offer affordable and scalable high-quality education online to students in over 25 different countries. Below we speak to her about pursuing a BSc in Mathematics in the UK and how it led to her start a global online tuition platform:
Where does your interest in mathematics come from?
Coincidentally, I had the most brilliant math tutor for my A-Levels which greatly inspired me. I always feel a good teacher can make all the difference in a student’s life. Thus, I became interested to pursue this at uni.
What made you choose to get your BSc in Mathematics at Imperial College London?
Imperial is a world-leading uni and has a strong reputation for STEM subjects. I also liked the fact it’s based in the centre of London in South Kensington — a picturesque area.
What classes stood out to you the most?
My BSc in Mathematics with Statistics for Finance was something I greatly enjoyed. This is because the courses incorporated financial elements.
They involved using mathematical modelling for real-world applications which caught my interest, especially the financial returns. The knowledge and awareness I gained with my BSc in Mathematics played a vital role in helping me secure an internship at a leading investment bank.
Then soon after, I got a job post-graduation in the financial sector.
What skills did you gain during your time as a BSc in Mathematics student abroad that you still use today?
I learned to be independent, organised, and most of all learned how to manage my time. I took a lot for granted when I had a support system at home.
In addition, I learned how to cook, do my laundry, wash dishes, and much more. This, of course, all comes in handy.
Now, walk us through Tutopiya and how the online tuition platform began.
I was determined to form a live online tutoring experience that was effective. I wanted to help students who travelled long distances in public transport to my home.
I realised the options for teaching live online were limited and ineffective. As a parent and tutor, I saw the limitations and inconveniences both parties face with home tuition.
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In addition to time, effort and money wasted, there was also a lack of visibility of a student’s progress and how well the tutor engaged with them. My vision was to build a complete online teaching and learning platform addressing these gaps.
How does Tutopiya hope to address some of the shortcomings of education systems?
We want to give students in Malaysia international qualifications so they can get global opportunities. Here, Tutopiya makes the international curricula accessible and affordable for not only students in Malaysia, but worldwide.
We want students to not be constrained to the national education system which may not be taught in English, be holistic or be globally accepted.
What are your views on the return to the “new normal” amidst COVID-19 challenges?
This will give students the benefits of different learning modes. Students will have to adapt to be more flexible and learn how to minimise disruptions to their education.
By excelling in this new dynamic environment, they can make use of online learning since it’s so accessible and convenient.
Remote learning more relevant than ever. What’s Tutopiya’s role in this?
My platform is focused on the remote setting and this was way before COVID-19 impacted the learning setup. One-to-one online teaching has many benefits.
Tutopiya has many sophisticated features which make online learning effective. This is through lesson recording for student revision, advanced tutor booking features, teaching resources, practice assignments, and tutor-student chat system to name a few.
We teach multiple subjects and our mobile app offers access to all of these features on the go. In addition, we also have an extensive and well-trained global network of experienced subject and curriculum tutors.
What about the obstacle of round-the-clock communication?
We have an excellent tech team that is continuously working on this improvement on the platform. However, lesson booking, lesson recording, homework uploading and feedback, and chat features are all part of the benefits at Tutopiya.
With this, to make it more exclusive and personal for the students, we offer an assessment of the child after each session to improve their learning standards. We also collect feedback and incorporate them into our platform and internal processes.
Do you think Asia is ready for a fully-digital online tuition experience?
Definitely, students and parents have adapted during this pandemic. Although there are pros and cons to remote learning, there are also pros and cons to physical learning.
Improvements in technology and better training of teachers to use it will ensure digital learning a place at the forefront.
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What’s one thing most graduates didn’t know until they started their careers?
It’s important to gain work experience through part-time jobs and internships. These impart valuable skills and knowledge that prepares graduates to begin their careers.
It’s also an area often overlooked as academics are made a priority.
Do you wish you studied more of something during your time abroad?
Teaching and education-related courses would have better equipped me for my current role.
If you could turn back time, what advice would you give yourself?
Follow your passion instead of following others. It’s the story of my own journey that has brought me to where I am today.
What about your first paycheck? How did you spend it?
I bought gifts and treated my family and friends who supported me throughout the years. I also saved some for my final year as a BSc in Mathematics student abroad.
For you, is work satisfaction, salary, social life or a balance more important and why?
Work satisfaction, when you’re passionate about what you do, you can make such a significant and positive impact. This can be on your colleagues, customers and you can be an inspiration to future generations.
Since you have a BSc in Mathematics and an interest in finance, what budgeting tips do you have for international students?
My BSc in Mathematics was my first study abroad experience as is the case for many undergrad students. So my advice is the following:
- Learn how to cook before you leave the nest — this will help prevent you from overspending to eat out
- Choose a uni campus based in a big city because accommodation costs are higher in campuses based on the outskirts
- Attend a financial literacy course online (there are many for free) which help you better understand how to budget
- Have a go-to list of where to source supplies at the lowest price point — do some online research and ask other students to help you compile this