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Cambridge high school students create a free tutoring network

Cambridge students create a free tutoring network aimed to removing financial roadblocks and bridging gaps in the education system
InQuisitive founders Muhammad Ali Naseer, left, and Kean Rafael Floresca pose for a photo at Glenview Park Secondary School in Cambridge.

Two Cambridge students have started a free tutoring program to help bridge the gaps in the education system while offering students a chance at volunteer hours. 

Muhammad Ali Naseer and Kean Rafael Floresca, two grade 11 students at Glenview Park Secondary School have come up with an idea to break down learning on a peer-to-peer level completely free of charge. 

"Growing up as a kid I always had that one good connection with that really young teacher so I want to recreate that with these kids," said Floresca. "Whenever I related with my teacher, I learned a lot more. So this peer to peer situation I think is very beneficial for these students."

The two Cambridge students came up with InQuisitive, an online based tutoring service that has already amassed over 25 students customers in the four months they've been operational. 

Students from kindergarten to Grade 12 are accepted into the program where they learn from high school or university students who volunteer their time to help teach. 

This initiative is 100 per cent volunteer based and relies on support from local initiatives like the Youth Creativity Fund to sustain itself and help advertise to the community. 

"We've learned how to make websites, learned how to manage people and I wouldn't be able to do and learn these things without this fund," added Naseer. "It really enables us to help others."

Naseer came up with the idea for InQuisitive while he was working part-time for Kumon, a popular tutoring service. When he was working he noticed that from the months of January to March, Kumon would be completely full, but then the rest of the year it would be steady. 

"I asked my boss why the busy rush during those months and he told me that those are the months where they offer the service for free," said Naseer. "This means that all of these kids are only going there, because it was free and they would not be able to otherwise." 

Noticing this discrepancy in the flow of students and how they relied on the free trial period, a light bulb went off and he thought, why not make it free all year round. 

Through this idea of wanting to offer free one-on-one education to their peers, Nasser and Floresca knew that more students would sign up if money was not a factor. 

The two Cambridge students reached out to friends and asked if they wanted to volunteer their time to help tutor others. They now have a small network of tutors that teach math and French with physics coming soon. 

The issue that InQuisitive is running into now is that there is more demand than their team of tutors can currently handle. 

"We are actively looking for volunteers who would like to help," said Nasser. "Any hours worked here can go toward community service hours and it looks great on a resume." 

Anyone looking to apply to become a tutor can find more information on their website and fill out a form. 

With Nasser and Floresca currently in grade 11, they will only be able to run InQuisitive for one more year. This exit of current leadership will not mean the end of the free tutoring network as they plan on passing it on to the next round of high schoolers. 

"We are looking at bringing in younger grade nine students who we can start giving smaller leadership roles to in hopes that we can pass it on and they can run it," added Nasser. 

With the help of the Youth Creativity Fund these young students are making a difference in their community and helping bridge the gap for those who might not otherwise have access to these services. 

"We are just so grateful to be in this position and hope to help as many kids learn as we can," said Nasser.