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  • Parents should spend more on tuition despite Singapore having a world class education system

    12:48pm on Monday 26th September 2016



    Parents should spend more on tuition despite Singapore having a world class education system


    In a recent Household Expenditure Survey, it was calculated that an estimate of $1.1 billion is spend on tuition a year in Singapore. And the figures are expected to rise. Tuition centres have increased fivefold since 1998 according to a recent Shin Min Daily News Report. Tuition centres interviewed by The Straits Times reported increases of between 10 to 30% in student intake from last year. Some has even seen their number double, with the opening of new branches.

    As we all know, the topic on tuition is controversial and many people have different views regarding this matter which led to much scrutiny in this line of business.

    The main question lies, why are parents willing to spend so much on tuition despite Singapore having a world class education system?


    The Singapore society:

    Singapore is a result orientated country. The hard truth is that if you don’t have a decent qualification, most likely you can prepare to become a second class citizen just earning a meagre monthly salary. This leads to parents’ over emphasis on their child’s education and the paper chase to get a minimum degree certification if they aspire to be something better than a “road-sweeper”. Having good grades determines your next path is what we hear since we entered primary school for most Singaporean students.

    As what Jeraldine from jeraldinephneah.com shared in an article titled “Why is the Singapore education system so stressful”, we mustn’t forget the cold hard truth that in Singapore, grades are tantamount in helping one find a job in the government sector, the biggest and most substantial employer in the island that we live in.

    This snowballs to the reason why parents are more than willing to fork up that extra sum of tuition fees for their children just because they feel it’s crucial to have a competitive edge over other students.

    A quote from a recent article by Straits Times, Opinion section published 9th July 2015: “No, but how long can we hold out” says:

    "Times have changed. Kids are smarter these days," my daughter's science teacher replied when I asked why the science questions were so tough.

    This is a question we must ask ourselves, are times really changing or the gap between the smart and the less intellectual students, the richer and the less wealthy parents is widening?  There is no doubt the curriculum is transforming to become increasingly challenging but we cannot simply attribute the reason back to kids being more intellectual. Instead, we have to admit that the rat race for success is gradually becoming more intense in the country we live in.


    Singapore’s schooling system:

    Lessons in Singapore as we know are delivered on a “one size fits all” basis, conducted within a maximum class size of 40. Lectures are conducted this way to efficiently spread out knowledge to a large group of people.

    However, this could do more harm than good as mass lectures like these can only benefit auditory learners where hearing is their most effective method in absorbing information. Other students with different learning abilities such as visual learners are going to be at a loss because if the teachers do not make use of pictures or charts, they will absorb lesser information as compared to their peers who are auditory learners. According to a recent research survey on learning styles, only 35% of students have knowlegde to their leaning styles and understand how it affects them.

    To avoid this problem, parents send their children to tuition centres or 1 to 1 tuition at home where their child can have more attention and are free to ask any questions, to clear any doubt. 7 in 10 parents thus prefer to send their children to tuition according to a recent Straits TImes poll, dated July 4th, 2015. 

    In an article posted by “Satish K Paul” in Saching.com titled “Disadvantages of tuition for children”, it mentions that:

    “This is a waste of time because the child learns almost the same things that are taught in the school. This can lead to reinforced learning according to some people, but the truth is that the child is simply wasting the time, when the child could have studied or learned something  useful in that time.”

    Everyone was born differently, some more intellectual than the other and some more privileged than the person next to him in school. In this diagram below, it clearly shows that not every person in the world has the same intelligence; therefore, everyone absorbs information differently. There are bound to be people like Mr Satish who does not need tuition, while there might be others who do not have the capability to learn within the same time frame, with the same help given. This is why tuition is being put into consideration by parents.




    Mr Satish also selfishly puts tuition into his own perspective where everyone is born on the same level with the same amount of privilege. But we all know that is not true as everyone is born of a different status. Some families have only each other to rely on when it comes to their child’s revision whereas some are able to afford star tutors.