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Photo credit: YOUTH.SG/AUDREY LEONG

The obsession with tuition

Does Singapore really need to depend on so much tuition?

Audrey Leong
Audrey Leong

Published: 9 December 2016, 1:07 AM

Singapore has long been known as a country full of tuition.

These classes, originally meant for students to catch up on the school curriculum, have now become a staple of Singaporean life with many top students enrolling just to stay at the top.

However, a recent report that tuition may not be as effective has left Singaporeans wondering: is tuition really necessary?

What's happening?

In a recent study by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), students enrolled in tuition classes fared worse than their peers who did not have any tuition classes. This came as a surprise to Singaporeans, especially since seven out of ten students here attend tuition classes.

Some netizens felt the results proved that Singaporeans are over reliant on tuition.

One mother said that if a student takes the effort to listen in class, then tuition classes are unnecessary.

One of the comments from a netizen
NETIZENS FELT THAT STUDENTS SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN LEARNING. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/STRAITS TIMES

 

However, some netizens argue that as a result of tuition, school teachers are becoming more complacent, relying on tutors to supplement the syllabus taught in classrooms.

With practice, everything (including math) is possible
ONE NETIZEN’S REASON AS TO WHY TUITION IS NECESSARY IN THIS DAY AND AGE PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/STRAITS TIMES

 

The widespread tuition culture has led to Singaporean parents spending at least one billion dollars on tuition fees every year. With rising tuition fees, less privileged students who cannot afford tutors are at a disadvantage, especially if they are unable to keep up with their peers in the classroom.

Priscilla Phang, 19, a Ngee Ann Polytechnic student said: “It’s sad that those who don’t need tuition [because they’re already doing well at school] can pay to get tuition classes that help them stay on top, while those who are really in need of tuition may not be able to get it.”

On the other hand, some have argued that tuition is necessary, especially for those who require that extra push to bridge the gap.

19-year-old Colin Chan said: “Tuition really helped me to understand my subjects better, which helped me to do better during my exams.”

Colin, who took tuition for English, Mathematics and Science while in secondary school, added: “My teachers [at school] implied that it was up to my personal learning to understand the subject. But you can’t understand something you don’t know.”

His grades improved from a C grade to an A grade in roughly half a year.

Another comment, this netizen felt tuition was overrated
“PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, A STATEMENT ESPECIALLY TRUE FOR MATHEMATICS PAPERS,” SAID GAYLE LIN. PHOTO CREDITS: YOUTH.SG/AUDREY LEONG

 

Another student, Gayle Lin, 19, credited tuition for motivating her to do better in  Mathematics.

She felt that her tuition was effective because she was made to do sum after sum with help available if the students got stuck.

“Tuition is only good if you get a class that you can work in, and sometimes all you need to be better is that extra push to practice,” Gayle said.


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