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Education Roundtable

Tuition: Is It A Real Necessity? Or A Perceived Necessity?

“As much as the demand for tuition is determined by actual need to a certain extent, it is driven even more by perceived need; that is, there is huge overconsumption of this good” (Read More). Do you agree that students and parents subscribe to the “tuition mantra” without genuinely comprehending the needs of the student, or is tuition really an important necessity? With the growth of tuition, and corresponding tuition centres and tutors, we want to hear about your opinions on tuition in Singapore (personal and general perspectives).

Fiona Ng (Miss). Being someone who provides personal tuition myself, I have experienced first-hand the anxiety of parents and the stress of their children when faced with the education system here. It may be an individual issue as to whether tuition is required, depending on the student’s learning style (whether he or she is self-motivated or not) and ability.

However, I must note that having taught students who have spent a good part of their elementary school education in the United States before joining Upper Primary in Singapore, the learning environment here is certainly more stressful and competitive. There is a definite link between the stress due to exams and grades, and the impetus for having tuition. I also think that tuition has become a “necessity” out of the intense competition for entry into good schools or courses, and the chase for paper qualifications.

Lee Jie Yang (Mr.): Perhaps. The toughest part at the end of the day however, is probably this: getting the right tutor.

Lee Jie Yang (Mr.). Education is, after all, a long term investment. I certainly do not enjoy the fact that at some centres, spoon-feeding of knowledge is all that’s done. It may create sponges of knowledge; squeeze once and most of it is gone. But this may be a short-term solution for late bloomers, which our education system is not all-encouraging towards.

To be honest, the amount to be learnt at each level of education is constantly increasing, and tuition could just help you get that edge over others. After all, it was meant to be supplementary in nature. In that case, the benefit would outweigh the monetary cost. Overconsumption would thus cease to exist.

Perhaps we’ve got it all wrong about the inherent value of tuition. Perhaps. The toughest part at the end of the day however, is probably this: getting the right tutor. (Tuition That We May Have To Believe In).

Howard Chiu (Mr.). This problem of tuition is exacerbated by the fact that tuition centres aggressively market themselves in this competitive but lucrative market. Spurred on by the huge profit margins, advertisements continuously tell parents that their kids do need tuition and that tuition does help to improve grades. They then proceed to slap huge lists of students who have attended their classes and their grades in major examinations, and some even provide testimonials from parents or students who have been in these classes.

I’m not saying that tuition is bad – it can help some students reach the level of academic performance they should be hitting, but it should not be the hard and fast rule for every case of academic underperformance and definitely should not be seen as such. (Tuition We Don’t Have To Believe In).

Some of the posts have been edited for length before publication (150 words). For the complete set of responses, do visit the FaceBook page. Also, do visit the Education Roundtable page, and give your opinions on next week’s issue!

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.


2 thoughts on “Tuition: Is It A Real Necessity? Or A Perceived Necessity?

  1. This is a really insightful and balanced article about tuition in Singapore.

    Posted by mathtuition88 | May 23, 2013, 1:50 am
  2. I just think self study is the best of all,let it be the world’s best of the tuitions.but ,but for competitive exams particularly iit jee the tuitions are must no the normal ones but some great such as vidyamandir or fitt jee

    Posted by Mohammad Sabih | September 17, 2013, 12:27 am

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