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Tuitions - Are they Really Necessary?


I was at a social function last week at a lovely café at tea-time when I suddenly saw a flurry of activity all around me like a mini-tsunami. Mums all looking at the time, saying hurried goodbyes and zipping off when the party was still in full swing. Upon further enquiry, I found out that they were all rushing to either pick up or drop off their children for tuition classes. I was pretty shocked when I heard this simply because all these mums had children under the age of ten!

I mulled over this all evening……..tuitions for children in preschool, Primary 1, Primary 2 and Primary 3? I did grow up in the 1980’s when academics were a strong point in schools, but we used to play in the park every evening, not go to tuitions! Which prompted me to ask the next question – are tuitions really necessary?

One reason many parents had for sending their 7-year olds for tuitions is because these classes would give them the necessary revision of what is being done in school. My question is, would you not want your child to revise his lessons on his own? If you depend on tutors at such an early age, would your children ever learn to depend on themselves to revise their daily lessons? Instead, your children should be taught the discipline to spend a few minutes each day going through their school lessons. A good way to inculcate this is by sitting with them while they do this. Teach them how to revise and then do your own thing (read a book, check your emails, have your lunch) while your child revises. This will show him that he is not alone. Soon, he will be able to do this on his own.

Another reason why tuitions are known to be necessary is because lessons taught in school are not fully understood. While this may be acceptable in older children, I still find it difficult to digest in young children. Some of the quality time you spend with your children can be spent in helping them with these lessons. If your children are much older and you are not able to assist them with their curriculum, tuitions may be necessary as these tutors are trained and experienced to explain lessons one-on-one, which your child may need at some point.

A common complaint from parents of children who study in our government schools is that teachers don’t teach much in school as they want to encourage the students to attend their private classes where they do make more money. Add to this the fact that there are over 40 students in a class in these schools whereas there may be a quarter of this number in a private tuition class.  Many parents fork out large sums of money for private one-on-one tuitions.

Your child may be studying in a government school or an international school and still need private tuition if he is an average or lower than average student. You want these children to get the additional push so they are not left behind in their class. Some children are not very good with their Math or their English. These are kids who need the extra help or else they will just slide down the marks ladder when it comes to exams. A few months of intensive tuitions is sometimes all they need to be at the same level as their classmates.

If your child is sitting for board exams, you might want to help him or her with their revision for a few months before these exams start. Many popular tuition teachers are reputed to help your child score straight A’s with the strategies they use. Their teachers have years of experience behind them and it is probably worthwhile to get your child to these centers so they get the confidence and skills to excel.

To send or not to send your child to tuitions is something each parent needs to look at subjectively. Just because your friend’s child is going for a class, it does not mean you should send your child too. Ascertain the needs of your child by looking at his level of understanding of a subject, his grades and talk to his class and subject teacher, if needed.