Singapore’s endless love affair with private tuition just got deeper with Covid-19 | Malay Mail

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SINGAPORE, Aug 15 — Housewife Santi Choo’s two children briefly had Chinese tuition but by and large, she never believed in sending them for private tuition — not even when her older daughter sat for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) some years ago. Covid-19, however, changed all...

SINGAPORE, Aug 15 — Housewife Santi Choo’s two children briefly had Chinese tuition but by and large, she never believed in sending them for private tuition — not even when her older daughter sat for the Primary School Leaving Examination some years ago.

This is by no means a small sum for Choo, who is working part-time at a food stall, while her husband does a mix of odd and contract jobs while searching for permanent work. “If your child is in a good class in a good school, then most, if not all, of their classmates have tuition in each subject. That is why they got into that class in the first place. That is how they are going to keep up with the pace that the teacher goes in that class,” she added.

For instance, at SLC School of Language and Communication, the centre which specialises in English and Chinese tuition wasted no time in offering auxiliary “top-up classes” for students who might require additional support on specific areas such as oral or comprehension over teleconferencing app Zoom.

“There is no point spending on rent now. The definition of space has changed,” said Dr Ng, whose reimagination of online tuition involved working with a logistics firm to bring science experiments to homes and making use of machine learning to track his students’ weaknesses. A ban on tuition would be akin to just treating the symptoms of a rigorous education system, Ong said.

They added that the sector is now dominated by tutoring chains with deep pockets, which are well-equipped to follow the Ministry of Education’s mandate to help students “discover the joy of learning” and give their own spin to it. In the past five years, the 20-year-old centre has put in place a teaching and learning framework that emphasises “a holistic approach to education, balancing knowledge, skills, and dispositions”, said The Learning Lab’s director of curriculum, Dr Lubna Alsagoff, a former National Institute of Education associate professor.

“Perhaps what would be eventually shut down are those centres that are not supportive of the more progressive ethos of the MOE – those that perhaps stick to the outdated methods of teaching through repetitive drill and practice, mechanical memorisation, and regurgitation of information.”Based on MOE’s website, there are over 800 registered tuition and enrichment centres, up from about 600 five years ago.


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