Cost of raising kids can be dramatically lowered by not sending kids to tuition

A netizen going by the moniker klarklar reckons this in a thread on the popular Hardware Zone Forums: "I think tuition is largely a waste of money. Why force the kid to go for extra lessons to study what is already taught in school? Let him have some spare time for creativity. Pick up some hobbies and who knows? Many entrepreneurs started off with their leisurely pursuits. Nobody gets entrepreneurial ideas from doing ten-year series."

He further added: "Tuition does not add much value. It is a big waste of money in Singapore's economy. Tutors of course will say otherwise since it affects their pockets. Sure, tutors may raise the kids' chance of getting good grades. But do those distinctions achieved on paper really matter in the larger scheme of life? If tuition really matters, what about the older generation who grew up without having tuition, yet Singapore's economy grew much faster during their time?"

Many chimed in subsequently, with a significant number of proponents as there were opponents of his theorizing. In the spirit of free debate, we have presented a capture of sensibly mature opinions which range from those who took a carefully calibrated show of support for the tuition regime, to those who passionately lambasted it as nothing more than a soul and moolah sucking farce. Some who were on the fence also helped provide somewhat stabilizing (perhaps even entertaining) moments in the conversation itself, which were equally worthy of airing in this particular point-of-view showcase. So here goes:


"I share your sentiments, but having tuition and extra lessons is like giving your child a headstart in life, acquiring additional skills/talents before moving off to serious studying.

It can be a double edged sword, or it simply can be a done-without thingie. If the child's weekend is packed with 11am-8pm classes, then it defeats the purpose.

Have seen friends send kids to class, wait, then pick up and send to another class, then another then another, until the entire day ends.

I simply don't understand where's the childhood for the kid."

By Soracak :

"Because teachers these days don't teach properly. 2 main reasons:

1. MOE sets new teaching directives 少教多学. Meaning teach less learn more. The hope is to encourage teaching to be less rigid and academic but the reverse is actually true.

2. Teachers teach less in class because most kids already acquired the necessary knowledge in their own private tuition lessons. Those in elite learning labs probably know more than the teachers themselves."

To which Hypernova countered:

1. You have the wrong idea about 少教多学. it's not teaching less in any sense. It's supposed to mean less of "I teach you this, this is the truth and just suck it up, don't ask questions" aka "teacher-centric" but more of using different ways to pique students' interest to ask about the topic they are learning so they are actually finding out the things they want to know more about aka "student-centric".

Granted, this type of teaching needs students who are self-motivated to a certain extent to think about what is being taught in class and ask relevant questions to expand upon their own learning, hence teach less and learn more.

Now another question stems from this. why are most students not motivated enough to do something out of their own initiative to learn more? Just take a look at the families with kids having a meal outside. MOST parents shove a phone or tablet in their kids' faces to "entertain" them and prevent disturbances. You cry, I give you toy to play with. Where's the parenting? Students are brought up in this manner and they want everything spoonfed to them. They expect to "play with their toys" as and when they desire. In school learning is never 100% fun, nobody said it was. Instead of learning from young to control their own behaviour in public, the students demand instant "solutions" to their problems(inability to follow the lesson, therefore seek tuition).

So whose fault is it ?

2. The teachers don't teach less in class because the kids already acquired the necessary knowledge from their elite tuition classes. Not everyone in mainstream schools have the same he luxury of a headstart. Teachers still have to teach the students to ensure all receive the same attention with regards to their learning.

Lastly, in my personal opinion there are now 3 reasons as to why students go for tuition. First and second reasons are what we already know, students can't catch up with the rest of the class so parents give them remediation through tuition.The other is of course alluding to the other end of the spectrum where kiasu parents want their child to learn more than what is required in the hope their kids can be ahead of their peers academically. The third reason is something which came up slightly over a decade ago and wasn't commonly seen before the turn of the millennium. Parents send kids for tuition so that they don't have to take care of their kids for that amount of time, or because they simply do not have that luxury of time at all.

By ahkrong:

"My kid's results were below average, on the verge of failing sometimes. I engaged a tutor for her to help brush up on her studies, not until the extent of costing her entire time and life. Can't say the same for those parents who want their kids to be top of this, top of that.....


By temptemp:

"I have 2 boys, no tuition except for Chinese in Secondary 4 because they were on the verge of failing that subject.

Both got As for all subjects except Chinese got B, lol. Currently one is studying in NYJC and the other in SUTD. When they have no interest in a subject no amount of tuition help."

By Peony牡丹:

"I am one parent who doesn't believe in tuition.

I have a P3 kid, she is a bright child albeit lack of self-discipline when it comes to doing her homework.

To me, as long as she pays attention in school, completes her homework regularly, practice her spelling etc, that is good enough. She should not fare less than moderate with those tasks dutifully accomplished. If she falls into the group that needs help, her teacher will include her in the remedial class.

So far so good. However we shall see again when she goes to P5 and 6.

By tuxguy :

"Actually all these nonsense, is like an arms race...believe last time was ok, then more parents became kiasu, engage tutors to get better grades unlike last time when was meant tuition to help the ones genuinely weaker in academics.

So more students get better grades, MOE look at statistical changes, feel standards need to be raised, make syllabi more difficult, kiasu parents interfere once again, push kids to tuition to improve... vicious cycle repeats.

Actually parents won't back down, so MOE needs to adjust in other ways other than increase the difficulty of syllabi to prevent the arms race."

Carefully harvested by the Czar and edited for clarity (Site Founder)

Dated 22 February 2017


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