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With the scrapping of mid-year exams, does it mean you no longer need tuition? 年中废除了,你是否不再需要补习?| Inspire人

You need to ask yourself if your child needs the help anyway

The topic of (and controversy over) private tuition is as old as it can be in Singapore. After all, it is a billion-dollar industry - alongside the Ministry of Education's $12.8 billion - which some say is too big for comfort.

If one takes a look at the main consumers of private tuition in Singapore, especially the more high-end and expensive tuition classes, one immediately notices it is the more well-to-do (who also happen to study in schools that perform better academically) who can well afford it and hence get enrolled in those courses.

Afraid of losing out to their counterparts in the highly-competitive Singapore education landscape, those with the means give their children the extra help that can move their child from a B to an A.

But there are also those who really need help. Those who are getting Ds and Fs. And not all these people really have the means. And like all things in Singapore, value comes with price. The reality is that the more qualified the teacher, eg. MOE teacher, or graduate tutor, the higher the rate.

So most parents really try to be very targeted in their tuition spending. Some engage lower-rate tutors (demanding ever lower rates), some go to the very-budget, volunteer help-out classes in the neighbourhood, and yet some engage tutors only when exams are around the corner.

With the recent changes by MOE, Primary 1, 2, 3, 5 and Secondary 1 and 3 will no longer have Mid-Year exams. In fact, for Primary 1 and 2, they will not have any exams.

While it is probably correct to ease some of our children's burden in exam preparation, especially at the ripe age of P1 and 2, there could be some value in assessing the child earlier - and 'smoothening out the burden' for higher-levels like Secondary. Parents and educators may be delighted to note that there will be small tests given in lieu of the absence of such major mid-year exams.

So does it then mean we no longer need tuition as exams get reduced?

There is no simple answer. If your child can cope well under the system, he probably does not need tuition anyway. If he or she is having trouble with a subject area, with or without mid-year exams, he or she should get help the soonest possible, and not wait till it's the really big exams' time to make up for all the unacquired skills and knowledge.

We all want to give our children the earliest assistance when he is really having problems with something, rather than make him struggle all the way to near the exams. Of course, the ultimate aim is always to let him acquire the basic learning skills, of a particular subject for example, so that he can learn the subject independently later - rather than relying on tuition forever.


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