Education

Hiring Tutors in Singapore: How Much is Too Much?

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Ryan Ong

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You can always tell when the PSLE or “O” Levels come around. People involved look haggard, and if you gave them a syringe they’d start mainlining coffee and chicken essence. I’m not talking about the students either; I’m talking about the parents, working two jobs to pay off the tuition fees. But with every one’s out to hire the best, how much should good tuition cost?

 

In general, tuition fees depend on five factors:

  • Whether the tutor is private or from an agency
  • The qualifications of the tutor
  • The hours involved
  • Whether the tutor travels to the home
  • The school grade of the student (which takes into account several of the above factors)

 

1. Agencies vs. Private Tutors

Some tutors may be Ministry of Education (MoE) teachers, who are not allowed to give more than six hours of tuition each month. In addition, they cannot register as an employee of a tuition agency. As such, they act as private tutors instead.

 

Grimacing teacher surrounded with kids
The teacher’s facial expression will accurately suggest the tuition fees.

 

Because they are actual teachers and have limited hours, these private tutors are in very high demand. It’s not unheard of for prices to hit $70 an hour, even for upper primary.

Agency tutors, on the other hand, adhere to a market rate. They are usually cheaper than private tutors and the rough breakdown based on school grade is as such:

 

Student’s Grade Level

Average Cost

Primary 1 – 3

$15 – $18 per hour

Primary 4 – 6

$18 – $20 per hour

Secondary 1 – 2

$22 – $25 per hour

Secondary 3 – 5

$25 – $30 per hour

Junior College

$35 – $40 per hour

 

2. Tutor’s Qualifications

Usually, there’s no price difference between diploma and degree holders. However, tutors with National Institute of Education (NIE) qualifications often charge 50 percent above the market rate. Tutors who are currently teaching in schools may go as high as double the market rate.

Another factor is “industry relevance”. This is related to the industry the tutor is currently working in. For example, getting an accountant to teach maths, or a physicist to teach science. For enrichment purposes (such as Maths Olympiad training), industry relevance might commend a 50 percent increase over the market rate.

 

Einstein writing on blackboard
Singaporean Parents: Would barely meet their standards

 

3. Hours Involved

Most tuition plans are one hour a week, intensifying to two or three hours a week as exams near. For this reason, it’s become unpopular for tutors to charge a monthly fee.

Some tutors provide value added services; for example, they may not charge for time spent correcting homework. In these cases, they usually give an additional half hour for free. Some tutors may charge more per hour on weekends; this is uncommon and not a local convention.

 

Child checking watch against background of Dali's clocks
“Thanks teacher. 20 minutes into your maths lesson, I understood what infinity feels like.”

 

4. Travel Costs

Most of the time, travel costs are borne by the tutor. Because it’s not a local convention to ask for travel expenses, most tutors will simply turn down a job that’s too far away.

If you have your heart set on a particular tutor, and they turn down your offer, ask if it’s due to travel expenses. Very often, offering to pay those expenses will make them change their minds.

Some tuition agencies have their own centres and classrooms. You might get a slight discount (less than 10 percent) by travelling to them instead. Private tutors sometimes teach in their own home, and may give you a similar discount if you’re willing to travel there.

 

Cost Breakdown

What could be more appropriate than a breakdown for PSLE and “O” Levels?

 

PSLE Tuition Costs “O” Levels Tuition Costs
Base Cost $20 per hour $30 per hour
Tutor Qualifications NIE trained (+ $10 per hour) NIE trained (+$15 per hour)
Number of Hours 60 minutes per session, 8 sessions per month 90 minutes per session*, 8 sessions per month
Travel Costs Travel to tutor’s house (- $3 per hour) Tutor travels to home
Total per Month $216 $360

*30 minutes used to correct homework is discounted

Between using NIE trained tutors and tutors who are currently teaching, I suggest the former. It’s not as if the syllabus changes dramatically every five or even 10 years. And you’ll save a lot of money.

 

Do you hire tuition teachers for your child? Comment and tell us how much it costs!

Image Credits:
HughchisholmRenato GanozaTajaio5comfotologic

 

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Ryan Ong

I was a freelance writer for over a decade, and covered topics from music to super-contagious foot diseases. I took this job because I believe financial news should be accessible and fun to read. Also, because the assignments don't involve shouting teenagers and debilitating plagues.

  • Aashish Jain

    Even you can choose online tutor. Just visit http://www.sonlinetutor.com they are providing affordable online tutor. They take money guarante of result improvement. They charge just $5 per hour.

  • June Tan

    Can’t believe that you wrote total $30/hr for NIE trained for PSLE pupils.
    That is not the market price.
    The market price is a minimum $50/hr while current teachers can charge more.

    • Ph

      I must hv bn badly cheated by an nie trained tutor who charged me $80/hr!! On top of tht he required a one-off paymt of $500 for photostated materials…wh he insisted must be paid in order to teach my son. I found it v expensivs so i tried another tutor. In July…tht tutor gv birth n couldnt teach. So i turned to ths tutor who charged me $450 for materials. N refused to budge. i was desperate n took him up. However..he did not deliver..couldnt answer my son’s questions n askd him why he doesnt know ths n tht. If my son did..he wouldnt need a tutor! So i stoppd tuitn after 4mths…realised little materials gvn..nt like he promised. He refused to reimburse the extra he charged pro rata. I would like to warn other desperate parents abt ths tutor bt do not know where n how to do so. Pl do gv me ur advice. Thks!

      Ph

      • June Tan

        Just post in forums, facebook, social media about this tutor. Highlight to tuition agencies too.
        There’s a million tutors out there… .if you know this tutor is charging so much for just the materials alone, there’s no need to go for him anymore.

        S$50/hr for Pri 5, Pri 6 is the norm for NIE trained tutors. Current teachers might charge more. If they can guarantee good results, then $80/hr at this level is still worth it.

        But to have $80/hr and get the woes you received, I seriously wonder how this tutor is going to deliver lessons in schools…

        • Ph

          Thks for ur response. Mine is for Sec 3. I do not know how to post in forums n facebook. Cn u teach me? Thks in advance!!

          • harcharan singh

            You can ask me

      • harcharan singh

        Hi there June,
        I cant believe tutors can ask exorbitant rates for materials alone. I am an English Language tutor and teacher. Do contact me at 97671649 if you need help.

  • FindaTutor SG

    We match you with a tutor that suits your requirement: http://findatutorsg.wordpress.com/.

    Private tutors can register into our database to receive future assignments as well:
    http://findatutorsg.wordpress.com/register-as-a-tutor/

  • merle chaffin

    I believe that the tuition centres in Singapore are
    not as effective as they should be. Many even mimic the problems of mass
    education by having a “one size fits all” approach. A very large number
    of unqualified people also moonlight by giving home tuition in an
    unregulated environment.From my point of view home tuition singapore is one of the best for this. Thanks.

  • Nice information you have shared, Also For more information about Hiring Tutors in Singapore please visit us at economicstuition.org .

  • This is a Very useful post. Thank you so much for this valuable information.

  • Excellent Post and great shared about a hiring tutor in Singapore. This will be a very helpful post for students of Singapore. Keep sharing such information in future too .. 🙂

  • Charles Mark Linn Lemen

    Personal Tuition is not the best but i Have found out that http://preply.com/en has the best tutors!

  • Isun Li Su

    We believe strongly that it works best when the child is comfortable with the tutor.

    http://www.isunworld.com/success-stories/

  • yh

    Hi Can I check , will you pay tuition fee to a pte tutor even if the tutor don’t teach for 1 whole month ? My child’s tutor took June holiday vacation and now asking me to pay her for June holiday tuition fee and she don’t even need to teach, is this acceptance ?