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4 Reasons Singaporeans Might be Wasting Money on Tuition For Their Kids

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Joanne Poh

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You know you’re in Singapore when the newspapers publish a special report on private tuition. The Straits Times’ recent report on tuition contained some very disturbing figures. 7 out of 10 parents had kids enrolled in extra classes. But only one third of these parents could say that tuition produced a noticeable improvement of their kids’ grades.

The rest just made their kids sit in tuition classes because they were kiasu and afraid to lose out. If you’re one of the majority of parents who really have no idea whether tuition is helping or not, here are four reasons you might actually be throwing your money down the drain.

 

The kid is not learning anything new

Kids already spend the bulk of their day at school. During that time they are, presumably, already being taught the material they will need to pass their exams. A lot of the time, they just need to go home and digest that information on their own or do some revision. Forcing them to spend the rest of their day listening a tutor drone on and on belabours the point.

If your child is motivated, he should be able to handle his own learning. If your child is not, no amount of tuition will help, because he can just as easily daydream through a tuition session as he can his classes at school. I’ve tutored kids before and can vouch for the fact that a lazy, unmotivated child is usually a waste of his parents’ money, unless you’re actually hiring a tutor to discipline him.

 

The kid is lazy and unmotivated

So, we’ve already established that lazy kids just sleepwalk through tuition sessions. Private tutors are not hired to discipline your kids (that’s your job), and if a child refuses to use his/her brain during tuition, the lesson still goes on.

In fact, too much tuition might be the cause of your child’s lack of motivation. Think about it—if you had to spend every monent of your free time in mind-numbingly boring tuition classes, would you be motivated to learn? Would you meet each day with zeal and enthusiasm? Pfft.

 

The tutor is incompetent

It’s not always the case, but there are always instances of tutors who aren’t quite up to standard. I once taught English to a primary school kid and was appalled when I saw an assessment book that had been marked by her previous tutor, who apparently even with the answer key was unable to mark basic multiple choice questions accurately.

Most tuition agents don’t really bother vetting their tutors. Many simply send out a mass SMS the moment a parent calls them with a tuition assignment, and whichever Tom, Dick and Harry replies first gets the job.

 

The kid is too tired

No matter how brilliant your kids are, if they can’t get out of bed each morning and yawn their way through the day, they’re definitely better off spending less time at their desk and more time resting. It’s unrealistic to expect children to be able to work all day without having any fun, so unless you want your kids to grow up to be soulless robots, cut them some slack and don’t overload them with tuition.

It’s quite sad to see primary school aged children looking so darned haggard and exhausted as they’re shuttled from school to tuition to piano to ballet to tuition. Have a heart and give the children a break, then maybe they’ll be able to actually take some interest in what they’re learning at school.

Do you spend money on tuition for your kids? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.