Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuition a definite necessity in Singapore?

Referring to the article I read on Today's newspaper: http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/why-parents-need-tutors-do-job-parents

I felt that the writer has put up some really pertinent points regarding why tuition is often seen as a almost definite necessity for Singaporean kids.

Having taught in a tuition center before, many parents do subscribe to such services, partially so that we can act as a 'day care' or homework supervision services. This is to 'outsource' the need for themselves to worry or lecture their kids on whether they have finished their homework.

Such situations are commonly observed and mostly seen as a necessary evil;

  • Regardless of how good the tutor actually is at teaching
  • Regardless of whether the kid is effectively learning (Being exhausted from an entire day of class)
  • Regardless of how much it cost!
  • Regardless of whether the kid is learning what he should, or is he simply downloading content which will only be useful for the exams, which might be forgotten a few weeks later...
As these debates on the necessity of tuition or call for greater regulations of private tuition arises, a higher-level of consideration should perhaps be about how we as a society can disassociate 'academic performance' with 'the potential for success'. This is because even if a student does fantastically well in primary or secondary school, if they have never learnt how to learn or acquired a higher purpose/motivation to learn, they will never really become self-motivated to succeed. Instead, a generation of youths that dreads the local education system will be bred, fueled with the misconception that their academic achievements will provide them the sure chance of success.

Truth be told, 'Yes' technical/academic knowledge or specialized skills are required for someone to succeed in the earlier parts of his career. However, a person who has ability to be creative and innovative, the social emotional skills to manage one's own state of mind/emotions and that of others, as well as the leadership skills and courage to lead and serve are character attributes that takes a life-time to develop. Of which, I have utilized within my business and community work to outperform that of my peers in their respective careers. Even during my polytechnic and university days, these soft-skills and understanding of how the real world works, enabled me to differentiate myself from that of my peers and excel in other ways, and scored comparatively well in academic projects or even exam answers.

Although some might argue that you can have your kids get engaged in tuition and at the same time put them through enrichment classes or camps to acquire soft-skills/the right character, being an educator/coach of non-academic programs in schools have made me realized how students naturally prioritize the learning of academic content over these much more important life-skills! And this is not the fault of the students, but that of an education system and parents who made them feel that doing well in exams is everything..!

An entire shift in the educational approach of our nation has to occur, if we are to have the confidence of nurturing a truly competitive workforce of the future.
Higher level management positions and many future careers that might arise, will require much more soft-skills rather than the hard-skills gained from textbooks. If we keep harping on the need to maintain our 'academic competitiveness', we will definitely lose sight of the purpose of a robust education system. That is to ensure that our youths grow up to become persons of good character, equipped with the skills to succeed in their careers and become positive contributors to our society.

To re-emphasize my point, Academic success does NOT equate to Career success. Nonetheless, I am not saying that tuition is not necessary. However, for the sake of your child, please be careful not to over do it.

If your kids are not doing well in their studies, DON'T worry, encourage him to excel in other areas, help him gain his confidence and he will be self-driven to succeed in his own unique way! 
That's the responsibility of loving parents...