Choosing an Established Tuition Centre in Singapore

Introduction: What is a Tuition Centre and how does it help students?

A tuition centre in Singapore is a place which conducts auxiliary tuition classes for school children to complement and boost their academic grades. Some children are too reserved to ask questions in schools and they may have learning difficulty with some concepts. In such situations, it is better for a one-to-one consultation with a subject matter expert to clear their doubts. In Singapore, however, the quality of a tutor in terms of their qualifications or their qualities are not monitored. Due to the rat race among the parents to ensure that their child stays ahead in the academic race, many tuition centres have sprung generously across the island. Hence, one has to be able to understand the differences when selecting the right tuition centre in Singapore for their child.

Advantages of joining a Tuition Centre in Singapore

There are advantages as well as disadvantages to joining a tuition centre in Singapore rather than to go for a one-on-one tuition with a private tutor or just learning without tuition at all and just sticking to the mainstream schools alone. In order to understand this, we need to look at the difference between the three scenarios.
Mainstream schools have a larger student to teacher ratio compared to a tuition centre. Hence, teachers at a tuition centre can provide more attention to the student due to the smaller ratio. When comparing a one-on-one personal tuition, 100% of the tutor’s attention will be on the child. This can be both an advantage and disadvantage depending on the child and the tutor. The child may find the long session with a single person somewhat restraining and may find it boring. Sometimes, if the session actually involves your child doing written works in the presence of the tutor, it may become a waste of time or resources because you are still paying for the time that the child is doing work still. Hence, monitoring the tutoring session and the style of the tutor is imperative for effective academic improvement. One-on-one sessions can often be more expensive than a tuition centre as the cost of teaching session is not shared with other students. Student may also lose the opportunity to learn from other students’ mistakes which often happens in a tuition centre setting compared to an one-on-one session.

Exploring various kinds of tuition centres in Singapore

There are multiple tuition centres in Singapore each claiming their own merits and their unique selling points. Some of the tuition centres are operated by business entities and it is important to ensure that they serve the child towards enhancing their academic success rather than harvesting the parent’s kiasuism. The tuition centres can be classified into the following categories.

  1. MOE-Registered, Tutor-run tuition centres, which are registered with the Ministry of Education of Singapore. In these tuition centres, the owners themselves are the tuition teachers. These tuition centres tend to show greater interests in building good testimonials as any damage to the reputation will directly affect their image in the long run. Registration with the MOE requires the place where they conduct the classes to be subjected to safety inspections such as FSSB approval for fire safety, the load occupation for tuition centres, suitability to conduct classes, audits etc. These tuition centres usually have a MOE registration numbers which can be verified with the tuition centre operators.
  2. Non-MOE-Registered, Tutor-run tuition centres, which are not registered with the Ministry of Education of Singapore. We can find a lot of these tuition centres in our neighbourhoods. The tutors in these tuition centres are usually committed but their premises and the tutors are not audited for quality and safety.
  3. Tuition centres which are owned by corporates and businessmen. These types of tuition centres have a system of operations and usually have multiple branches all across the island. They hire tutors who are sometimes ex-school teachers who have left the school system, or those who are willing pursue a career as a tutor. They have a better system of governance guided by protocols that may be implemented if they have a dedicated academic board. Usually this type of tuition centres are registered with the MOE.
  4. Tuition centres run from the residences of the tutors. These tuition centres recruit some of their students based on word of mouth from friends and relatives. In some cases, the tutors are full time employees and run classes concurrently. Premises may be restricted for space as they are not originally for commercial purposes.

Tips for choosing the right tuition centre for your child

  1. Conduct online research about the tuition centre. Visit their website, search the tuition centre via a search engine like Google, view the year of establishment, check YouTube to see if they have posted any education videos, read the teachers profiles on their websites, read if there are testimonials. Most often this information will be available on their website.
  2. Check if they are registered with the Ministry of Education of Singapore. You can check and conduct a search to see if the school is listed there.
  3. Check to see if they offer any teaching resources such as notes, PowerPoints, tutorials and books. This can give you a better understanding of the teaching materials used in their classes.
  4. Request for trial lessons. Most tuition centres would allow a student to attend trial lessons before signing up for the tuition. This would enable you to gather some feedback from your child about the nature of the classes and if your child feels comfortable studying there.
  5. Do not follow your friends and relatives blindly. It is natural to ask for recommendation when choosing tuition centre for your child. However, take note that what works optimally for one child may not work in the same way for another child. Personal experience is the best indicator. Give the tuition centre a try yourself and judge if it is meeting your expectations.

Work on your child’s mind-set before joining a tuition centre.

If your child is an introvert and does not ask questions in a classroom setting or in a group setting, you may need to work on their self-esteem and confidence. They should be told that it is a student’s entitlement to seek clarity and not seeking explanation is worse than staying ignorant as a means of self-preservation from a potential embarrassment. Get into the underlying cause of their low self-esteem and ask their opinion about a student who asks questions. You may be surprised to find them saying things like, “only a stupid kid would ask questions”, “my teacher told someone not to ask stupid questions”, “I am too blur and I don’t even know what to ask”, etc. Work on their opinions and take your time to explain to them since their actions may be consistent with their opinions.

Mr. Maideen whom we interviewed at Donason Deen Education Centre, (a hypnotherapist and the founder of neuro-reprogramming seminars for students) pointed out that a child will learn in a way that is consistent with how he or she perceives or brands himself or herself. He added that it is important to work on the student’s subconscious beliefs before working at their conscious studying. Most of the pre-employment students learn not because they knew the value of what they are learning. Mostly their motive for learning is purely to avoid getting nagged by parents or teachers. Hence it is important to reprogram their minds to create the passion for learning.

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