Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Private tuition for students

A few letters were published in the Straits Times on the need for tuition. Some parents said that they were compelled to give tuition because of the high demands of the education system. Another writer said that it is the decision of the parent and not the system.

There are two issues underlying this debate:

1. Is the standard of the syllabus set too high for each grade, that many students find it difficult to cope?
2. Do parents arrange tuition for their children to pass the subject or to achieve the top grade?

The standard is probably set too high. I remember that a topic that I learned in secondary one 50 years ago was covered in primary 4 about 20 years ago. I wonder if it is now covered in primary 3?

The high demand do not seem to produce better quality students. I find an unwillingness to think or to solve puzzles, even among people who did well in the examinations.

Many parents probably arrange tuition for their children to achieve top grade. This is not necessary.

To change the mindset. we have to make a drastic change to the system. I would consider the following:

1. In the report cards, show only if the student had passed or failed in each subject (and not not aim to show a more detailed grade).
2. The student will be informed of the detailed grade, but it will not appear in the official record.

This will allow the student to identify which are their strong and weak subjects, and make the effort to achieve a pass, without putting in undue stress to achieve the top grade.

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