Tuition is needed to maintain a competitive edge in school, said parents and students, in response to Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah who had said tuition is "not necessary".
Addressing the issue in Parliament, Ms Indranee said on Monday that tuition for well-performing children is counter-productive. Also, she said that weaker students can go for remedial and supplementary classes in schools and community schemes to level up.
But parents and students that The Straits Times spoke to felt differently.
They said tuition has an integral role in a system that places emphasis on academic excellence.
The extra coaching and "focused" attention from tutors help students to pull up their marks in weaker subjects.
Anglo-Chinese Junior College student Ian Mak, 18, who has maths tuition, said: "Everyone has different abilities... so the school may not be able to attend to every student's needs."
But even students who are already performing well are keen to have more tuition.
"Tuition helps to maintain my grades," said St Margaret's Primary pupil Esther Lee, 12, who said she usually gets As for her examinations.