The politics of tuition

The politics of tuition

SINGAPORE - Going by the heated reactions all week, you would have thought that there'd been some kind of invasion of Syria.

"This is NONSENSE!", "yelled" one friend on her Facebook page. Well, I think she yelled since there were capital letters involved. Yet others have been discussing the topic furiously on phone-chat applications.

No, it wasn't Syria nor chemical warfare that had so many people protesting so vociferously.

It was tuition.

It was sparked by a statement from a Member of Parliament: She'd suggested that tuition was not necessary in the current education system.

But going by one oft-quoted study done in 2008, 97 per cent of kids here have these extra classes.

People are horrified by the MP's comments. The situation on the ground is very different, they say.

I think the topic is super emotive because it touches on what I term the politics of being a parent here in Singapore.

Not enrolled in a super childcare or preschool centre from birth? How can?

Not moved in next to a branded school? Oh no!

No tuition? It's almost akin to giving up on social mobility, say the heartlanders our columnist Maureen Koh spoke to.

Many think tuition is necessary to give their kids some kind of fighting chance against richer kids in better schools.

As a non-parent, I can only watch in cynical bemusement from the sidelines.

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