Tuition centre in the news goes offline

Tuition centre in the news goes offline

A beleaguered tuition centre has gone off the grid, with its website inaccessible, its key figure uncontactable and the authorities confirming that its listed address is fake.

Links to the website of Ace Achievers, said to specialise in Gifted Education Programme (GEP) classes, were broken when The Straits Times checked on Wednesday and last night.

Calls to Mr Andy Wang, the centre's chief executive and a GEP tutor, went unanswered.

When contacted, a spokesman for the Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday said it has checked Ace Achievers' location, which was listed as Bukit Timah Shopping Centre.

"No such tuition centre operates at the said location," she said. The MOE said previously that Ace Achievers is also not registered with them.

A Straits Times check yesterday showed Ace was still registered as a company.

The centre attracted controversy after The Sunday Times reported on Oct 26 that it was linked to former tutor Kelvin Ong who, two years ago, was found to have faked his credentials; he claimed to be a gifted student as well as a teacher in the GEP, who could help children get into the programme.

He was exposed by MOE, and shut down his business - AristoCare centre in 2012 - saying he would not continue teaching.

Ace Achievers, which was registered in May, operates from Mr Ong's Lentor home. Its registered place of business is a Lentor address, which is also listed as Mr Ong's residence.

The profile of Ace's tutor Andy Wang on its website also mirrored Mr Ong's profile at the defunct AristoCare centre.

While some parents are alarmed that Mr Ong seemed to have set up shop again, a mother whose daughter is being taught by him said she knew of his past but did not mind.

"I know about his past, but it doesn't bother me. I send my daughter to him because he teaches her at her pace, and she gets individual attention," said the 35-year-old mother, who declined to be named.

She said she sent her daughter to Mr Ong for GEP preparatory classes when she was in Primary 2. The girl, now in Primary 4 and the GEP, has maths tuition at Mr Ong's Lentor home. The mother pays $300 to $400 for four lessons each month.

The girl was one of several children whose names were posted on Ace Achievers' website, under its "hall of achievers".

The mother said she was not aware of this. "He has never mentioned Ace Achievers, but as long as his lessons are good and relevant, his other business doesn't matter to me."

When The Straits Times approached Mr Ong last Thursday at the Lentor property, he declined to comment and would say only that he had "moved on" to a food business.

This article was first published on Nov 1, 2014.
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