Outrage over kindergarten's 'tuition' classes

When Madam Rohani Sa'adon read the letter from her six-year-old son's kindergarten in Ang Mo Kio about tuition classes, she was taken aback.

The letter seemed to say that the extra lessons would be compulsory.

Tuition for her kid would be something new, and it would have put a strain on her family finances.

Speaking in Malay, the 30-year-old widow and mother of four kids aged between six and 13, said: "I'm not working. I have to think of the other kids too."

Another parent was irate enough to send a snapshot of the letter to media outlets, including one which was uploaded on The New Paper's Facebook page, along with a comment expressing surprise that tuition was needed for kindergarten kids.

The monthly fees are $40, with an additional $10 semester fee which is collected every six months.

The letter asked parents to hand over the money to the kids' class teacher for two-hour sessions each Saturday for "English and Mathematics".

There was no mention of an opt-out option. When contacted, the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) confirmed that the letter was sent out by one of its four kindergartens in Teck Ghee.

A spokesman clarified that the letter should not have used the word "tuition" as the centre meant "enrichment lessons" instead.

Some parents at the PCF Teck Ghee Education Centre had requested its principal to organise enrichment lessons in English and Mathematics for their children during the weekend, said the spokesman.

She said: "These are parents who they feel require extra help in learning or want their children to learn more, and are not able to get that learning at home.

"However, instead of enrichment classes, the word 'tuition' was inadvertently used instead."

The spokesman also clarified that the lessons were not compulsory and were sent to gauge interest from the other parents.

"We would like to apologise for any misunderstanding and confusion that arose as a result".

However, the parents' reactions remain mixed on the concept of tuition or extra classes for their tots.

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