Excess tuition strips kids of childhood

I was dismayed to read about the willingess of parents to splurge on their kids' tuition, at the expense of other household and personal expenditure in the report "Tuition no enough" (The New Paper Sunday, Nov 16).

It is little wonder that many tutors and tuition centres have capitalised on this ongoing trend, cashing in on the $1 billion industry.

When I was still in school 20 years ago, only students who were weak in their studies had tuition. Then again, many relied on their teachers for supplementary classes, as they could not afford private tuition.

But with affluence and increasing pressure to excel in their studies, most students, gifted or otherwise, have jumped onto the tuition bandwagon.

Before parents decide to spend a huge chunk of their household expenditure on tuition, they should ask themselves if it is to help their children in subjects they are weak in, or because they need to top their cohort?

Sadly, many students I know who receive tuition are already doing well in their studies, some already scoring above 90 marks in their subjects.

As Education Minister Heng Swee Keat has aptly pointed out, focus needs to be taken away from academic excellence to the development of other life skills, the building of character, and moral values.

With weekday evenings and weekends spent on tuition, is there time for children to finish homework, spend quality time with families, or engage in activities they enjoy?

A schedule packed with tuition is a cruel reality which many parents subject their children to, knowingly or unknowingly stripping them of a quality childhood.

Instead of splurging on tuition classes, perhaps parents should think about how to create a nurturing environment at home to cultivate a love for learning.


This article was first published on Nov 20, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.