Confront reality of tuition in education system

SINGAPORE - There is a widespread perception in Singapore that tuition is absolutely necessary for a child's academic success ("Tuition is popular due to education system issues"; last Wednesday).

Denying that tuition is needed indicates an ignorance of public perception and the reality on the ground.

For a policy to be effective, problems and issues have to be identified and openly discussed, and possible solutions assessed and implemented.

When we consider how much the world has changed in the past 40 years, there is much need to update the system.

For Singapore to continue to be socially and economically successful, our education system has to equip young people with the skills to meet the challenges of life in the 21st century.

The tuition industry is indeed an unregulated "shadow" education system.

Its large scale stems from the hyper-competitive environment brought about by our over-emphasis on the development of literacy and numeracy from a young age.

We are training our young to excel only in the first 100m of the 42km marathon that is life, and we need to change.

It would be wise for policy planners to acknowledge and take into account this shadow education system and the underlying reasons for its existence.

Allen Tan Han Loong

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