SINGAPORE - At the youth dialogue held last night, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave his take on the tuition situation in Singapore after one student expressed concern about parents sending their kids to tuition and other extra classes from a young age.
The student said his niece in her second year at kindergarten is going to so many classes - including one on leadership skills - that he fears that she is losing her childhood.
He was one of about 350 young Singaporeans aged 12 to 35 who attended the post-rally dialogue, organised by the Youth Executive Committees of Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West, and held at St Nicholas Girls' School.
In response, PM Lee acknowledged the situation and noted that many parents are overzealous in arranging for tuition classes for their children.
"Why are K2 students going for leadership training programmes? It's partly because our system is competitive, I think it's [also] partly because parents are very anxious for their kids. And I think sometimes their kids also want to make sure they get the few extra points and they ask their parents to arrange tuition for them," he said.
"But I think it's too much. Tuition can help if you are really struggling with a subject. But generally speaking, we want the teachers in school to be teaching you the whole subject, not teaching you the basics and then saying 'the rest you go and ask your tuition teacher.'"
He said that from his observations, teachers make an effort to teach the whole syllabus in class most of the time and put in extra hours to teach students who need extra help.
"If you need more tuition or more help, many of the teachers I know stay back in class and in school. If you get detention class, the teachers also stay back in order to help you to pass the exam," he noted.
"So I think that actually, we are doing too much tuition in Singapore," he concluded.
You can view other clips from the session below: