MOE reviewing policy allowing teachers to give private tuition

MOE reviewing policy allowing teachers to give private tuition
Photo: Ernest Chua
MPs split on whether to scrap current guidelines allowing six hours of private teaching
Published: 6:55 AM, October 5, 2013
Updated: 4:00 AM, October 7, 2013
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SINGAPORE — The policy allowing teachers to give private tuition — a subject of much debate recently — is being reviewed, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday.

News of the review came as calls grew, among Members of Parliament (MPs) and others, for the policy to be tightened or scrapped entirely.

Under existing MOE guidelines, teachers can give up to six hours of private tuition a week — an option that posed too much of a distraction from their day jobs, some MPs TODAY spoke to said.

Since Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Intan Azura Mokhtar called for a review last month, many other MPs have joined the fray. Several echoed calls for the practice to be stopped, but others cautioned against taking too drastic a step and urged a tweaking of the rules instead.

Dr Intan told TODAY: “The attraction is there, the flexibility of time, also the pay is better. If we can send them the signal that we only want teachers to be focused and committed, I think that’s a strong signal.”

She also pointed out the potential for conflict of interest. “There is a possibility of a teacher saying, ‘It’s okay if you don’t understand this in class, you can always go for tuition after school’, because it could be in the teacher’s interest,” she said.

In response to queries from TODAY, an MOE spokesperson said the ministry is reviewing the guidelines. It did not provide further details on when the review began and how long it would take,

Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Hri Kumar Nair felt the practice should be banned and suggested that the MOE give an allowance to teachers who stay back after school to help weaker students instead.

However, Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan pointed out that disallowing teachers from giving private tuition could lead to “good, passionate teachers leaving the service”.

“As long as the teacher feels it does not detract from the job and (he has) spare time and the passion, I do not see why we should interfere in what they do in their spare time,” he said.

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