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Students relying too much on tuition: MPs

SINGAPORE — The perennial issue of students relying heavily on tuition was raised by several Members of Parliament today (March 6), as the Committee of Supply debate for the Ministry of Education (MOE) began.

SINGAPORE — The perennial issue of students relying heavily on tuition was raised by several Members of Parliament today (March 6), as the Committee of Supply debate for the Ministry of Education (MOE) began.

Mounbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan raised concerns of tuition becoming a “crutch” for students, such that they have “lost the skill of self-directed learning”.

“They will always have a safety net in their tuition teachers,” said Mr Lim, as he suggested that schools can ask students performing well to consider if they really need tuition.

Ms Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang GRC) noted the pervasiveness of the tuition industry, where even polytechnic students go for such extra classes.

She said: “Many Singaporeans hold dear the mental model that for a good life, you will need good academic results to get into good schools so that you can get into a good university which is the passport to a good job, good salary, good spouse, hopefully good children and the cycle repeats.”

Ms Phua felt that the education landscape is shaped by a system where students are primarily promoted by academic scores and assigned to schools based on results from high-stake exams.

Making suggestions to reduce the stress levels of education here, she called for the removal of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and to start a 10-year through-train school model. Among other things, she also called for specialised schools such as the Gifted or Special Assistance Plan schools to be done away and students of mixed abilities to be placed under one roof.

“Employers including the civil service must lead the way to find more aggressive ways of hiring, promoting and recognising employees beyond the usual academics,” she added.

Likewise, Non-constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong asked for a public survey to be done so as to gather views on implementing a 10-year through train school here.

Mr Png Eng Huat (Hougang SMC) also highlighted the huge amounts of money spent on tuition, even as the MOE has stated publicly that tuition is unnecessary. Mr Png asked for a public survey to be done to properly assess the tuition culture.

Pointing to the “Teach Less Learn More” move started by MOE in 2006 to spur holistic education, Mr Png said: “I am not sure how much lesser the schools are teaching right now but the perception on the ground is the students are learning more from tuition”.

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