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Is Tuition Necessary in Singapore?

With Singapore seeing an ever-increasing number of children enrolled in some form of private tuition, it is only natural for parents to worry if their children are being left behind if they do not follow suit. At the same time, parents might be reluctant to put additional stress on their children, so how can one strike a balance? Here are some tips and what you need to know to decide if your child should have tuition in Singapore.

How Common is Tuition in Singapore?

Tuition is common in Singapore and there have been a growing number of tuition centres opening over the past decade. Most parents want their children to do well in examinations, in line with their expectations for their children to attend tertiary education such as a junior college or polytechnic and eventually succeed in their careers.

Based on the Household Expenditure Survey in 2018, the Singapore tuition industry has grown to over $1.4 million. Two-thirds of local students are currently or previously enrolled in a centre-based or home tuition programme. A study conducted by The Straits Times showed that 70% of Singaporean parents have their children enrolled in tuition classes. 8 in 10 parents who have children in primary school send their children for tuition, and this number is 6 in 10 for parents with children in secondary school. 

Advantages of Having Tuition

There are many benefits to sending your child for tuition classes in Singapore.

Personalised Learning Environment

One of the main benefits of classroom or home tuition is the adaptive learning environment. Everyone has a different learning style, and most students fall into one of the categories of visual, auditory, verbal, physical, logical, or social learners. For example, some students may understand concepts visually in graphs or diagrams, while other students need to physically perform a task to understand the idea. Classroom and home tutors can adjust their teaching style to the way that students best learn the content since traditional classes are heavily focused on auditory or visual learners. While you would still be in a class if you opted for a tuition centre, the class sizes are smaller so students can receive more personalised attention.

Tutors Can Help Students in Weak Areas and Learning Gaps

If your child has missed classes in school or is not performing well in a particular academic subject, private classes or home tuition can help get them back on track. Often, teachers would not go back and cover the material again, so the student gets left behind. Many students are afraid to ask questions in classes or subjects they feel weak at. Classroom and home tutors can identify the lagging areas and help students overcome their weaknesses. They will be able to use an alternative approach or explain concepts differently so that students can grasp the subject matter.

Achieve Higher Grades

Low self-esteem can cause your child to underperform in certain academic subjects. A tutor will monitor your child's progress, spark their interest in the subject, and help them develop the right study habits and learning processes to succeed in their classes. Many students lack good study habits such as studying consistently, time management skills, taking good notes and reviewing them, creating study goals and timelines, and examination skills. A good tutor will help the student build these habits and gain mastery in the areas they are weak in. As a result, students see an increase in their test scores and grades.

Students Can Learn at Their Own Pace

Unfortunately, teachers often must teach at a specific pace that is required by the standard or curriculum set by the school. It is inevitable that some students fall behind because the educator caters to the majority of the class. Having a large class size can make it difficult for the teacher to spend time on the individual needs of each student. Therefore, they will likely continue on the course without ensuring every student acquires the required knowledge from the lesson.

A tuition teacher will gauge your child's understanding of all subjects and adjust their teaching based on their learning speed. For struggling students, tutors can assign more practice homework and break down the new concepts further to something simpler to understand. For students who are performing above average, they may advance quickly to other learning requirements from the curriculum so that the student doesn't get bored and lose interest.

Better Prepare for Examinations

Tutors prepare students for exams by testing them on their concepts and giving them questions from past exams. School teachers may fail to thoroughly review all the new concepts taught in class because of the lack of time. Parents can find a tuition teacher that specialises in the subject that their child is weak in.

A private tutor or classroom tutor can also provide examination tips and even simulate an exam by giving your child practice exams and time constraints for your child to work in. Some students may have a fear of test-taking. Taking practice exams under the guidance of a classroom and home tutor can build self-confidence when it comes time for the real test. Many tuition centres provide high-quality mock examinations that can challenge students and help them get used to taking the exam. The tutor can also correct their mistakes and focus on weak areas.

Learn Subjects in a Simplified Manner that Makes Sense to the Student

The education system primarily only promotes one way of learning. The teacher presents the information in a lecture-style and then assigns homework based on the information presented. A tutor can help make learning much more enjoyable. For instance, the tutor can make the learning more interactive by providing examples that relate to the student's interest, playing games or trivia quizzes, doing role-playing, or exploring videos to enhance the learning experience.

Disadvantages of Tuition Classes

Although tuition offers a wide range of benefits, it is not always for everyone. Some students perform well academically without the need for additional help, while some families may struggle to afford tuition fees especially if you want to get the best-quality tutors with proven successes.


Many parents may not believe that tuition is necessary for their children given the high costs of tuition. Private tutors can charge expensive rates and registration fees, making it difficult for many parents to hire them. Less fortunate students may not have access to private tuition because of their family's financial stability. Of the students already enrolled in tuition classes, 1 in 2 Singaporean parents spends over $500 per month on their children's tuition.

Takes Away Free-Time That Could Be Spent on Other Activities

Children from a young age should participate in extracurricular activities outside of academic studies. Activities such as sports, music, arts, volunteer clubs, and other social organizations can help students learn valuable lessons that cannot be taught in the classroom. For example, a child will learn collaboration skills and time management skills, develop self-confidence, and build friendships. It's also a more healthy and balanced path for children rather than solely concentrating on studies alone. Furthermore, many colleges will look for well-round students who will be involved in campus activities.

Kids Can Lose Interest

Forcing your kids to go to a tuition centre after school can place a considerable burden on them. Your child may feel tired after a long day of school and therefore may not focus when it comes time to learn from the tutor. It's important to ensure that your child is paying attention and taking full advantage of the tuition lessons. Otherwise, it would be a waste of time for the student and money for the parents.

Can My Child Excel Without Having Tuition?

46% of Singaporean parents believe that tuition is necessary for their children to stay competitive. 52% of parents believe that tutors will help ensure their child keeps up with others in the class.

Although sending your child to qualified tutors can certainly help, tuition isn't always necessary for Singapore for your child to succeed. Before hiring a leading home tuition agency or considering a tuition centre, consider enrolling them in an institution with high-quality educators and curriculum first. An educational institution that can provide students with personalised education, small class sizes, and a variety of learning activities to keep students engaged in their subjects will be the primary factors that help your child excel in their studies. At Invictus International School, we offer internationally recognised curricula such as the International Primary Curriculum to help your child become lifelong learners and increase their chances of getting accepted to universities worldwide. Our teachers have extensive backgrounds in multicultural classrooms and bring a dynamic student-centred approach to the classroom.