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Essential Guide to Tuition in Singapore

Updated on April 14, 2015

Types of Tuition

There are many types of tuition in Singapore. The services offered by private tutors and tuition centres cater to different needs, depending on your child's capability, your budget and the level of intensity of tuition.

  • Group tuition tends to be the most recognized and well-known avenue for tuition. Many parents (and students as well) flock to renowned tuition centres with a reputation for nurturing top students. There are elite tuition centres that attract top ex-teachers from top secondary schools and JCs in Singapore. This is the best choice for parents intending to sign their child up for supplementary lessons
  • Small group private tuition is similar to group tuition, and is a viable option for parents who prefer to interact with tutors directly. These are usually organized by tutors themselves, and often held in booked classrooms at CCs, and sometimes at the tutor's home.
  • One-to-one private tuition is the most costly option. Tutors and students arrange their schedules, rates and location privately.

Group Tuition

This type of tuition usually occurs in ‘tuition centres’. Not unlike classes in school, students are grouped based on their subject of study, education level, and sometimes even capability.

Group size can range from a handful, to classes larger than that in public schools. Of course, the larger the group that you sign up for, the more affordable the option is.

This kind of tuition works when you get a capable tutor. A good tutor is one who is able to explain concepts well while also catering to every student's need. You have to do your research to find out the best class for your child. The best classes tend to have "star tutors" who have the uncanny ability to motivate their students as well as make them understand the subject better.

Do not fall into the trap of choosing the classes with the cheapest rates. You get what you pay for; some tutors simply are incapable of being good tutors. A quick search online yields many classified ads by tuition centres recruiting temporary tutors to meet demand during peak seasons. An unmotivated tutor could demoralize your child.

Private Tuition

Private tuition appeals to those who prefer a more intimate and dedicated tutoring service for their child. This kind is best for students who are unable to focus in classes. A dedicated one-to-one tuition ensures that the tutor puts in all his attention to the student's education.

Key features of private tuition include:

  • Customized needs: tutors tend to be more accommodating and are more willing to travel to your house for the lessons. If your child is able to learn independently, the tutor has the ability to customize the lessons to emphasize on challenging your student.
  • Conversely, a student which needs copious amounts of motivation will do well when placed under the guidance of a charismatic and inspiring tutor. Tutors who attend to students one-to-one have more opportunities to interact with your child.
  • Flexible schedules: you can arrange with your tutor on a particular payment method (e.g. cash or i-Banking, as a lump sum or after every lesson).

Private tuition also presents unique challenges for parents and students alike. Some issues with private tuition include:

  • Some tutors might be unreliable, i.e. only able to tutor in the weekends. This could potentially create more trouble for you as you have to reschedule to accommodate the tutor's schedules.
  • Higher rates. Private tuition tends to be costlier than group tuition, since the tutor is dedicating his time wholly to your child. A higher compensation might not necessarily guarantee a better tuition service for your child.

Keep a lookout for these warning signs in private tutors.

  • Tuition rates are a bad way of evaluating tutors. Good tutors who start off and are inexperienced might charge lower rates to attract new students. Conversely, tutors who charge higher rates might not necessarily mean they are have more effective lessons and teaching techniques; some might be charging a premium due to their tight schedules.
  • Watch out for tutors with bogus qualifications. Request for a copy of their results and qualifications.
  • Tutors who do not have a track record but charge high rates.
  • Tutors who are too eager to tutor your child. These tutors will jump on every opportunity to increase their income. Ask them whether they have tutored students in similar situations as your child.

What are your views regarding tuition?

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