Revamping the tuition industry

As a business educator, I have some suggestions on the tuition market in Singapore ("Tuition race hots up as big players up their game / Spending more to get a head start for kids"; Oct 3).

First, much of the current expenditure pattern within the tuition industry benefits the domestic industry.

If the main educational players are able to think out of the box, they can utilise e-learning and content development to reach out to a global marketplace that highly regards the Singapore education brand.

Thus, this industry can create jobs for new graduates.

Second, current full-time school teachers should be dissuaded from teaching in commercial schools. Instead, they should have some time for relaxation and rejuvenation to face a pressurised school environment.

The private tuition market can be utilised by professionals who are seriously considering a mid-career switch but need to test out their teaching abilities before going into full-time teaching.

Third, the Ministry of Education should caution private tuition schools against blatantly using mainstream school exam papers to attract students to their centres.

To resolve this problem and level the playing field even further, schools should upload their exam papers on their school websites for free, at least a month before national exams.

Reputable foreign exam boards have been posting exam papers, with detailed marking schemes, for free for years.

This also narrows the gap between the haves and the have-nots. One advantage many tuition centres tout is the access to schools' past exam papers, so that students can be drilled in exam-taking.

However, many students from low-income families would be denied this access. Having schools post their exam papers on their websites, allowing all students access, will narrow this gap.

Colin Ong Tau Shien