CDAC tutors lauded for going the extra mile to help students from less well-off families

Mr Tan Guan Seng with his student Gerlynn Ng at the CDAC tuition programme awards ceremony yesterday. Miss Ng passed mathematics for the first time with Mr Tan’s help.
Mr Tan Guan Seng with his student Gerlynn Ng at the CDAC tuition programme awards ceremony yesterday. Miss Ng passed mathematics for the first time with Mr Tan’s help. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Tutor Alvin Goh, 57, keeps a professional distance from his former students, but he sometimes comes across information on their achievements that makes him proud.

Once, while walking past a secondary school, he saw his former student featured on a banner outside. She had gained admission to the National University of Singapore - a turnaround for a girl who had struggled academically.

"There's a lot of satisfaction in reaching out to the needy kids," said Mr Goh, a full-time teacher of 35 years, of which 25 years have been spent also as a tutor with the Chinese Development Assistance Council's (CDAC) tuition programme.

He is one of three tutors who have been with the CDAC tuition programme since its launch in 1993. The trio received long-service awards from the self-help group yesterday at a ceremony held at the HDB Hub.

The CDAC tuition programme caters to academically weaker students from less well-to-do families.

Mr Goh has worked as a private tutor, but he finds working at CDAC more meaningful. "The CDAC students are so weak at first, but you see them improve by leaps and bounds. You feel like you have done something good, and you want to continue," he added.


Tutor Alvin Goh, 57, is among three tutors and a tuition centre supervisor who have been serving in the CDAC's tuition programme since its launch in 1993. PHOTO: CHINESE DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE COUNCIL

Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Trade and Industry, who is also chairman of CDAC's student and parent education committee, said it would be developing talks and workshops targeting parents of children going through major transitions, such as from Primary 6 to Secondary 1.

These will touch on social emotional learning, "so that parents can support and reinforce what schools are doing to nurture their child holistically with positive mindsets and values".

At yesterday's event, 13 tutors received the Bamboo and Willow Awards for their outstanding work, while 59 other tutors, tuition centre supervisors and caretakers were recognised for their committed service. Awards were also given to 220 CDAC students who showed academic improvement.

Mr Tan Guan Seng, 43, a Willow Award recipient, went the extra mile to help students who missed classes to catch up.

Among those who appreciate his help is Miss Gerlynn Ng, 17, now a visual effects student at the Institute of Technical Education.

"When I go to CDAC classes, I feel happy - the tutors are mostly approachable," she said, explaining that she may not dare to ask questions if a teacher is strict.