Forum: Tuition industry needs tighter regulation

According to the Household Expenditure Survey 2017/2018, families in Singapore spent $1.4 billion on tuition (Families spent $1.4b on extra tuition for children last year, Sept 7, 2019).

There are about 1,000 Ministry of Education-registered tuition agencies as of this year.

As in many other Asian countries, Singaporeans put a lot of emphasis on academic achievement, and shell out a lot of money in the hope of helping their children achieve academic excellence.

Some tuition agencies claim to have produced "star" students who have aced national examinations. I know of agencies which claim to have a special "formula" to teach and boost the performance of their students in English. Quite often, these claims border on the ludicrous and should be stopped.

Tuition agencies are also very creative in the way they collect their fees. The norm is to book a package of tuition classes over six months or more. The fees are collected upfront. On top of that, I had to pay a deposit even though full payment had been made.

Even with such unfair practices, parents continue to pay in the hope that their children may gain something from the classes.

Class sizes are never specified, and it would seem logical for tuition agencies to take in as many students as possible to maximise revenue.

I hope the relevant authorities will play a bigger role to regulate the tuition industry.

Foo Sing Kheng

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