Extend school hours instead of banning tuition

National University of Singapore lecturer Kelvin Seah Kah Cheng pointed out that banning tuition will only make things worse (Why banning tuition will only make things worse; May 10).

Rather than banning tuition, the principle of competitive exclusion could be borrowed from ecology to curb the popularity of tuition.

For that, primary and secondary school hours should be extended to a full-day session.

This will lessen the time that students can spend at tuition.

The extended hours can be used to help weaker students with extra lessons, provide enrichment programmes in sports, conduct cultural events or encourage active participation in co-curricular activities.

By channelling more time towards non-academic pursuits across the whole cohort, parents should feel more at ease with less tuition.

Students also benefit by having a more meaningful childhood that is not overly tilted towards academic achievements.

Of course, schools should first equip students to be proficient in the knowledge required at their level. But, having sufficiently attained the required knowledge, students should be allowed to develop skills in other areas.

There are other benefits from having longer school hours too.

Schools will have to increase their employee headcount, and can thus hire those leaving the shrinking tuition sector.

Longer school hours will also give caregivers more free time and allow them to take up full-time employment.

School canteens, having to cater more meals, can also be revamped into central kitchens leading to higher productivity.

Parents might also consider having more children if they feel less stressed with an education system that emphasises holistic development over academic results.

Koh Yeow Koon

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2018, with the headline Extend school hours instead of banning tuition. Subscribe