Why tuition may not help every child

I was a private tutor for a few years and agree with Primary 6 pupil Raphael Niu Zi Yuan and first-year junior college student Ashley Tan Yu Yi ("Guard against over-learning" and "Make clear why tuition is unnecessary"; Voices of Youth, both published on Jan 18).

They have expressed what some students I have tutored told me.

Parents sign their children up for tuition for various reasons. Apart from helping children keep up with their studies, other reasons include:

• "Productive babysitting". Some working parents are concerned about how their children spend their time after school and during the holidays. Most maids and elderly parents can only teach the children social values and tend to their physical and emotional needs.

• Many parents find it stressful to coach their own children on school work, especially after a day at work, and they do not want the stress to affect their relationship with their children.

• There are also those who use tutors as scapegoats for their children's poor school grades.

Some of my above-average students have told me they did not really want tuition but dared not tell their parents. I would encourage them to communicate their feelings to their parents.

Some of my above-average students have told me they did not really want tuition but dared not tell their parents.

I would encourage them to communicate their feelings to their parents. Such conversations may help both parties to establish mutual understanding and trust.

They may perhaps find a solution that is cheaper than tuition.

Secondary students who are more independent can stay on in school after hours or form study groups. Teachers are usually very helpful when approached.

Such interactions will also help teachers gauge if their lessons have been effective or need to be adjusted.

Lee Wei Yin (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2017, with the headline 'Why tuition may not help every child'. Print Edition | Subscribe