Forum: Reduce syllabus so that students don't need tuition to play catch-up

Senior political correspondent Grace Ho's commentary, "Ban tuition? It's not so easy" (Aug 15), is right in pointing out that reliance on tuition is influenced by how society defines success and excellence.

From my experience as an educator and a parent, parents who engage tutors are not concerned only about academic excellence.

I found that many of them, including those in lower-income groups, rely on tutors to help their children catch up with the ambitious and fast-paced curriculum.

We have a tendency to believe that increasing curriculum content will result in smarter children.

Many teachers rush through the syllabus and do not have enough time to explain fundamentals.

In addition to this, the large size of classes makes it difficult for teachers to help slower students.

Some teachers have been known to suggest that students take up tuition to help them catch up.

The writer correctly observes that employers identify talent using academic abilities in the absence of other information.

The civil service is the biggest contributor to this practice and has to set the example and not equate academic performance with leadership potential.

There is also a mistaken belief that if we reduce the academic curriculum, we are not preparing our children for the real world.

In truth, an individual would be better able to handle job challenges if he is taught how to think, conduct independent research, analyse content and present his findings and opinions in a clear, convincing manner.

This approach would also have the added benefit of reducing reliance on tuition.

Sreedharan Suresh

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