Tuition for tots

Be clear about what a child is expected to know when he starts primary school

When children as young as four years old are attending tuition classes, there is a need to look into the Singapore child development and education system (Tuition centres enrolling more young kids, even those aged 4, June 20).

If tuition is needed to supplement the insufficient attention given at the kindergartens or childcare centres, then perhaps the Early Childhood Development Agency should look into reducing the current teacher-student ratio requirement.

This would allow teachers to pay more attention to the children who are lagging behind their peers.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) should be clear about what is expected of a child when he starts primary school. This would help to prevent the overloading of children with unnecessary tuition.

If children are expected to be able to read and count by the time they start primary school, then MOE should lay down clear guidelines on the syllabus that all kindergartens and childcare centres must follow.

This would ensure that all kindergartens and childcare centres would develop and be equipped with the correct teaching materials to prepare the children for primary school.

If parents find that their children are not ready for primary school, they should take the effort to teach their children themselves instead of outsourcing the problem to tuition centres.

Teaching children the alphabet and to count cannot be so difficult that parents are not able to do it themselves. Time spent in tuition could be better spent bonding with their children.

Singaporean children have only about six years of carefree childhood before the stress of going to school sets in. The need for tuition would come, but not when the child is only a few years old.

Lee Yim May

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2022, with the headline Be clear about what a child is expected to know when he starts primary school. Subscribe