The issue has also received many letters from concerned parties to the newspaper. And some of these letters do raise interesting questions.
J.D. Lovrenciear of Semenyih argued that:
If the one-hour tuition sessions attended three times a week can produce excellent grades, then there must be reason to believe that there is gross neglect or a totally inefficient teaching system at work in schools.As highlighted in my earlier post, there appears to be a major conflict of interest with many many teachers earning extra income by conducting tuition classes at their home. These conflict of interests often leads to the teachers specifically limiting their scope of teaching in school so as to provide the extra "value-added" in the tuition classes, to make their classes more attractive.
In a subsequent article, the NST published two view points in the debate over the necessity of tuition classes.
M.C. Cheah, Maths tuition teacher with 30 years experience argued that tuition is a "must". Some of the arguments are possibly valid, for example:
Too many teachers these days are not doing what they are supposed to be doing in school. Don’t get me wrong. There are still good teachers in school but a big portion these days act irresponsibly. To them, dedication is about punctuality and teaching what is in the textbooks, rather than preparing students as best as they can.If the teachers are not up to mark in teaching their respective subjects, and we know such teachers exist in our education system, then one can argue to it might be helpful to engage a tuition teacher (probably from another school) who is able to teach the subject better.
However, there were also arguments which are quite sad - clear cases of misdirected objectives of an education such as:
Knowledge by itself is of no use, unless that knowledge can be applied to answering exam questions. You cannot compare the quality and level of school exams to public exams. School exams are full-dress rehearsals. A lot of teachers don’t understand that. They set questions that do not resemble the real thing.Ewww... I don't know what to say to that! That is just such a sad view of education!
On the other hand, Chuah Lip Peng, a father of two argued that "tuition is mostly a waste of time. It gives children an excuse not to pay attention in class. Tuition then becomes something to fall back on."
He also argued that it's important for parents to enforce discipline. The parents must help them by constantly reminding them to study.
See, children are like clay, you must mould them when fresh, and teach them by example.I'm not sure if nagging them to study on a daily basis is the right approach to take, but I do agree to a certain extent that there is the element of truth in the fact that tuition becomes some form of crutch for students.
Personally, I took tuition classes during my primary school - partly because everyone takes them in my class. I think I enjoyed my time in these classes as it became more of a meeting point for friends after school, then the actual lessons themselves. Although, I must say that I remember sitting for a test with the exact same questions distributed in tuition class the day before!
However, once I entered secondary school in Singapore, tuition did not become an option because teachers in school don't conduct classes at "home" and most of my friends weren't taking them. In addition, being away from home means I didn't need the excuse of "tuition" to get together with friends. Did my grades suffer? Not really, but we definitely had more capable, enthusiastic and hardworking teachers in general in school. That helps :-)
On a separate note, I can't believe that someone attempted to get into the Malaysian Book of Records by having the longest number of hours spent non-stop providing tuition classes! Yes, A. Elanthevan, 42, "created history" by teaching Bahasa Melayu non-stop to 333 students over 88 hours. Read the NST report.
Elanthevan, who has been giving tuition for 20 years, said the team checked on him four times a day as he was suffering from high blood pressure.Anyway, thanks to a post by Jeff Ooi, I now know that there is now a tuition online matchmaking service available in Malaysia today. For those interested in becoming tuition teachers or seeking them, you may pay TuitionHamster a visit.
"My doctor actually advised me against doing this, but I was determined to show my love for teaching," he said.
Tuitionhamster.com is a project by Timothy Tiam, a Penang-born currently studying in London. During the summer of 2005, he and two other got together to start up the website to provide free matching service for students and tuition teachers in Malaysia. The noble thing is, the project is funded out of money the trio earn from internships and part-time jobs. Today, the website is 5 months old and about 150 teachers have signed up.OK, I guess that's sufficient tales on tuition in a post. Happy "tuitioning". :-)