Singapore has been dubbed a tuition nation.
Outside of the country, we are known as the “garden city” or the “little red dot” or even the city that banned chewing gum. But internally, we call ourselves a tuition nation. And I’m not so sure that it’s something to be proud of.
According to a recent online survey of 955 Singaporeans aged above 18, 80% of Singaporeans believe that tuition and enrichment programmes help children do better in schools. Spending on tuition has also doubled in ten years to a whopping S$820 million in 2008. These programmes are seen by many as a constructive way for children to spend their time.
I was most surprised to find that almost three in 10 Singaporeans felt that children should start some form of tuition at pre-school age. It made me wonder how many of us are driven by the fear of our children losing out to others versus a legitimate need, for instance, a child who requires some extra Chinese lessons because the language is not used within the home. (more…)