What then does the article below tell us? It tells us, of course, that tuition is a necessity of life. In Singapore, at any rate.
April 5, 2009
Tuition fee subsidies
From May, they can get up to 90% subsidy for classes at CCs and RCs
By Kor Kian Beng
STUDENTS from low-income homes will soon be eligible for cheaper tuition classes, under a new nationwide scheme spearheaded by the self-help groups.
They will also get to attend classes that are held nearer their homes.
From May 1, parents can sign up for subsidies when they send their children for tuition at selected grassroots organisations. These include classes run by residents' committees (RCs), community centres (CCs) and clubs.
As long as the family's monthly household income falls below $2,500 - or if their per capita income is below $650 a month - they can enjoy a subsidy of up to 90 per cent.
Singaporeans and permanent residents can apply for the Community Tuition Fee Subsidy Scheme.
Students in Singapore depend very heavily on private tuition outside official school hours. To me, this dependence is a reflection of something gone quite wrong with our education system.
One way to look at it is that the Singapore education system sets such impossibly high standards that students have no choice but to rely on external tuition, in order to meet those standards.
But this view might be a little too simplistic. I think that it's more likely that a self-reinforcing vicious cycle is at work here. It works like this:
(1) Students have extra tuition, so that they can meet expectations and attain the desired standards.
(2) Over time their improved average performance raises the overall school standards.
(3) Students can't meet those higher standards, unless they have more tuition.
(4) Back to (1) again.
We often hear the Singapore government say that our students have world-class standards in maths and science. Of course the Education Ministry would have you believe that this is due to our world-class education system.
But maybe we just have a world-class private tuition industry in Singapore.