As parents, we want the best for our children. Therefore, we want to do everything in our power to ensure that our children get the best education from young and that explains the huge demand for tuition services in Singapore.
In this regard, we hope to hire the most professional tutors that are available in the market. However, a lot of the hiring process is based on blind faith that whatever the tutor or centre has provided are true. Unfortunately, the tuition industry has been loosely regulated as the barriers of entry is kept at a minimal standard. There are many instances where even a current JC student can offer part-time tutoring services for primary or secondary level while they are still studying. There have been some public discussion about the current situation occasionally and that the regulation of the booming tuition sector has to be looked into. In fact, our politicians have even voiced out about some of these concerns, which capture the importance of this subject.
Will it be to the benefit of Singapore residents to start to regulate the tuition industry more closely and regularly?
Without a doubt, the regulation and enforcement actions will fall under our Ministry of Education and they will have to allocate the approximate manpower to handle this. One obvious way to begin the regulations will be to start issuing licences to tutors and they will have to undergo an entrance exam to qualify for a tutor licence. This regulation approach is commonly seen in the financial and housing industry, where property and insurance agents have to sit for exams in order to sell the related products and services. Most recently, even the private hire drivers such as those driving for Grab are required to sit for an exam to certify themselves fit for ferrying passengers around.
How easy is it to implement a Chemistry tutor accreditation programme?
The tricky part about adopting this approach of qualifying tutors is the different subjects and education level that each tutor specialises in. As the syllabus vary significantly for a common subject across all levels such as English, the knowledge and skillsets required will be distinctly different. And we are only talking about just one subject, but there are various subjects that tutors are hired for. It is also worth considering if we should also include the non core subjects such as music and fine arts. What then should be an impartial way of administering the relevant tests as the scope is so vast.
The most suitable candidate to verify a tutor will be his or her previous students and their parents. Through the constant communication with parents and the tutelage of the students, they are able to size up the ability and proficiency of the tutor, both in terms of being a subject matter expert in the subject taught such as Chemistry, the level of rapport building between tutors and their students and the quality traits that the tutor exhibits such as patience, responsiveness and responsibility.
What else to look out for when validating your child’s Chemistry tutor?
As the syllabus is constantly revising and parents are no longer familiar with the content being taught in school, they will have to rely on external help. This suggests that the billion dollar tuition industry will only grow over the years. Therefore, the question remains whether heavy regulation has to be implemented and how fast these changes will take effect in order to ensure that parents are dealing with ethical tuition rates and are receiving the professional services of a knowledgeable and well-trained tutor as advertised.
I personally believe that this is a good way to weed out potential black sheeps in the market as educators are the frontline professionals who shape the future of our next generation and will continue to remain crucial in the Singapore education landscape.