Singapore is a competitive country, where English tuition, as well as tuition for other subjects is pretty much ubiquitous, with many exams in schools as well as rankings for students across the country. Naturally, this leads to a lot of pressure for the students. To alleviate some of it, the Ministry of Education (MOE) made an announcement earlier in September of 2018, saying that it would be cutting down on the number of exams for students in primary and secondary schools, with the intention of reducing the stress of students in the country.
Tuition agency Gavin’s Tuition decided to survey some of its students’ parents in order to see what they thought of the move, and found quite a few who expressed concerns about how they would be able to assess their child was faring in academics.
Director Gavin Ng says that parents believed that this reduction in examinations would not provide them with an accurate measure of their child’s academic performance in the earlier parts of the school year, and expressed fear that this might lead to a nasty surprise come the examinations at the year’s end.
In response to the demand of parents, Gavin’s Tuition will be making available its in-house exams to students who are not enrolled with the center, allowing them to take them, for a small fee. On top of that, there are also plans for what they call ‘stress-free learning programmes’ which focus on experiential lessons such as robotics and coding.
Gavin’s Tuition isn’t alone, with many other student and English tuition agencies in Singapore opting to introduce new programs or adjust their current ones to meet parent demands for examinations and measurements of student’s skills and performance, even with regards to non-academic ones like presentation skills and public speaking.
Tuition centers have different methods in accounting for Singaporean parents’ demand for assessing their children’s performance, but they are saying that, despite seemingly going against the MOE’s intended purpose for the reduction in examinations, that they are complying with its mandate.
Minister of Education, Ong Ye Kung, acknowledged concerns by parents in the country, known for its obsession with academic performance, saying that there are ways for students’ performance to be assessed, other than with the examinations.
He adds that he also expected some tuition centers to simulate theconditions of exams for students in order to compensate for the MOE’s mandate, and urged said centers to refrain from doing so, as he believes that that would simply be preying on the insecurities and anxieties of parents and students alike.