Private Tuition Industry

Published Date: 14 September 2021 06:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Yip Hon Weng, Yio Chu Kang SMC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) for the past three years including year-to-date, what is the annual household expenditure on private tuition; and (b) whether the Ministry would consider implementing restrictions on the private tuition industry like what is being done in China, with the intention of reducing students' workload and mental stress.

Response

1. In my response yesterday to a PQ filed by Assoc Prof Jamus Lim on a similar topic, I explained MOE's approach towards the issue of private tuition and enrichment. Based on the latest Household Expenditure Survey (HES) conducted from 2017 to 2018 by the Department of Statistics (DOS), resident households on average spend $112 a month on private tuition and other educational courses. However, we are concerned when parents send their children for tuition excessively, or to ace examinations even when their children are coping well with their school work.

2. Implementing restrictions on the private tuition industry to address unnecessary reliance on tuition is unlikely to be effective, if the underlying reasons why students and parents take up tuition are not addressed. Overseas experience in countries such as South Korea thus far have shown that restrictions on tuition are generally ineffective at reducing demand. We continue to monitor new developments, such as the new regulations in China that the Member has referenced.

3. We have progressively introduced several policy changes under our Learn for Life movement, to address the fundamental issues that drive the demand for tuition, with the aim of nurturing the joy of learning in our students, reduce the overemphasis on academic results and change the mindsets and attitudes of parents and students to adopt a broader definition of success.

4. Our reforms will take time to bear fruit. Reducing the over-reliance on tuition requires a long-term partnership between MOE, parents and the wider community to change mindsets and reduce students' workload and mental stress.

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