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PRIMARY SCHOOL TUITION: CENTRE OR PRIVATE?

Updated: Mar 4



The timeless question asked by almost all primary school kid’s parents: tuition centre or private tutor, which one is better?


Tuition for primary school students has become a run-of-the-mill option to improve grades. A 2015 poll by Straits Times Singapore show that 7 in 10 parents send their kids for tuition, centre or private.


You might be bogged down in making a choice for your young one. Should you hire a private tutor or send your kid off to a tuition centre?


There’s much argument between the two. Some feel home tuition is expensive but more effective, some think a learning centre is sufficient but could be inconvenient.


The difference between tuition centre and private tutor


Let’s first shed light on their fundamental differences.


A tuition centre offers lessons on designated subject, usually to a group of students. The learning pace will be adjusted to fit everyone in general. Tutors move on to the next topic once the majority of the students comprehend the current topic.


On the other hand, a private educator personalizes teaching lessons to one (usually) student. He or she will accommodate their teaching methodology to the child’s learning ability and style, hence able to spend more time on the child’s weaker topics.



Sending your kid to a learning centre may be less costly, but personalized guidance from a professional educator may provide undivided attention and customized learning experience. Regardless of prolific opinions, it all boils down to a few things to consider before settling on the right choice.


Does your kid requires intensive remedial or short lessons for regular practice?


Is your little one facing hiccups on a certain subject or weak in a certain topic of a subject?


Why is that important?


Because it doesn’t make sense to send your youngster to a group tuition for a specific subject if he or she is having some difficulties in just one area of the subject.


In this case, it’d be a better idea for your child to learn under private supervision. More time and focus will be used to deal with the problem he or she faces in the weaker topic.


Paying attention to your youngster’s academic weaknesses helps you judge if your little one needs specific periods of intense study or regular academic enhancement.


Also, when you determine the issue, it becomes easier to tackle and more cost-effective, because you know exactly what kind of solutions you need.


Imagine this, your child is in Primary 4. She has a weaker understanding of geometry, but appears to breeze through other topics like fractions, or even area & volume.


Tuition centre or home tuition? Not such a tough choice, right?


Home tuition, most with the primary agenda of employing teaching methods that suit the child, allows the tutor to spend more time on the weaker topic. Which means, you’ll be paying for what you really need.


On the flip side, putting her through group tuition lessons which teaches Primary 4 mathematics doesn’t necessarily works better.


Why so? Because time will be spent on the rest of the topics that she doesn’t have trouble with. And that’s not honing in on what needs to be tackled.


What’s your kid’s demeanour?


A kid’s personality can make all the difference in their learning attitude.


Take note if your kid’s so shy he or she can’t even muster the courage to ask for permission to the restroom in the classroom. If that happens, there’s no doubt he or she find it twice as hard to ask question regarding a topic they don’t understand.


One thing for sure, asking questions is instrumental to learn.


Not having their doubts resolved can be detrimental to their overall learning progress. This doubt is like a snowball. The longer it drags on, the bigger it gets. One fine day, it’ll get so overwhelming than it initially was and there’s no way to undo it. Your young child should never be more confused about the things he or she learned when they first started. Otherwise, that’s just defeating the whole purpose of having tuition.


The idea is to quickly work out any confusion your child has to get the learning momentum rolling. If your little one is reluctant in asking questions when in a group, he or she may be more comfortable communicating doubts with someone in solitude.


On the contrary, some kids prefer to learn in group. Some kids could find 1-to-1 tuition boring, and some might find facing a private tutor pressuring. Both would inevitably make them lose interest to learn.


Noticed that your kid is more driven to learn while in a group? Then, the option of sending them to a learning centre would easily trump hiring a private tutor.


But what if my kid is weak in certain areas of subject but learns well in group?


Consider alternating between tuition centres and home tuition!


In a nutshell, the student’s preference of learning environment is imperative. It’ll be a waste of money regardless of the price tag if the learning culture and environment doesn’t fit the preference of your young one.


Time & convenience


Yes, we know. Parents can have too many on their hands. Juggling work, home chores, and everything else.


Sending your little one to a tuition centre for classes can be troublesome.


Moreover, the location of the learning centre is also a deciding factor. If it’s some distance away from your home, you’d need to make consider a few things such as traveling time and who will be responsible of bringing your kiddo to the centre.


Tuition at the comfort of your home has greater flexibility. You can easily integrate the tutor’s schedule into yours and your child’s without needing to rush back and forth from classes.


Centres often have fixed lessons, and some may not have the policy of providing make-up lessons. Unless you can be pretty sure your child wouldn’t be facing any last-minute schedule change such as remedial lessons or CCAs, otherwise a rigid teaching timetable can be restricting in the long run.


Not only the student’s schedule matters, parents’ schedule matters too. Impromptu meetings, overtime, traffic jams etc. can be a nuisance. Shifting tutoring sessions with a home tutor is relatively easier in comparison. But make sure both parties are agreeable on the terms of rescheduling and providing make-up lessons.


Budget


Private tuition usually cost ⅓ more than tuition centres, ranging from around $30 to $45 per hour for primary school student.


But the distance of the centres and traveling time matters too. Do you need to take a cab back and forth? If you’re driving, are the petrol costs or parking fees worth it?


If budget is a major concern to you, here’s what we suggest. Send your child to a tuition centre within your budget, but arrange them to be under the tutelage of an educator a few months before exam periods.

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