Private Tuition

Private tuition is a lucrative industry in Singapore, since many parents send their children for private tuition after school. A straw poll by The Straits Times newspaper in 2008 found that out of 100 students interviewed, only 3 students did not have any form of tuition. In 2010, the Shin Min Daily News estimated that there were around 540 tuition centres offering private tuition in Singapore. Due to their high demand, tuition centres are able to charge high fees for their services; they have an annual turnover of SGD$110.6 million in 2005. However, this industry is largely unregulated, though tuition centres are required to be registered with the Ministry of Education. There is no such requirement for individual private tutors.

Despite its pervasiveness, private tuition remains a controversial subject in Singapore. Students generally attend tuition classes to improve their weak academic performance. Some parents send their children to such tuition because they are worried that their child would lag behind in class because their classmates have individual tuition themselves, or because they are worried that the teacher does not completely cover the syllabus required for national examinations. Teachers and schools allegedly encouraged weaker students to receive private tuition as well, though the Ministry of Education's official stance is that "Teachers should not recommend tuition to students or parents as a form of learning support". Some students who are doing well academically have had requested to have private tuition to further improve on their grades.

On the other hand, some have criticised the over-reliance on private tuition, saying that students may not pay attention during lessons as they are able to fall back on their tuition classes later. Students may also be unable to find answers on their own, having relied on their tutors for answers during their school years. Some tuition centres reportedly do schoolwork on their students' behalf. Others have also criticised private tuition for taking up too much of students' free time. Due to the high cost of tuition, there are concerns that low-income families were unable to send their children for such classes. However, the government have partially subsidised private tuition at certain community bodies for children from low-income families.

The official government stance on private tuition is that "it understands parents want the best for their children and that it is their decision whether to engage tutors".