Parents Beware! (My Response to Today Papers on 'PSLE Tuition Ad')

It's holidays! Well at least for a big group of students. I know there are still another group who are sitting for their 'O', 'A' levels! Gambatte! (Japan phase for 'Go for it', 'Try your best!)

Students are busy planning their activities while parents are also busy planning! But planning activities (holiday courses, revision classes, registration for tuition classes for 2010, overseas holidays...) for their kids!

So I thought it's a suitable time for me to share an article I wrote to TODAY.

Last week in Today Papers, there was a big article on 'PSLE Tuition Ad' which claims to have SEAB (Singapore Examination & Assessment Board) setters conducting intensive revision programmes for PSLE and 'O' levels.

Below is the exact article I have written (unpublished as of now):

Parents Beware!

I was appalled when I read the article on 'PSLE tuition ad'(26 Oct, Mon) for making such bold and misleading claim on exam setters providing revision programme for PSLE and 'O' levels.

Logically, parents should know that in such national examinations like PSLE and 'O' levels, the confidentiality of questions and the panel of setters are kept to the highest level, ensuring fairness for every candidate.

This makes the claims of the advertisement highly questionable.

Being in the education industry, I wasn't surprised that there were parents who might call to find out more and perhaps even signed their children for the programmes. Afterall, education is one of the top priorities in Singapore and committed parents will do whatever it takes to help their children in the stressful examination period.

That being said, since finding the right programmes and centres are so crucial, parents ought to be aware of some of the commonly 'misused' terms like 'school teachers', 'MOE-registered teachers', 'MOE-registered centres'.

I run a training company specialize in the coaching of 'O' level Mathematics and Chemistry. We have received calls, making enquiries of our programmes and the background of our trainers. Some of the commonly asked questions are: ‘Is your centre MOE-registered and endorsed by MOE?’ and 'Are you a school teacher?'

Myth 1: MOE-registered learning and tuition centres represent an endorsement or accreditation by MOE

Tuition and learning centres are considered as private school when they register with Ministry of Education (MOE) but do not in any way represent an endorsement or accreditation by MOE.

As stated clearly on MOE website: 'Registration by MOE does not in any way represent an endorsement or accreditation of the quality of the schools, courses offered and the teachers permitted to teach these courses.' (

Myth 2: 'School teachers', 'MOE-registered teachers' went through formal NIE training.

During the registration of tuition or learning centres under 'private school' category, teaching staff is also registered with MOE.

Many tuition and learning centres leverage on this perception of 'school teachers' and use it as part of their marketing gimmick.

They would usually tell parents that they have a team of 'school teachers' or 'MOE-registered teachers'.

Many parents have this wrong perception that 'school teachers' or 'MOE-registered teachers' in tuition or learning centres are experienced current or ex-school teachers who are familiar with syllabus, teaching methodology and have gone through the formal National Institute of Education (NIE) training.

This might not be true in all instances.

In summary, I would strongly urge parents to ask for referrals and recommendations from friends and relatives with regards to choosing suitable tuition or coaching programmes. They should also personally call to find out more of the tutors and trainers who would be teaching their children instead of relying on misleading advertisements! One way to determine the quality of the tuition or coaching programmes offered is to look at the centres' testimonials from their ex-students (and their parents).

I hope parents would find this article useful and if there are any terms which you aren't sure, drop me a comment and I'll do my best.

Please send this article to your friends by clicking on the 'Share this' button (found at towards the end of the page) who would benefit from this as well.

Original news article: (click on image for a larger view)


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Hi, I'm Ai Ling Ong. I enjoy coaching students who have challenges with understanding and scoring in 'O' Level A-Maths and E-Maths. I develop Math strategies, sometimes ridiculous ideas to help students in understanding abstract concepts the fast and memorable way. I write this blog to share with you the stuff I teach in my class, the common mistakes my students made, the 'way' to think, analyze... If you have found this blog post useful, please share it with your friends. I will really appreciate it! :)

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