Parents & Students Beware! Strait Times: "Tutor jailed for bogus tutor service"

I was shocked when I read about this article. "Tutor jailed for bogus tutor service"

The tutor, Daisy Pious, 40, recommended an alleged Ministry of Education-approved programme to secure the 11-year-old a place in a secondary school.She also claimed to be a registered tutor with the MOE... ...She also claimed that a 'written agreement' would also be issued by MOE once she had completed tutoring him.

From my 10 years of experience in the education industry, there are many 'marketing' gimmicks that some learning centres used to paint a false impression that their teachers are NIE-trained (which might not be true in all cases). Why is that so? I have many parents calling us to enquire about our programmes and one of the favourite questions asked is "Are you a school teacher?" It is of no surprise that parents want the best for their children and school teachers are perceived as a symbol of credibility and experience (most of them).

It is ironic as I always wonder since their child is already taught by the school teacher in school and if their child is not doing as well as they should, why get another school teacher? Please note that I ain't saying that school teachers aren't good nor are they totally responsible for the learning outcome of the students. In my study life, I have met several of them who are really committed to and concerned with the success of their students. They have inspired and encouraged many of my friends and me. I am grateful to them for their hard work. Good teachers are hard to come by.

As mentioned early, terms like "school teachers", "MOE registered teachers","MOE certified teachers" are very commonly mis-used nowadays especially so in this economic downturn with tuition business reporting a decline in students' intake. I personally feel that it is my responsibility as an educator to inform and clarify many misconceptions that parents and students have.

Myth #1:

  • "School teachers", "MOE registered teachers","MOE certified teachers"  do not necessarily mean that they are NIE-trained!

Refer to this article written by Ken Tai Meng

All school teachers have to undergo training in NIE before they are formally teaching in schools in Singapore. And for teachers in private schools (inclusive of learning centres, tuition centres), they can registered online with MOE. So many a times, after the private schools registered their businesses, their teachers, most of them would claim that their teachers are MOE-registered which is indeed true. But do note that these teachers might not be NIE-trained which most parents thought of or rather assume them to have come from schools.

Under registration of teachers in MOE website, it is stated clearly that "Private school teachers should possess educational qualifications beyond the levels the private school has proposed for them to teach"

FAQ: What are the pre-requisites of private school teachers? (Under school registration notes)

This depends on the subject(s) and level(s) the teachers are proposed to teach. In general, applicants should have at least 3 GCE ‘O’ level credits or other relevant qualifications beyond the levels they are proposed to teach. Their qualifications and knowledge should be related to the subject areas to be taught. Teachers must be able to provide documentary evidence of their qualifications, work experience, etc, to support their applications. If the documents are in a language other than English, teachers are required to have them translated into English by a notary public or a registered translator.

Myth #2:

  • MOE-approved tuition centres do not in any way mean that the centres, courses, programmes and teachers are endorsed by MOE

From MOE website: Registration by MOE does not in any way represent an endorsement or accreditation of the quality of the courses offered. Prospective students of private schools are advised to find out more about the private school, the quality of the courses and the background of the local organisation that facilitates the delivery of the courses before making a decision to enrol in the course of study. Students should also exercise caution in reading and understanding the terms of contract between them and the private school, seeking clarification if need be before enrolling in the course of study.

If you were to look at what it takes to register a private school, these are the documents required:

Approved floor plan by the Fire Safety and Shelter Department (FSSD)
Fire Safety Certificate & Notice of Approval
Grant of Written Permission from URA / HDB
ACRA printout
Committee of Management Forms
Appointment Note (for sole-proprietor/partnership/LLP) or Directors’ Resolution (for company) to appoint the members of the Committee of Management
Course Registration Forms
Teacher Registration Forms
School Constitution
Memorandum & Articles of Association of Company

What Parents & Students should do

  1. They have to personally talk to the teachers and find out from their children how they are learning during lessons. Frequent communication between learning centres and parents are extrememly essential. This is what we emphasize as well. We provide verbal or email feedback to our parents to keep them informed of the observations and progress of their child so that they can work hand in hand with you to ensure the success of their child. On top of that, we also gather comments from parents and students so that we can constantly improve our teaching methodology and approaches.
  2. Put your child only in learning centres where you trust them to be in good hands due to the transparent and credible teaching approach and open communication instead of just solely relying on the learning centres' marketing gimmick or advertisement. Word of mouth recommendation can be useful but parents and students must personally find out more on their own too.

Update: Parents partly to blame. Follow up article from CASE & MOE

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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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