How much is too much tuition?

In an increasingly connected world, resources are much easier to access than before. This includes academic aids and knowledge at your fingertips, thanks to the internet and affordable electronic devices. Of course, a good education system and dedicated parental support contribute strongly to a high literacy rate. Parents would usually want the best for their children and wish for them to do their best in school. While grades may not be everything, working hard to do well from young sets a precedent for a positive work ethic in the future. 

But when is it too much? Are parents putting too much stress on their children? 


Our shared childhood experiences more often than not include enduring “endless” hours of tuition classes. We may also recall looking at our assessment books and practice worksheets with dread, while our tuition teachers look on with a watchful eye. Years later, would we be where we are, even without excessive tuition? 

The tuition industry has grown to be worth ~$1.4billion in Singapore. Parents with financial means can afford to spend a sum monthly to have peace of mind that their child does not lose out academically. In such a competitive society, it is hard to shake the perception that children who do better in school will do better in life. Such a mindset is the reason why tuition centres are such a lucrative business. 

Tuition has no longer become a band-aid to bring students up to speed. It has rather become a resource exploited to put students at an added advantage. Do you find your children spending more time in classrooms than at home or with loved ones? The work that piles up from school and tuition is cyclical, replenishing every week, after every new session. Not everyone can handle this workload and stress at such a young age. Should children be subject to such pressure?

How can we tell our children are overworked, when they may not raise their concerns to parents? For those who do speak up, do their parents listen? While we cannot totally dismiss the merits of tuition, it is not always true that it is necessary. 

Too much tuition can be detrimental to a child’s development. Instead of providing the positive reinforcement as intended, too much of this “good thing” can stress out children and make them rely on their tutors. Children will need to learn stress management techniques from young, and this may help them in their later years as well. Excessive tuition may also dampen children’s curiosity and desire to seek their own answers. 

Tuition should be seen as a tool to help build children’s confidence. However, too much can turn it into a bad thing. Trust your children’s own journey and be supportive of their efforts. Just remember - do not kill the joy of learning by overloading them with work.