When I was a young lass (that was more than 40 years ago), tuition was almost a foreign word to me. Dad, a first-generation Chinese immigrant to Malaysia maintained that my siblings and I were already lucky to attend school.
Once, an older brother engaged a private tutor to teach us for two hours on every alternate day, but our old man sent her packing after a month. It was a shame as the tuition fee was pretty affordable at RM15. Some folks I know now pay around RM1,000 each month for a child to have private tuition. And it gives me pause for thought, “Do our kids really need to attend so many tuition classes in order to excel?”
One thing for sure is that nowadays, most kids are neither independent learners nor are they independent thinkers. They require close supervision to complete their homework. Could that be the reason why youngsters are packed off to the tuition centres? Or are tuition centres just convenient baby-sitters while both parents are at work?
Now both my parents never went to school. They were illiterate in the English language yet Dad had the three of us sat down to study at a long table big enough for a baker’s dozen for three hours without fail each night.
Homework didn’t take long to finish. With so much time to kill, we had no choice but to read storybooks or comics. The latter we furtively tucked in between our textbooks as our old-fashioned father staunchly believed that comics would corrupt our young minds. There were many incidences whereby the comics were seized and consequently went up in flames. We had no choice but to come up with inventive excuses if those unfortunate comics were on loan from friends. A fantastic training ground for creative problem solving skills, don’t you think?