In collaboration with Gladys L. (15 years old)
Nowadays, the urban Malaysian Chinese student from a middle-class family is like a bee. Busy is his middle name. Why? The answer is simple. Parents are making it mandatory for their children to attend tuition classes after school.
In the modern Malaysian Chinese nuclear family, both parents work. Thus, they have little or no time to supervise their kids’ homework. Another scenario is one that both parents do not have the sufficient skills to assist their kids in their schoolwork. So, parents turn to the most obvious solution – tuition.
These parents have a single story to tell when it comes to tuition. They think that their kids would be better off learning at tuition centres rather than wasting time at home on useless activities such as playing computer games or watching television. Some parents depend on the tutors to babysit and guide their young offspring to complete their homework while others heap expectations on private instructors to push up their children’s grades. Certain parents might even hold a faulty belief that the more tuition classes a child attend, the more knowledgeable he becomes and therefore, the smarter he is.
Little do they know how fatiguing it is for the poor kids. It is common for students as young as seven to hop straight from school to tuition centres. They take their lunch in the car. After enrichment class, they head home for a rushed shower and dinner. Then, it is hop, hippity-hop to tuition again with a home tutor.
Many children have to attend tuition every day except on public holidays. Weekend especially Saturday is wholly taken up by having to study various subjects like Chinese, English, Malay, Mathematics, Science or participating in other undertakings such as music, dancing, swimming or wushu. There is absolutely no time for relaxation or doing zilch. Now, it is the kids’ turn to tell a single story about their childhood – school, homework, tuition and more homework.
Personally, I believe that only weak students need to go for tuition. It is a waste of time, energy and money when a student is able to finish homework and do revision on his own. If a student pays attention in class and fully understands what the teacher is saying, what is the point of attending tuition just to have the same old topics repeated all over again?
At the end of the day, self-discipline and hard work are the keys to success. Therefore, parents should instill these two essential values in their kids early rather than to compel them to take up manifold tuition lessons later. Parents, do give your children a break. Let them have time to smell the roses.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story (TED.com – Ideas worth spreading)
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