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** For foreigners who are not familiar with the country, education and tuition culture in Malaysia, you might find the following guide useful - Malaysia, Education & Tuition: A Background Guide.

If you want to learn, don't go to school ?

         In the past, schooling has always been equated with learning. School is the place you go to in order to get an education. School teachers are the revered figures who impart valuable knowledge to us. Not only that, they are also entrusted with the responsibility of moulding youngsters into respectable and productive members of society. In short, schools are where you really equip yourself for the challenges of adulthood. Everybody has been introduced to this sacrosanct role of schools at some point in their life. However, this seemingly prerogative of schools may no longer stay unchallenged. As enrollment increases, many discover that the performance of the school is less than desirable. It appears that once it has evolved to become a mass-oriented institution, dispensing knowledge has taken a back seat to increasing operational efficiency.

Schooling is not everyone's cup of tea
         "Schooling is not everyone's cup of tea", so declared Walcott, an educator in 1988. He also said that schools are expediters for many, but they do not and cannot 'reach' all. Therefore, the realization of individuals' needs seems to be limited by the school's efficiency. Schooling is effective for those pupils seeking academic certificates and credentials. On the other hand, in meeting society's expectations, schools are efficient in differentiating pupils by categorizing (via grading) their abilities based on examination results. Universally, the role of schooling should be determined by social needs, which also encourages people to have relevant aspirations to meet the demands of society. However, the main role of the school in recent times, is to efficiently produce academically credentialed members of society.

I've always liked learning, I just didn't like school.
         In the process, learning appears to be divorced from schooling. Some pupils have even remarked to the effect that: "I've always liked learning, I just didn't like school." What have created this disparity between the two? A well run school is an institution governed by plans, schedules and procedures. It takes the form of a pre-determined syllabus, a schedule (time table) to dispense that syllabus, a system to monitor the teachers who dispense it, a way (examination) to monitor the performance of the pupils; and the various control structures (regulations) that are essential for maintaining order in any large organizations. It's mass education conducted with efficiency in mind. In a classroom lesson, for example, the teacher only works out a problem that affects a majority of the class. Individual problems faced by one or two students often do not receive adequate, if any, attention at all. Similarly, homework is doled out en masse without regard to the different lesson reinforcements needed by each student.

          It's obvious that a school always conduct it's activities systematically and those activities cater for the total school population. In this respect, it behaves like any other large organizations, that carry out pre-planned activities in which anyone can be involved at the same level, provided each have the same level of understanding and ability. However, the school is a special organization in the sense that it involves pupils of differing levels and types. Each of the pupils has his or her own needs in the quest for education; but, the individual demand tends to be neglected in such a system. In mass education, it is inevitable that each pupil feels there is little attention and care from the teacher and the school.

Teachers are business-like when teaching
         Even teachers often adopt a less than inspiring attitude in the classroom. For instance, when a teacher asks whether the pupils have any questions, it is often met with silence, not necessarily out of full comprehension. Most teachers would not press any further. As there is no response, it is sufficient for the teacher to conclude that the lesson is completed and proceed to the next topic in the syllabus. The whole exercise of soliciting questions from the pupils appears to be more habitual than genuine in nature. To be fair to the teachers, they do have to cover a sizable syllabus within a very limited time frame. And it is necessary for them to complete the syllabus since that is a major yardstick of their job performance. It is worth remembering that teachers are rewarded for abetting the system. Not for going out of their way to cater for each individual needs of the pupils. Such noble acts do exists in our schools, but they are the exception rather than the norm.

          Again, this condition reflects the workings of a mass education system, which is bureaucratic in nature. Sometimes against their better intentions, teachers are forced to become more business-like in their duties. Even if they wanted to teach in some depth, the fixed schedule does not allow them to do so. The bell signifies the end of class. Thus, the lessons remain superficial and shallow in terms of knowledge imparted. The uncompleted portion of the lesson is often given as homework (or just ignored). The pupils are left with the burden of school work, which they have not been taught. Failure to complete it could result in them being scolded or accused of laziness. Furthermore, the pupils know that if they do not fully understand the lessons, they could easily fail the examinations. All these factors conspired to prevent pupils from regarding their school as a platform for learning. It is no wonder that many turn to tuition as a solution to their predicament.

         Learning at school is now less significant compared to that in the past. More and more people regard school as a place to accumulate the necessary paper qualifications to enable them to seek better job opportunities. Now school has become merely one of the many social activities that are part of any society. To be certain, it has secured a permanent foothold in our society. However, its claim as a place for learning appears to ring more hollow by the day.

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Glossary of Terms :
(1) Tuition - Tutelage, the act of tutoring or teaching a student (pupil); Fees paid for instruction (especially for higher education). In Malaysia, tuition is more popularly used to denote tutoring rather than fee. Common Malaysian misspellings: Tiution, Tution. *(BM): Tuisyen, Tiusyen, Tusyen, Tuisen, Tiusen, Tuisyan, Tiusyan, Tusyan. | (2) Home Tuition - Tutoring that takes place at students' or tutors' home as opposed to at tuition centers; Also: Home Tutoring, Private Tuition, Private Tutoring. *(BM): Tuisyen Di Rumah, Tuisyen Swasta. | (3) Personal Tuition - Tutoring on the basis of one tutor catering to one student. Also: Personal Tutoring, Individual Tuition, Individual Tutoring, One-to-one Tuition, 1-to-1 Tutoring, One-to-one Tutoring, 1-to-1 Tuition. *(BM): Tuisyen Peribadi, Tuisyen Persendirian, Tuisyen Perseorangan, Tuisyen Individu. | (4) Group Tuition - Tutoring on the basis of one tutor catering to several (small number, but more than one) students. Also: Small Group Tuition, Small Class Tuition, Group Tutoring, Small Group Tutoring, Small Class Tutoring. *(BM): Tuisyen Berkumpulan, Tuisyen Kumpulan Kecil, Tuisyen Kelas Kecil. | (5) Tutors - Tuition Teachers, persons who conduct tuition. In Malaysia, teacher is more popularly used to denote a school teacher whereas tutor usually means a non-school teacher. Also: Tiutors, Tuitors. *(BM): Guru Sekolah, Cikgu Sekolah, Pengajar Tuisyen, Guru Tuisyen, Cikgu Tuisyen. | (6) Home Tutors - Tutors who provide home tuition as opposed to those who teach at tuition centres. Also: Private Tutors, Personal Tutors, Individual Tutors, One-to-one Tutors, 1-to-1 Tutors, Group Tutors, Small Group Tutors, Private Teachers, Personal Teachers, Individual Teachers, One-to-one Teachers, 1-to-1 Teachers, Group Teachers, Small Group Teachers, Private Tuition Teachers, Personal Tuition Teachers, Individual Tuition Teachers, One-to-one Tuition Teachers, 1-to-1 Tuition Teachers, Group Tuition Teachers, Small Group Tuition Teachers. *(BM): Pengajar Di Rumah, Pengajar Swasta, Pengajar Peribadi, Pengajar Persendirian, Pengajar Perseorangan, Guru Di Rumah, Guru Swasta, Guru Peribadi, Guru Persendirian, Guru Perseorangan, Cikgu Di Rumah, Cikgu Swasta, Cikgu Peribadi, Cikgu Persendirian, Cikgu Perseorangan. | (7) Tuition Centers - Private institutions that conduct tuition on classroom-like settings. Also: Tuition Centres, Tutorial Centers, Tutorial Centres, Tuition Classes, Tutorial Classes, Tutoring Classes. *(BM): Pusat Tuisyen, Pusat Bimbingan, Pusat Tutorial, Kelas Tuisyen. | (8) Home Tuition Jobs - Home tuition vacancies; Posts to be filled by home tutors. Also: Private Tuition Jobs, Home Tutoring Jobs, Private Tutoring Jobs, Home Tuition Assignments, Private Tuition Assignments, Home Tutoring Assignments, Private Tutoring Assignments, Private Tuition Vacancies, Home Tutoring Vacancies, Private Tutoring Vacancies. *(BM): Jawatan Kosong Tuisyen, Pekerjaan Tuisyen, Kerja Tuisyen, Tugasan Tuisyen. | (9) Home Tutees - Home tuition students; Pupils receiving home tuition from home tutors. *(BM): Pelajar Tuisyen, Murid Tuisyen, Penuntut Tuisyen. | *(BM) denotes terms in Bahasa Melayu or Malay Language.