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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.

 
How to choose your tuition class


         That's assuming you are the one making the decision, of course. Primary school students usually do not have that 'privilege'. Their parents make the choice for them. Whereas for more mature pupils, such as the secondary school pupils, they are normally entrusted with selecting their own tuition classes. Not that the difference is especially significant, because both the student and its parents do have some say in the matter. Whoever the decision maker is, it is interesting to know what are the factors taken into account when Malaysians choose their tuition classes.


Price is not an issue?
         The most often cited factor is the price, or fee or tuition rate. This does not mean that quality of education is to be valued by its price tag. The fee is not the sole consideration factor, nor is it the most important one. It is simply the case that in the absence of other revealing information, the quoted fee is usually the most visible comparison criterion among the tuition centres. Each tuition center charge slightly different rates, though price differences are mitigated to some extent by competition among those located in the same geographical area.


Location, location, location
         Which bring us to the next factor, the convenience of their locations. Many students, especially those at the primary school levels, prefer tuition classes that are near their residences. This is primarily due to the mobility of the students, or the lack of it. Pupils from primary one or two, for example, usually do not travel long distances by their own selves. So, for this group of pupils, going to a tuition centre that is far from home, unescorted, is the exception rather than the norm. Often, they travel under some form of adult supervision, which in practice is normally their parents.

          In such cases, a tuition centre that is located in the neighbourhood is convenient to the parents to drop off and to pick up their children. By the same token, wherever a new residential area is established, it wouldn't be long before at least one tuition centre makes its appearance to service the students there. This factor becomes less important for secondary school students who possess greater independent mobility and may travel farther away from home to the tuition centre of their choosing. Ditto for the case of home tuition, whereby a private tutor teaches at the pupil's house, and hence providing the most convenience of all.


It's the reputation that counts
         The third factor is regarded by some as the most important one, to the extent that consideration of the prior two criteria could be foregone in its favour. This factor is the reputation of the tuition provider. A 'good' tuition centre or a 'good' tuition teacher never fail to attract new students. The usually steeper fees or even inconvenient locations notwithstanding. The reputation of a tuition centre is spread through word of mouth, and this is often its most effective form of promotion. Parents and students come to know of a tuition centre from the referrals of their friends. This is particularly true for those tuition centres with an established track record of past performance, they have achieved a fair bit of credibility for themselves.

Book your place
          Similarly, a good tuition teacher is virtually guaranteed a steady supply of students on the basis of his or her reputation alone. It is not uncommon for a popular private tutor to require potential students to book their places in advance. A mother of three school-going children have made the following remark in praise of their private tutor: "This particular tutor has to be booked in advance because she has earned a reputation as a dedicated teacher. My two older children have improved tremendously under her. And from what I hear, all her students have also improved a lot." (The Star, March 1986)


Let's hear what others say
         Apart from the abovementioned criteria, there are many other considerations in selecting a tuition class. Students who are deliberating on this matter may come to be influenced by the people around them. Most notably is peer influence. If their friends are already attending a certain tuition class, they may decide to join the same tuition for companionship. Or, their siblings could be the ones influencing them. Parents and school teachers could play important roles in the process as well. Their suggestions or advice carry considerable weight and authority with their charges. A 15 years old pupil stated that he went for private tuition on his mother's suggestion. "She heard of a good tutor from a friend so I was made to try out for a month and stayed on because my grades did improve." (The Star, March 1986) Whatever the source of coercion, it should be noted that the choice could also depend on third person influence.

         In the final analysis, students and their parents employ various criteria in selecting the 'best' tuition class. The decision could be carefully deliberated or somewhat whimsically arrived at. However, it is clear that they are all motivated by the same desire to attend the 'right' tuition that will bring them academic success. So, how did you choose your tuition class?

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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.

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