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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.

Tuition centers providing social education ?

         It is well accepted that the role of tuition centres are to help students perform better academically. In fact, most students would give that response when asked their reason for attending these extra classes. While this allegation is undoubtedly made in all sincerity by those students who are 'conscientious' and 'motivated' in their studies, it will be naive to accept it at face value in the case of other tuition attendees. And it is safe to say that the latter group makes up the majority.

Even 'lazy' students love tuition
          Let's face the truth. There aren't that many conscientious youngsters around, who take charge of their own education. But yet, the number of tuition goers in Malaysia is huge. Particularly in urban areas such as in the Klang Valley. You'll be surprised that even students who are not keen in their studies, embrace tuition just as enthusiastically as their academically inclined peers. Surely there must be other reasons for this 'applaudable' behaviour. At the very least, mere consideration of academic improvement cannot be the sole reason for attending tuition.

Schools are rigid, teachers are stern
         To understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to detour a bit into the daily routines of the students at school. Public schools in Malaysia have highly 'structured' environments, to put it mildly. Pupils wear identical uniforms and obey school regulations as well as classroom rules. Teachers are seen as authoritative and intimidating figures. Seeking permission from them is the norm. Speaking in class is discouraged, unless permitted or asked to do so by the teacher of course. Pupils form up in lines when the class moves from one location to another. In short, they are expected to display exemplary and disciplined behaviour.

Time off from school!
          Although such an environment promotes orderliness, it is easy to understand why pupils find it too stifling at times. Especially since they spend a substantial portion of their day at school. Many of them are physically and mentally tired by the time school adjourned. Yet these pupils willingly head on for a few more sessions at tuition centres immediately thereafter. That's because tuition-going can be an enjoyable event for them. More so when the tuition centre is located in the city or town center. Then going for tuition can indeed be an opportunity to let their hair down, so to speak. For the secondary school students, they will be trusted to travel unescorted by their parents. Often times, they choose to travel in groups of friends to the tuition centre. For some this may be the case where the journey matters more than the destination!

Opportunities for informal social education
         These excursions are times where they can mingle freely in a relaxed social setting. Sometimes it may include lunching together before moving on to the tuition centre. And of course, when it's all over, the trip back is just as fun. It is important to note that while opportunities to socialize with friends are also available in other ways, tuition-going constitutes one of the few that is sanctioned by the parents, and society. While outright pleasure outings are definitely permitted, frequent indulgences would certainly put a frown on their parents' faces.

It's guilt-free socializing
          On the other hand, tuition is something that any parents would find commendable, in Malaysia, at least. Sometimes parents not only approve of it but encourage their children to take these extra classes. Whether the students choose to attend on their own initiatives or are required to do so by their parents, most would eventually welcome the guilt-free respites with their friends that tuition offers as 'fringe' benefits. Does that mean tuition is merely a facade for unbridled fun? It is undeniable that there are instances where such freedom is abused and the student is found nowhere near the tuition class. However, such cases remain in the minority and often involve parents who are overly trusting.

Empowering better than curbing?
          Many of the tuition attendees actually value these extra coaching at the tuition centers, the side benefits notwithstanding. Even the tutors or tuition teachers are regarded in a different light by these students. No longer viewed as intimidatingly as their school counterparts, the tutors project a more relaxed environment that is conducive to learning. At the very least students are not required to don uniforms and march around in lines. The threat of being disciplined for intransigencies is no longer palpable. The point is, the learning environment at tuition centres is different, and the students feel it. It is not uncommon for a tuition teacher to crack a joke or two to liven up the class during a lull in the lesson, a rare occurrence in school classrooms, if it ever happened. Ironically, tuition classes are no more disorderly than those in school. Being entrusted with more responsibility, the students often respond in kind. Isn't that something you'll want the kids to learn?


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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.