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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.

What's wrong with our schools ?

         Well that's assuming there is something wrong with our education system in the first place. And the proof of that, some people claim, is the abundance of tuition centres in Malaysia. Surely the flourishing tuition industry points to a lack in our public schools, which has compelled students to seek extra lessons outside. It is a justifiable argument since basic economic principles dictate that supply grows in accordance to demand. Therefore, the tuition industry stands testimony to a definite demand for extra-school coaching, and a healthy demand at that.

Not learning in school
         Many proponents of tuition will wholeheartedly agree that there are crucial deficiencies in the current schooling system. Chiefly, they feel that the schools are no longer functioning effectively as platforms of learning for our youths. Schools have grown into corporate-like institutions. Teachers become more and more similar to office employees, pushing papers and laden with administrative work. Each has a syllabus to cover within a limited time, divided up so that the lessons fit tightly into the academic year. There is little, if any, allowances for factors that may disrupt the planned schedule. Factors such as whether the students have absorbed the lessons, the pace of weaker students, the need for lesson reinforcement or repetition etc. There is no time for all these because most teachers could barely complete the required syllabus.

Tuition as a solution
          This sentiment is echoed by many students who have opted to go for tuition. There is a certain amount of desperation among students to catch up with their studies because the schools are only concerned on how to finish the syllabus. This is done regardless of whether the students are able to cope with the standard curriculum. The teachers rush to cover more and more topics within a limited time frame. Therefore, the students at the end of the lessons seem to have acquired only a shallow understanding of the subjects. Thus those students who do not want to be left behind would take tuition lessons. They do this to have a better understanding of the school work and at times just to complete their school work.

Time and class size
         This is not to say that the school teachers do not explain the given homework. The teachers usually go through only the common mistakes or if a student requests that a problem be worked out. Normally, homework is just handed up, corrected and handed back. Teachers just couldn't afford to spend too much time on these aspects because they have to complete the lessons for that day. It is not caused entirely by the limited time factor only but also by the class size. Priority has to be given to problems that affect a majority of the class. Individual attention to students is just not possible.

Teachers have priorities
          Some claim that the teachers are also not motivated enough to cater to the real needs of the students. Their priority remains completion of the syllabus, lest they are blamed for failing at their jobs. The teachers' dilemma can be empathized. Most have chosen the teaching profession with altruistic intentions at heart. But when confronted with limited resources at their hands, they also become silent participants of the system. What are the causes of this undesirable state in our schools, to the point that some regard tuition as a truer place for learning? It is at least consoling to know that the present condition is an inevitable outgrowth of any schooling system.

         In the past, learning was a synonym for schooling. Those who were schooling were expected to learn and grow up to be useful members of society. Today, people are given equal chances to go to school and receive the same learning opportunities. This is particularly true for developed countries. Our government has introduced free education to all and has tried to accommodate as many pupils as possible. Therefore, all most all children in Malaysia are enrolled in primary or secondary schools no matter how poor or rich they are.

For the sake of efficiency
          However, as more and more pupils are enrolled in schools, the role of schooling seems to have changed. When enrollment is small, the school is concerned more with individual pupils. When enrollment increases, the school becomes a mass-oriented institution. To make up for efficiency, pupils are perceived according to their academic performance and thus they lose their individuality. Then a specific curriculum is applied, to further increase teaching efficiency and uniformity. Rules, regulations and schedules become indispensable as well. In other words, the administration of the school is concerned with introducing an efficient system. It is in the interest of the country that a smoothly operated schooling system is in place to churn out 'educated' members of society en masse. Unfortunately, in the process, learning has become no longer synonymous with schooling.

         Hence, it is understandable why many students actually equate learning to tuition, rather than to schooling. It remains to be seen, how capable the tuition industry is, in preserving this reputation of theirs. As we begin to see the same maladies afflicting them. When enrollment in tuition centres increases, some of them even have larger class sizes than their school counterpart. Will their success be their very own undoing?


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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.