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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.

Who are the tuition providers ?

         To some extent, supply creates demand in the case of the tuition industry. In this context, tutoring exists because the providers make it available and recommend pupils to take advantage of the availability. Alternatively, pupils may find out that the service is available and thus decide to make use of it even though they would not have demanded it if the service had not been readily available. The most common condition is still, of course, the other way round, where tuition services continue to be offered in growing numbers because of increasing demands for it.

I'll explain this ... after school

         In either case, tuition cannot take place without the tutors or tuition teachers. They consist primarily of two types; where the tutors are also teachers in the mainstream schools; and where the tutors provide tuition to students of whom they do not otherwise have any responsibility over. In the former case, the school teachers are receiving additional payment for tutoring pupils who are already their students in the school. This case is also the most problematic and thorniest one.

         The teachers may justify the practice on the grounds that they are unable to cover the syllabus during official class hours and/or are paid such low salaries for their mainstream school duties that they are forced to find ways to supplement their income. Some people will find faults with these teachers by pointing out that assistance to pupils who are really in need should be part of the teachers' normal workload, for which they should not receive extra pay. It is feared that these teachers might deliberately slow down their work in school in order to ensure that syllabus is not fully covered, and that markets therefore exist for their after-school-services. Worse, elements of blackmail might be involved. Teachers might inform their students at school, either directly or indirectly, that pupils who do not come to the private lessons will be penalized in class tests and other activities. At the very least, they face the possibility of being at a disadvantage when it comes to class exams compared to their peers who paid for the extra coaching. In short, for school teachers who also provide tuition to their own students, a conflict of interests undeniably exists.

Can school teachers do it too?

         Recognizing the dangers of such a situation, some governments forbid mainstream school teachers to accept payment for tutoring their own students after school hours. They could choose to do so on a voluntary basis, but not under payment. Singapore, for example, is a country in which such regulations are enforced. However, school teachers in Singapore are still permitted to accept payment for tutoring pupils from other schools. In Malaysia, no such regulations exist. School teachers who provide tuition to their own students are a dime a dozen. In fact, the government of Malaysia encourages such practice in an effort to make tuition more accessible to poorer students.

What about the others

         Tutors who are not already employed as mainstream school teachers vary widely in profile. They may be young or old, well qualified or averagely qualified, male or female, full-time or part-time, and employed by a tuition centre or self-employed. University students commonly supplement their income by providing tuition to secondary and primary school students. A much smaller number of upper secondary school students earn pocket money by tutoring primary school pupils. However, almost all tutors in Malaysia have university degrees or are in the process of obtaining one. Urban tuition-goers are more likely to be taught by graduates than are rural tuition-goers.

Specialists for special needs

         Some tutors offer highly specific skills. For example, they may be particularly adept in Mathematics for all levels of study, or for maybe just the SPM level etc. Or a tutor who specializes in SPM Chemistry, for instance. Some specialist tutors focus on only the major national examinations. They usually have acquired years of experience in the relevant areas. This is especially true for the full-time tutors who make their living entirely from tuition earnings. But all these do not necessarily mean that part-time tutors are not as effective. Some of them are very experienced as well from many years of coaching service, even though they regard it as a supplementary source of income.

Going the extra mile

         Because the tutors have to respond to market needs, they usually make a special effort to find out what students want, and then to respond to it. They care about their performance during tuition sessions because they regard students as clients, unlike the mainstream school teachers. This attitude is especially prevalent among tutors who do not have an assured flow of 'clients'. On the other hand, school teachers who provide tuition, may not be as zealous, since they always have a ready pool of potential students from their school classrooms. In comparison, tuition centres always try to attract enrolment by various means such as offering prizes for examination success, advertising through leaflets, posters, newspapers and magazines.

         Finally, some tutors and tuition centres are of course more popular than others. While some individual tutors need to hunt for clients, the reputation of others ensure long waiting lists. Some 'good' tutors even require potential students to book their place a year in advance!


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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.