Tuition is a big deal in Singapore with parents spending thousands of dollars at tuition centers or on private tutors each month. These after-school sessions are designed to help Singaporean students raise their grade and soar above their competitors. In reality, tuition comes down to either going to a tuition center or getting a private home tutor. With many options to consider, which is a cost-effective option? What are some key differences in each one?

Sounds like a boxing match with two similar competitors but let's take the first option into thought.

For tuition centers in Singapore, the median cost is

    • Approximate S$30 per hour for primary school,
  • S$40 per hour for Secondary School

and upward of S$55 dollars per hour for Junior College (JC). Specific "branded' tuition may charge much more.

For private tutors, the median rate varies based on the teacher's qualifications. and for degree holders, the rates are comparable to tuition centers.

The average costs are around S$30 per hour for Primary School,

    • S$40 for per hour for lower Secondary and
  • S$50 per hour for upper Secondary,

and around S$55 to S$60 for JC.

For the Ministry of Education (MOE) trained teachers private tuition rates are around S$40 to S$45 per hour for Primary school, -S$55 to S$65 per hour for lower Secondary,

    • S$70 to S$80 per hour for upper Secondary,

and S$95 to S$100 per hour for JC.

Did you know that there’s an S$15 difference between the hourly rates of tuition centers versus private tutors in Singapore?

Overall, this means individual tuition is more expensive than a tuition center. This is not completely unexpected, given that the individual tutor has to travel, and can only teach one student or two students at a time.

Group vs Individual Tuition

Group vs Individual Tuition

Here are some thoughts to keep in consideration when choosing which is a better option for you.

Different children have different learning styles and at different rates. Some are more sociable and prefer to learn in groups or with other people. Some are quieter and prefer to work alone. Sometimes it is hard to see which circumstances will produce better results. Parents would be in the best position to make a decision that will help their child grow academically, because they are the ones who know their children well.

Take time with your child and see how they interact in a group learning environment or if they prefer to work alone. This will be a determining factor in which is a more cost-effective option for tutoring.

One question that many parents ask is 'I have two children that need tutoring but is there any way I can pay for the price of one?'

Some private tutors will allow tutoring two kids at once (if you only have one child try asking your neighbor if he or she would like their child to join) at a discounted rate, this is also reliant on whether your child studies well in a pair. For instance, a tutor may be willing to tutor two upper Secondary students for S$110 per hour, instead of S$130 per hour.

While that’s an S$20 difference it is still cheaper than the average tuition center rate of S$40 per hour, remember this means your child is effectively being tutored for S$55 per hour. The extra S$15 might more than justify not having to travel, which saves on transport expense and time.

What Is the Tutor’s Policy Toward Make-up Lessons vs. The Tuition Center’s Policy?

What Is the Tutor’s Policy Toward Make-up Lessons vs. The Tuition Center’s Policy?

Here's another question to consider:

Some tuition centers are not required to provide make-up lessons if you are the one at fault. If your child happens to get sick, for example, they may not be forced to have a make-up class, even if you have paid the price for the full month. I cannot stress this enough! As always check the terms and conditions before signing your child up with them!

By difference, private tutors in Singapore tend to be more flexible. They are more willing to move dates and give make-up lessons without additional charges. If you have a fixed or irregular schedule, it may be more cost-effective to hire these tutors.

However, just as stated before, establish the private tutor’s policies before agreeing to anything. Some private tutors may also refuse the obligation to provide make-up lessons.

Group Learning vs Private Lessons

Stock Photo - Group of People Planning on a New Project

Stock Photo - Group of People Planning on a New Project

Tuition centers tend to be more like a classroom setting, ask the question 'How many students are being taught by a single tutor?' Do you think 60 minutes is enough time to teach at least 30 students? In reality, that’s less than two minutes for each individual student if they all have questions. How much attention does your child need? If he or she needs more attention it may be wise to consider private tutor instead so your child has all the free time to ask questions or review a topic again. In a group setting, significantly less time is devoted to individual students’ needs.

Never settle for the first option you come across for a private tutor or a tution center. You have the freedom to choose what is best for you and your child, so look around for the best. Operate a series of conferences with a few potential tutors whom you have in mind.

It is also good to have your child with you during the meetings. You will get to see if they are able to connect and if your child is comfortable with the tutor. Also, bring your child with you to tuition centers and see if they like it. This will help choose the best option between a private tutor or tuition center.