Do you remember waking up early and mentally preparing for the school day, some of us were excited to go but others dreaded school. You know very well that Singapore curriculum is very uniformed and the teachers stick to a curriculum that is focused on preparing their students for exams. The schools place a lot of emphasis on mastering specific procedures. At the end of primary school, a Primary School Leaving Exam is administered and students can pick their secondary school based on their results. Some students that are particularly gifted may be chosen by a secondary school before they even take the PSLE. Co-curricular activities are mandatory.

Students and their parents tend to be rather competitive in Singapore. To this result, students receive assessment books for extra practice outside of the classroom. Some parents will buy several books, attempting to give their child a step above the rest. Certainly, child education is highly important to us as parents.

Parents are working two jobs to pay off the tuition fees which can put a financial strain on you, especially when it comes to finding the best tutors! There are many options to choose from! But with everyone’s out to hire the best, how much should good tuition cost?

Overall, tuition fees are depended on five factors:

    • Is the tutor private or from an agency?
  • The qualifications of the tutor.
  • The hours involved.
  • Whether the tutor travels to the home.
  • The school grade of the student (which takes into account several of the above factors).

Let's Talk About the First Option Agencies vs Private Tutors

Stock Photo - High angle view of adult psychologist writing in clipboard

Stock Photo - High angle view of adult psychologist writing in clipboard

Did you know that some tutors may be Ministry of Education (MoE) teachers who are not allowed to do more than 6 hours of tuition each month? Interesting to know, they cannot register as an employee of a tuition agency. As such, they act as private tutors instead. So because they are actual teachers and have limited hours they are very sought out tutors in the market. It is not uncommon for their service rates to be around $70 an hour, even for the upper primary.

Agencies tutors adhere to market rate, they tend to be cheaper than a private tutor.

Here is a quick breakdown of the average cost of a tutor, depending on the student's grade level below:

    • The average cost for a tutor for a student who is in Primary school 1-3 is around $15-$18 per hour.
  • For a student who needs a tutor in Primary 4-6, the tutor will cost around $18-$20 per hour.
  • For a student who is in Secondary 1-2, the average cost of a tutor will be $22-$25 per hour.
  • A student who is enrolled in Secondary 3-5, the tutor will cost an average of $25- $30
  • Junior College will cost $35-$40 an hour.

So basically the older your child gets the hourly rate of a tutor rises.

Does the Experience of a Tutor Matter if They Have a Degree or a Diploma?

Stock Photo - Close up image of education diploma over wooden table. selective focus

Stock Photo - Close up image of education diploma over wooden table. selective focus

The second on the list is highly important it is the tutor's qualifications.

Usually, there is no difference, however, tutors with the National Institute of Education (NIE) qualifications often charge 50 percent above the market rate. Tutors who are currently teaching in schools may charge double the market rate.

Another factor is "industry relevance." Linked to the industry the tutor is currently operating in. For example, getting an accountant to teach math or a physicist to teach science. The "industry relevance' might command a 50 percent increase over the market rate for enrichment purposes.

The Number of Hours Involved

Most tuition plans are one hour a week that could lead up to two or three hours if the student needs to prepare for exams. Therefore, it is very unpopular to charge a monthly fee.

Some tutors may offer extended services for no charge, for example, they may not charge for time spent correcting homework, if they are kind enough they might even give an extra half hour for free. Be aware some tutors may charge more per hour on weekends; this is usually uncommon.

How Far the Tutor has to Travel

Stock Photo - 25-February 2018 Passenger holding ticket at the entrance at Singapore MRT station

Stock Photo - 25-February 2018 Passenger holding ticket at the entrance at Singapore MRT station

Travel cost is a major factor for a tutor and is usually calculated by the tutor. Because it’s not a local 'custom' to ask for travel expenses, most tutors will simply turn down a job if it's too far away.

Do you have a favorite tutor in your mind except they may live one hour away? Usually, as stated before, tutors will decline an offer depending on how far they have to travel. Although if you offer to pay the 'travel' expenses they may be willing to take the opportunity.

A limited number of tuition agencies actually have a classroom setting but with a smaller number of students. You might get a reduction in cost by traveling to them instead of a tutor coming to you. Private tutors sometimes teach in their own home and may give you a similar discount if you’re willing to travel there.

Take into consideration this question 'Does my child study well in group settings or alone with a tutor?'

Understanding your child's preferences is important; if the environment in which your child is learning is wrong, the tuition will be a waste of money this may result in your child not progressing, which will likely cause you to get frustrated.

The 'environment' will affect how your child learns. Don't assume that your child needs one-on-one lessons, they may feel intimidated by the tutor when alone with them. You could ask the tuition center how many students will be with your child if you choose to do a classroom setting with a tutor.

Take into consideration with private tuition, your child has all the available time to ask questions or review a topic again. In a group environment, significantly less time is devoted to individual students’ needs. So sit down and ask your child what they prefer and what will for the best interest for your child.

Last but not Least the Cost Breakdown:

What could be more appropriate than a breakdown for PSLE and “O” Levels?

PSLE Tuition Cost

“O” Levels Tuition Cost

Base Cost

$20 per hour

$30 per hour

Tutors Qualifications

NIE trained (+$10 per hour)

NIE trained (+$15 per hour)

Number of Hours

60 min per session, 8 sessions per month

90 min per session, 8 sessions per month

Travel Cost

Travel to tutors house (-$3 per hour)

Tutor travel to home

Total Per Month