Long hours, no play
It is obvious that children who attend both mainstream and tuition classes are placed under considerable pressure. Right after school, with or without a break, the child is rushed to tuition classes. At tuition, he or she is expected to maintain mental alertness and receptivity throughout the session. This alone is not an easy feat, after the long hours they have endured in school. Even after the tuition class adjourns, the child would still have to complete the homework from school as well as those from tuition. At home, they may be required to revise all the lessons before they can finally call it a day. Is it any wonder that children has little private time of their own, let alone time for sporting and leisure activities?
The rat race starts early
How serious is this situation? In a 1991 survey of Malaysian students, 36 per cent of them agreed with the statement “Tuition dominates our life,” and only 18 per cent disagreed. Since that time, the prevalence of tuition has grown significantly. Today, tuition plays an even bigger role in a student’s life. As more and more time goes into tuition, the stress endured by the students also increases in tandem. That’s because during tuition, the student’s skills and abilities are relentlessly pitted against those of his peers. That’s because competition is the name of the game and the prowess of the tutor rests on the results he produces.
There are better ways
On a more positive note, it may be argued that pressure may also bring out the best in students and stretch them to maximize their potential. For example, our society tends to place great value on discipline and dedication, and to regard reasonable pressure applied by tuition as generally beneficial. To some extent, therefore, the degree of pressure that is considered appropriate is determined by social and cultural norms. Some educators would add that where tuition helps pupils to keep up with their peers, it may actually protect their self-esteem. In this case, although tuition does cause pressure from one side, it may alleviate pressure from the other.
Much may also depend on the type of tuition and how it is conducted. There are some programs that are specially designed to remove the pressure factor associated with learning. These are mostly student-centred in nature rather than teacher-centred. The tutoring emphasizes student participation, is flexible, and encourages creativity. Students attending this form of tuition will find it not only unthreatening but also an enjoyable experience.
The current state of affairs is, without a doubt, generally undesirable. Students attending tuition classes bring home not only the lessons but also the accompanying pressure as well. The mounting number of cases of student depression and even suicides provide a stark reminder of the impact of extreme pressure on young minds.