Tuition centre (Malay: Pusat Tuisyen) is a special term for private educational institutions which offer tuition in various subjects and preparation for specific tests and examinations.
The emergence and introduction of college and university entrance examinations in many countries; such as the SAT or the ACT in the United States, the Gaokao in China or the Sentā Shiken in Japan; led to the rise and growth of tuition centres worldwide.
Tuition centres are especially abundant and ubiquitous in the United States, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, the Middle East and in Singapore. In Indonesia, they are known as Bimbingan Belajar or bimbel in short.
Many school teachers (i.e. tutors) earn supplementary income through tuition centres and agencies by offering tutoring in a range of subjects (predominantly in English, Maths and the Sciences). Some teachers 'advertise' their tuition classes and coach those who attend their classes on how to tackle examination questions (i.e. test prep). Their focus is primarily rote learning.
Because of fierce competition in academia for entrance into higher education, the aim of tutoring through tuition centres is not merely a passing result in the corresponding admissions assessments but the highest score possible - resulting in the focus of teaching shifting from transferring a deep and profound understanding in a given subject to drilling for exams.
Tuition centres vs schools
In contrast to schools where teaching occurs in groups (i.e. classes) and set timetables, tuition centres offer students (i.e. tutees) mostly one-on-one instruction and at times convenient to both, the tutor and the tutee. While teachers at schools are paid through fixed yet capped monthly salaries, their counterparts at tuition centres are compensated through hourly rate payments with (theoretically) no boundaries.
There are teachers who earn up to RM10,000 or S$8,000 by giving private tuition. Notwithstanding, there is a huge, and still growing, trend among local parents who send their kids to tuition. Given the immense academic competition attributed to foreign scholars and the proliferating private-tuition trend, some parents feel that they have little choice but to engage tuition centres or opt for home tuition.
Tuition centres are a very competitive business in Singapore. There are an estimated 2000 tuition centres in Singapore alone.
In response to what is perceived to be opaque industry norms, in which a requesting student is manually matched by tuition agencies to an available tutor, modern tuition platforms such as Learnable and Wyzant are starting to provide students and parents with the ability to vet and compare tutor so that they may make more informed hiring decisions. Such platforms provide students and their parents with transparent information about tutors' strengths, approaches, rates, and reviews, and democratise hiring decisions.
- In-home tutoring
- College tuition
- Tuition agency
- Education in Malaysia
- Education in Singapore
- Fonseka, Lal. "Education is not TUITION , right ?". Daily News. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
- "For many Hong Kong students, over-drilling for exams denies them the joy of learning". SCMP.
- Teachers warned against doing business without approval Archived 21 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Do away with the tuition culture Archived 21 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Everybody else is earning extra income Archived 21 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- Teachers reserving energy for tuition Archived 21 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- "Online Tutors & Centres for Online Tuition in Singapore: Best Options for Home-Based Learning". Sassy Mama. 10 April 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2020.