Its the first week of school and parents are already complaining that the teachers are sending the children home with tons of homework – Pri 1 students included.

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It’s a tough world out there said the parents. “The children are so stressed that they don’t get a chance to enjoy their childhood. All they ever learn in school is to mug for better grades” were the common gripes

My rambling thoughts immediately goes – before we blame the school for everything, we should take a good look at ourselves as parents first.

Look at the extra classes you enrolled your child in before they even begin Pri 1. The Chinese class, the maths class, the creative thinking class, and the list goes on.


It’s like you prime them so hard and when they eventually get to school, you expect them to act the total opposite and enjoy their chidhood.

The facts speaks for themselves – $1Billion dollars spent on tuition every year (AsiaOne)

“Tuition has morphed into this huge industry to keep one’s child ahead of the rest,” said Prof Tan, who is doing a study on the perception of tuition. “Many tutors teach ahead of the school curriculum, so that the child has a competitive edge. Even students in the Gifted Education Programme have tuition.”

He pointed to tuition programmes that have sprouted up to cater to students of varying abilities and for different purposes. These include classes to help pupils get into the Gifted Education Programme and courses to prepare students for entrance tests and interviews for the Direct School Admission scheme, which allows schools to accept students not just based on academic ability, but also on their talent in sports and the arts.

That’s right people, you now need to have tuition just so you can play better than others.

So why complain when the teachers give your child homework on the first day of school. He’s been doing the homework set by the tuition teachers (employed by you) all these while anyways!

Even when the government decided to stop revealing the top PSLE students to drive home the point that learning is a holistic development, parents came together to compile their own list and narrow down the top scorers.

One parent said, “It is about managing expectations. At the end of the day, we don’t want our child to be disappointed if he can’t get into a particular school.”

One such list is currently found on the aptly-named website – – which is crowdsourcing for information for the top scores of each primary school.


To conclude my rambling for today – Parents will always want the best for their children. Unless they understand this as more than just good grades and doing better than others, I’m afraid the kids first day in school will always be a haunting experience.

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Sources: Google Images