Forget about the well-deserved break this December school holiday. Parents are signing up their children for study boot camps to get a head start in the academic rat race.
Some turn up for such hothousing sessions, hoping to guarantee the A grades at the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), O or A levels. Never mind that the high-stakes national examinations are a year away.
Secondary 3 student Keisha Yan, for instance, recently attended a chemistry crash course at Bright Culture Tuition Centre.
The 15-year-old Methodist Girls’ School student, who hopes to snag at least an A2 grade for the subject at next year’s O levels, said: “There’s more time during the holidays to revise, and I want to make use of it. I feel quite nervous about the O-level exam because it will determine my future.”
Many parents are sending their children for cram sessions to learn, way in advance, topics that will be covered after school reopens next month.
Mrs Pauline Lim, paid $170 for her 10-year-old daughter to attend a two-day workshop on mathematics at Concept Math Education Centre last month. Her child, who will start Primary 5 at Pei Chun Public School next month, learnt topics such as percentage and ratio.
“The year-end holiday is long and there is time to play, rest and learn new things,” said the music instructor, 41. “Since my child is not attending any maths tuition, a short workshop is suitable to introduce her to a demanding curriculum that she will face next year.”
Mrs Lim said her daughter is limited to homework from the tuition centre, a lighter load than what she would get from her school.
Tuition and enrichment centres are seeing a jump in the number of students taking up such intensive study sessions this December school holiday. A few even have waiting lists of up to 20 students.
Concept Math has more than 100 pupils attending its workshops this year-end school break, up from fewer than 50 last year. A two-hour workshop can cost between $75 and $85.
The centre, which has two branches, in Novena and Bukit Timah, started offering intensive holiday workshops two years ago.
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Ms Janice Chuah, its founder, said: “Initially, we thought that holidays are for rest and self-revision. But the demand from parents and students is really great.”
She said some parents get upset if such workshops are not offered, as they feel their kids “will lose out if their holidays are not utilised”.
Concept Maths previously closed its centres in the school holidays.