So you’ve decided that tuition would be beneficial for your child. Then comes the next step, which is deciding between a tuition centre and a home tutor. Apart from weighing the pros and cons of these two options, you also want to know the difference in tutoring rates per hour.
As the owner of SmileTutor, a leading home tuition agency based in Singapore, I am very familiar with both group tuition rates in tuition centres and of course, home tuition fees. For the convenience of our clients, my team has compiled the average range for home tuition rates in Singapore based on the asking rates that our tutors receive daily.
Below, I’ll go in-depth about home tutoring costs and the group tuition market rates. I’ll also list down some ideas for even more affordable tutoring services in case the two main options are priced out of your budget. After all, I understand that tuition in Singapore can be very expensive, and parents want an economical (rather than astronomical) investment.
To round it up, I will share some tips on how you can find the most suitable tutor for your child based on his/her needs. That’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
Group tuition rates vs. Home tuition fees
Tuition centres typically offer lessons that are based on a curriculum. Unlike a school classroom, they would have a smaller teacher-to-student ratio, allowing individuals to receive a more tailored guidance. When talking about group tuition rates, I am referring to group tuition fees in tuition centres. Home tuition fees or private tuition fees, on the other hand, would be what is charged by a private tutor who conducts one-to-one classes.
(Note: There could be private tutors who offer group lessons and tuition centres that can offer private lessons, but for the sake of minimising confusion, let’s stick to the definitions above.)
Generally, private tuition fees tend to be higher than group tuition rates – but not always. As a rule of thumb, home tuition fees are between $20 to $50 per hour for primary schools, $25 to $50 per hour for secondary schools, and $50 to $80 per hour for junior colleges. Tutors who have experience teaching in schools command an even higher rate. The group tuition market rate in tuition centres, on the other hand, is typically around $30 per hour for primary school, $40 per hour for secondary schools, and above $55 per hour for junior college.
If you’d like a more detailed guideline on the tuition market rate in Singapore, keep reading.
Tutoring rates per hour for home tuition (i.e. private tuition fees)
As you have observed in the previous section, home tuition rates fall on a very broad spectrum. This is because they are affected by many factors – the teacher’s qualification, the lesson duration, when the lessons begin, and whether a major examination is around the corner.
Below, I’ll break down the private tuition fees into different levels so you can zoom into what’s relevant for your child. The rates given are based on whether the tutor is tutoring part-time, full-time, and whether they are a school teacher.
Part-time tutors are typically undergraduates, and sometimes A-level or diploma holders who are still schooling. Full-time tutors, on the other hand, tend to have plenty of experience in teaching as they do it as a profession. They may or may not be degree-holders. School teachers are those who once held (or still hold on to) an MOE teaching job. They are professionally trained and are familiar with the demands of the MOE curriculum.
Preschool tuition rates
Yes, preschool tuition is a thing! Could you expect any less in Singapore’s highly competitive society? I know many parents who hire private tutors for their preschool children to ensure an easy transition into Primary 1– and sometimes to ensure that their kids are ahead of their school peers. The tuition would typically cover English, a Mother Tongue language (Chinese, Malay or Tamil) and/or Maths.
You can find the preschool tuition rates in the table below.
Primary school tuition rates
Primary school tutoring rates are different between lower primary levels and upper primary levels. The latter is usually more geared for tackling the hurdle that all students (and their parents) worry about: the PSLE. To meet the high demand, you can even find tutors who specialise in PSLE subjects, be it English, Chinese, Maths or Science. As expected, the primary school tutoring hourly rate is higher for Primary 6 students, especially with tutors that have MOE teaching experience.
You can find the primary school tuition rates in the table below.
Tuition rates for secondary school
After the PSLE comes the GCE O-Level or GCE N-Level exams that would chart the next path of your child. What would it be: JC, Poly or ITE? Once again, tuition rates for secondary school differ by the levels.
You can find the tuition rates for secondary school in the table below.
JC tuition rates
I have heard stories of many students struggling in JC, even if they scored well for their O-Level exams. After all, JC students only have two years to prepare for the challenging GCE A-Level exams and the stakes are immense! The subject contents can also be very complex to digest. This is where JC tutors come in and guide students on their H1/H2 subjects like GP, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Economics, Geography, Literature and so on.
You can find the JC tuition rates in the table below.
Other tuition rates
If I have yet to cover the tuition rate for the academic level that you have been looking for, you may find it in the table below.
|IB (Primary Years)
|IB (Middle Years)
Group tuition rates in tuition centres
Below, I’ll look into three specific tuition centres in Singapore that publish their group tuition rates online. This would help to demonstrate the tuition market rate and how exactly tuition centres charge it, as not all tuition centres go by tutoring rates per hour.
The Learning Lab offers tuition and enrichment classes for preschoolers to pre-tertiary students. A popular chain that has been operating for 16 years, The Learning Lab has eight centres around Singapore including in Jem, Tampines Mall and United Square. Their lessons are conducted four times monthly and they range between 1hr 45mins to 2 hours.
Rates at The Learning Lab:
- A one-time registration fee of $80
- $360 monthly per subject for pre-school
- $400 monthly for English, Maths or Science for Primary 1 to 4
- $420 monthly for English, Maths or Science for Primary 5 to 6
- $460 monthly for English, Maths or Science for Secondary 1 to 4
- $480 monthly for GP or H2 Maths for J1 to J2
Pencil Tutor conducts tuition in small class sizes and uses e-learning to make their lessons more engaging. Catered to secondary school students, most of their classes run for 1h 30mins. Discounts are available for those who take tuition for more than one subject.
Rates at Pencil Tutor:
- $120 for four weeks for English, Maths or Science for Secondary 1 to 2
- $120 for four weeks for English, Maths or Science subjects for Secondary 3 to 5
A Chinese language learning centre for preschoolers and primary school students, Berries help students build a strong foundation in Chinese. This brand has been established for more than 25 years.
Rates at Berries:
- $35 to $37 per lesson for pre-school (1h 30mins to 1h 45mins)
- $38 per lesson for Primary 1 to 2 (1h 45mins)
- $39 per lesson for Primary 3 to 4 (2 hours)
- $47 per lesson for Primary 5 (2h 30mins)
- $55 per lesson for Primary 6 (3 hours)
As you can observe from the group tuition rates above, the price range is quite broad. The rates I mentioned in the earlier section ($30 per hour for primary school, $40 per hour for secondary schools, and above $55 per hour for junior college) is quite a loose yardstick. As it really depends on the tuition centre, you’ll have to make enquiries to learn more.
Tuition centre vs. Home tuition – Which is better?
It’s not easy to determine whether your child should join group tuition or private tuition. The cost matters, of course, but what other considerations are there? Let’s take a look at the main benefits of both options.
Group tuition allows for learning with other students. It encourages friendly competition, the sharing of knowledge and in the right setting, may also provide the motivation for your child to put in the extra effort. The lessons may be structured based on a fixed curriculum that complements the classes in school.
The benefits of group tuition, when framed in another way, can also be seen as negatives. For example, group tuitions reduce the personalised attention each student can get from their tutor. Some students might also find it hard to focus in a group setting, while others may be too shy to ask questions and clear their doubts.
Home tuition, on the other hand, allows the child to get one-to-one attention from the tutor. The tutor can tailor the teaching style to meet the needs of the student and focus in-depth on specific problem areas. The tutor can closely monitor the performance of the student and give a valuable report back to the parents. Private tuitions are also much more flexible – both in terms of study plans and making lesson arrangements.
The only downside to private tuitions is that students are unable to reap the benefits of a group setting.
Now, let’s talk about the focal point of this article: cost.
I would like to emphasise what has been mentioned earlier, which is that home tuition Singapore rates are not necessarily more expensive than group tuition rates. You could potentially lower the home tuition rate by reducing tutor requirements (eg. by sex or race) and by opting for longer tuition duration once a week instead of multiple sessions every week. Some home tutors are also willing to accept lower-than-usual home tuition fees for students who live near their homes
Also, let’s not forget that private tuition conducted at home also saves the time and money needed for travelling to tuition centres.
Now, if you are open to the idea, let me take this opportunity to promote SmileTutor! What we do is to match your child with a private tutor based on your preferences. On your part, you have to fill in an online request form or make a phone enquiry, and our team will go through our database of over 10,635 active tutors to give you tutor recommendations within 24 hours. Best of all, this service is completely free for you.
Affordable tutoring services for low-income families
What if you are unable to afford the fees set by the tuition centres or private tutors?
I think it’s wonderful that there are avenues for parents to get help with their children’s education needs. For example, the Collaborative Tuition Programme (CTP) was set up as a joint collaboration between the various self-help groups in Singapore such as Yayasan MENDAKI, CDAC and SINDA. With subsidies and grants for after-school tutoring programs, tuition is more accessible to everyone.
The cost for the CTP is around $8 per month per subject for Primary 1 to 3 students and $12 per month per subject for Primary 4 to Secondary 5 students. This is inclusive of both the registration and book fees. As of late 2018, there are 97 tuition centres islandwide as part of this programme so rest assured that you can find affordable tutoring for your child nearby.
Apart from this programme, the aforementioned self-help groups also offer affordable tutoring schemes. Click the links below to find out more.
Also, you can consider taking 1-to-1 online tutoring instead. The rates are $5-10/h cheaper than face-to-face physical lessons and start from as low as $15-20/h.
Free tuition in Singapore
If you’re interested in enrolling your child for free tuition, they do exist! However, the options are very limited. Free tuition lessons are typically organised by community-based or religious groups. Below are some of them.
- Life Edu Services, a non-profit organisation, has volunteers that give free tuition to students from disadvantaged families in the MacPherson community.
- The Loving Heart Free Tuition Programme runs thrice weekly for Primary 1 to Secondary 3 students residing in Jurong GRC, Bukit Batok SMC and Yuhua SMC.
- Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (KMSPKS) has dedicated volunteers giving free tuition every Sundays to secondary school students.
Find the right tutor for your child
I hope that this article has helped you determine a useful range of tuition rates and perhaps even specific locations for your child’s upcoming tuition classes. The search may be tedious but once you’ve found the right tutor, your child will reap the rewards. All the best!