SINGAPORE â The private tuition industry came under the spotlight in Parliament today (Sept 16) as several Members of Parliament (MPs) rose to their feet and raised questions on how to retain teachers in the education service who may leaving for more lucrative roles in the private sector. Nominated MP Janice Koh had tabled a question about the impact of the tuition industry on social mobility and providing children with equal opportunities, and the Ministry of Educationâs (MOE) ability to retain good teachers. Responding, Senior Minister of State (Law and Education) Indranee Rajah said that Singaporeâs education system is ârun on the basis that tuition is not necessaryâ. For students who need additional support, âcomprehensive levelling-up programmesâ are in place to ensure students develop a good foundation in English and Mathematics. At the same time, teachers provide remedial and supplementary classes on top of community tuition schemes such as those run by self-help groups, she added. She also said that the private tuition industry has not made any significant impact on teacher attrition, citing âlowâ resignation rates of around 3 per cent annually. âIn our exit interviews and surveys, joining the tuition industry has not been cited as a major reason for teachers leaving the Education service,â she added. Ms Koh then asked if there was a need to study the relationship between household income and expenditure on tuition and its impact on social mobility, citing figures from 2008 that showed that about 97 per cent of Singaporean students enrolled in tuition and enrichment classes compared to only 49 and 30 per cent of primary and secondary school students who did so in 1992. Likewise, in 2008, households spent S$820 million on tuition, double the figure in 1998. She also quoted figures from the latest household expenditure survey which found that Singaporeans spent about 1.1 to 2.2 per cent of their household expenditure on tuition and educational expenses. Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Denise Phua also weighed in, saying that the tuition industry âcould be a S$1-billion-dollar industryâ by now, and asked if the ministry could set up a task force to better understand how much households spend on tuition and if solutions are needed. She also pointed out that âthere are quite a number of star tutors or good tutorsâ in the private sector who are ex-employees of the ministry â a view shared by Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Intan Azura Mokhtar, who asked if there could be a review of the current provision which allows teachers to give private tuition for about six hours a week. Removing this provision could be a start in curbing âthis attraction towards the private tuition industryâ, said Dr Intan, who is a lecturer and researcher at the National Institute of Education. In response, Ms Indranee reiterated that the âattrition rate is lowâ and said there is a wide range of reasons for teachers leaving the education sector. Among them, âa very low percentageâ of teachers leave because they are not happy with the job, she said. âBut certainly, we would want to retain as many as we can in the education service,â she said, adding that the ministry would look at factors that can persuade teachers to stay as well as reasons that have led to teachers seeking better opportunities in the private sector. As for Ms Kohâs calls for more studies on the impact of the tuition industry on âeducational attainmentâ, Ms Indranee said the ministry currently does not have the data to make assessments, but would look carefully at the possibility of conducting such a study.