While some have a lot to complain about regarding the circuit breaker period, the majority has decided to make full use of this difficult period.
The circuit breaker period began on 7 April 2020, which encouraged Singaporeans to stay at home and only go out for essential services.
This also meant that private tutors would not be able to go to their student’s houses to teach them.
But at least one tutor thought of a way to make a seemingly bad situation benefit both tutees and tutors.
1,400 Tutors Are Now Offering Free Tuition for Students During Circuit Breaker Period
Andy Teo, 25, a final-year business and accounting student at Nanyang Technological University shared his experience with Channel News Asia about how he gathered tutors (virtually, of course) to offer free tuition.
On 3 April, it was announced that schools would move to full home-based learning (HBL) for a month.
This had made Andy worried as some students might not be able to keep up in class.
After being cancelled on by his tutees, Andy Teo decided to take matters into his own hands and figure out how he could teach online.
His grand idea: gathering fellow tutors to volunteer their time to tutor for free.
Temporary Academic Assistance
Andy made a Google form and called for tutors of any level and subject to fill it up and indicate how much time they’re willing to offer.
Students who required help could look through the list of tutors and contact them by email if they wish.
They could then decide if they want to conduct lessons via video conferencing platforms like Zoom or even through text messages.
A Resource Platform That Runs Itself
Andy hopes that the Temporary Academic Assitance (TAA) initiative will be a resource platform that will run itself.
“For example, if the student were struggling with algebra on a particular day and could not get to their teacher, they could find help here,” Andy said.
He also added that teachers might be busy preparing HBL materials each day.
To spread the word, he called out to tutors on his social media pages and friends.
Indeed, word spreads fast and each day, 10-20 people signed up.
In a week, 250 volunteers volunteered.
“The generosity of the volunteers really touched me. I thought, if I could reach 50 tutors, that was more than enough,” Andy said.
But surprise surprise, it didn’t stop there.
Many volunteers from all walks of life, some with experience and some without offered to teach our usual subjects like science and language.
However, there were also others who offered to teach art, design and technology, music and humanities.
Some even offered to teach polytechnic, ITE or university tuition in engineering, computer science and mass communication.
COVID-19 Tutoring Support For Students
Another initiative similar to the previous one, the COVID-19 Tutoring Support Scheme for Students (CTSS) has also proven successful.
Upon registration, students can choose and rank the subjects they need help with.
Volunteer tutors can choose what to teach from a list of examinable subjects in Singapore, and indicate their experience level.
Merely a week since it was launched, over 1,400 volunteers sighed up and more than 180 students matched with tutors.
CTSS is now run by a team, all of whom are students aged 19 to 22 years old.
It’s heartwarming to see youths step up during this period to render whatever assistance they can to help the community.
If you know anyone who needs academic assistance, do spread the word!