Selangor is Malaysia’s most developed state, having the largest economy and lowest poverty rate, as well as the largest population in the country. Therefore, what happens in Selangor can be taken as a microcosm of Malaysia itself, and tuition is no different: Most of the key players in the home tuition industry also attend to Selangorean students, and credible tutors can have more confidence in commanding higher rates here because of the state’s relative affluence compared to its neighbours.
Malaysia’s status as a newly-industralised country means that the middle class has rapidly grown more than in other countries, and as such is ready to spend and invest. Where affluent parents can afford to spend for their children’s sake, they will readily pursue it for the sole purpose of their success.
Tuition is one way parents can directly contribute to this, as this is the best Band-Aid solution to what is increasingly seen as a questionable traditional educational system, one where pupils are unable to bring out the best in themselves due to understandably being compelled to conform at the cost of individuality. Given this, the tuition industry is booming, and it has taken on different approaches - centre-based, home-based, and online-based; classroom-style, small-group, and individual.
Home tuition, when a tutor goes to the preferred venue of a client (usually their house), is usually individual or one-to-one, or at least in small groups. There are several reasons why this is such a popular option that is seen as actually helpful.
The more visible reason is convenience. Kids can come home right away from school and study there, which poses one less problem on parents’ end as they are assured that their child is safe and sound at home. They do not have to make a stop, and spend time, at a tuition centre, and come home only at night to eat and sleep before rising for school and tuition again the next day. This also saves up on transportation costs.
A less visible, but equally if not more important, reason, is effectivity. When a teacher in a traditional school setup has so many charges, it is virtually impossible to fully invest in each of them because one has got only so much time and resources, so it is a natural consequence that a degree of uniformity and conformity is expected. Thus, the individual learning styles and paces of pupils are not taken into consideration, which is not desirable especially at school-age, given that this is the time of a child’s life when they need formation the most. On the other hand, one-to-one tuition lets a teacher focus entirely on one child, allowing them to tailor their approach to the unique person in order to ensure complete learning and understanding.
The range of home tuition services in Selangor mirrors that of the wider Malaysia overall. Most big home tuition providers are agencies; that is, they only match requests with suitable tutors, and typically retain only a small portion of the fees, which are usually paid completely to the tutor. The tutors themselves are mostly freelancers who can register with multiple agencies for the sake of getting more clients, unless they have signed contracts of exclusivity with one agency.
Given this, there are no uniform standards or standardised rates and teaching styles, allowing for a great deal of autonomy. Because of this, less experienced tutors, usually undergraduate-level ones or even students moonlighting, are wont to charge below-average rates; while on the other hand, professional, retired, or specialised tutors with established backgrounds can command higher-than-normal rates. Personal credibility can make or break a tutor’s career, even a part-time one, and testimonials carry great weight.
● URL: https://www.championtutor.my
● Number: +60 17 385 0212 (0900-2100 weekdays; 0900-1800 Saturdays)
Present in Singapore as well, ChampionTutor has a relatively developed Web platform that not only employs management information systems and offers account management for both students and tutors, but also serves as a database to filter said tutors, which numbers more than 2,000 at writing, to match client needs. Nevertheless, like A+, the matching is not fully automated, and clients can ring to request, with a maximum turnaround time of two days. The site provides an exhaustive and extensive booking service, with FAQ pages for both students and tutors alike.
ChampionTutor caters to students as early as preschool all the way to post-secondary education, and also offers tuition in non-traditional subjects such as music, computer, special needs, and language. Tutorials can be done at the client’s venue or a centre; and rates are also not standardised, although tutors do follow a recommended range, with allowances for qualifications, background, and logistical arrangements.
On average, an undergraduate-level tutor teaching primary school students would charge RM25 to 30 per hour, while a professional or retired teacher attending an International Baccalaureate (IB) or diploma client can ask for RM80 to 100 per hour. These fees go entirely to the tutor, except for half of the first billing, which is the only commission paid to ChampionTutor.
Tutors must be Malaysian residents who are at least 16 years old and have been teaching for one year.
● Number: +91 9830081584 (WhatsApp; India)
● Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MyPrivateTutor is the local partner of American-based LearnPick, and has a relatively longer history of attending students in Malaysia since 2009; as such, they have a more robust foundation and portfolio of services. They specialise not just in academic tutorials, but also extracurricular subjects like music, dance, sports, languages, and even business training. Furthermore, the format is not limited to home tuition, as they also offer online and centre-based courses.
Due to this very diverse variety in offerings, rates are not publicly posted online and are provide upon inquiry only, which can be done via email, WhatsApp, or the feedback form on the site. Customers can create an account on the site and use it to manage their requests. MyPrivateTutor does not charge commissions.
Tutors must be Malaysian residents and have basic academic qualifications and decent marks, especially in the subject/s they wish to teach.
● Email: email@example.com
● Number: +60 17 717 7838
Founded in 2015, A+ Home Tuition, to date, deploys about 6,000 tutors across most locations in Malaysia (Selangor in particular), teaching all subjects from preschool up to degree levels, including both national and international syllabi. They are the self-styled largest community of professional tutors in Malaysia.
Students answer a questionnaire that asks for their details, the subject/s tuition is needed in, and their availability, before they are matched with tutors. For cost efficiency, A+ does not offer hour-long tutorials; sessions must last for a minimum of 1.5 hours, although rates are still displayed and promoted on an hourly basis. These range from the national syllabus at the primary level (RM35 to 60) to the degree level (RM80 onwards), though the international syllabus at the secondary level also reaches RM120; still, these are only approximations, with actual fees varying depending on qualifications and experience.
Requests are posted on their site and Facebook page for tutors to look at, and the site itself also has a page where interested tutors can apply to teach with A+.
● URL: https://www.tuitionhero.my
● Number: +60 12 211 9510
Also established in 2015, Tuition Hero has served more than 1,500 clients and enjoyed a satisfaction rate of 80% since, with a tutor network of 4,000. This platform places a heavier emphasis on customer support and relationships, as evidenced by screengrabs of testimonials regarding both the platform itself and its individual tutors showcased on its site. They also offer a mobile app for easier on-the-go coordination of the tutors.
Tuition Hero covers all academic subjects, as well as language learning for children and adults (English, Mandarin, and Malay), and teaches from preschool up to the degree level, covering both national and international syllabi. Requests are posted on the site for all to see.
Unlike other sites, Tuition Hero does not display a standard schedule of fees, but uses a convenient calculator built into the site. These rates are the suggested market rates, but clients can also set their budget levels, and tutors’ backgrounds will also influence the rates they personally charge. For preschool, the usual hourly rate is RM35, while for diploma or degree, it is at RM120 to 150. If a session is to be conducted with more than one student, an additional fee of RM10 to 20 per hour applies.
Similar to ChampionTutor, Tuition Hero collects a commission in the form of just the first two weeks’ fees, but after the said two weeks’ sessions have been completed. Tutors must be Malaysian residents with six months’ experience.
● Number: +60 16 648 6729
● Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Founded in 2014, DreamHomeTuition caters to primary to pre-tertiary students, but also Singaporean maths, English, and science. They also teach IT, English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil for adult clients. With its more than 1,000 tutors, the platform claims to have a 90% success rate in terms of marks improvement within six months, having served approximately 1,800 parents as of writing. Prior to sessions, DreamHomeTuition offers a free fifteen-minute consultation.
Rates are not displayed online and are obtained through direct inquiries only. Tutors are charged for administration fees and are matched to clients within 3 days.
Home tuition can definitely be expensive, due to its inherent characteristics. While it can be very effective in an individual child’s development, it also has its drawbacks: Tutors are also humans, and cannot be in two places at once, so there is a real question of losing time on other matters just to teach one child, and vice-versa. It is very costly because a tutor will have to spend for the commute, which takes up valuable time, and thus shifts the expense onto the client through a higher compensation demanded.
And, on the other hand, there may be instances when pupils actually do not need all the bells and whistles of home tuition, such as when their needs can be easily addressed through other means. One way that the benefits of home tuition can be married with cost-efficiency is technology - beyond simply putting up a site to match tutors and students. In fact, online, one-to-one tuition is not new, especially in language learning. They follow the philosophy of individualised tuition, but change the medium to doing it over the Internet, which saves up a lot of resources on both ends.
Notwithstanding the possible attention span deterioration of children when using a computer or mobile device for this purpose, benefits far outweigh the risks: both tutor and tutee save time, money, and energy, and flexibility is maximised. Done properly, a digital platform still gets to offer the adapted, tailored approach of traditional home tuition - and, in fact, it can be the best balance of quality tuition, cost, and social interaction.
There is one such platform specific to maths: iMath, a Singaporean startup now expanding in Malaysia that aims to sustain and scale quality and flexible revisions for maths via technology. It is very cost-efficient because one of its two big features is completely free: community discussion boards where users can ask and answer any number of questions they like for free, and be answered in kind by peers or tutors. If they need such, and can invest in it, they can pay for a half-hour, one-to-one video call with a tutor, which does not have to observe a regular schedule, and is recorded and stored in the user’s account cloud for future reference. The app also records their notification preferences and acts like a digital assistant to push reminders regularly. This allows for scaling up without the sacrifice of personal approach that traditional education had to make.
Maths, especially Singapore-style, can be complicated, to the point that even stay-at-home parents may not be able to properly teach their children. This is why it is the perfect subject to take digital as it can take advantage of the Internet’s global tentacles to scout out for those actually competent in maths - without compelling them to travel for half an hour to meet up with their clients. An upwards cycle is achieved by an increasing user base that can keep on helping each other better, which translates to even more users due to positive feedback.
The discussion boards allow for peer-to-peer interaction, so that even when it is home tuition-style, pupils can still be exposed to a certain degree to peers who may not even be from the same school or, in Malaysia’s case, same state or ethnicity. There is also an online library, also freely accessible, of sample tests and questions so that users can test themselves.
Tutors are assured of a steady stream of users with wildly varying needs, and thus all the more do not need to conform to any sort of uniformity, which gives them a very high level of autonomy to teach how they wish, when they wish, where they wish. Compensation is not an issue, as the app will be the one to process it and even help them manage fees, virtually guaranteeing remuneration.
iMath, thus, presents a win-win situation for all. Pupils pay cheaper due to time efficiency on tutors’ ends, and also have free resources that may not otherwise be available with traditional home tuition (or, in fact, may be self-sufficient). They, too, enjoy efficiency as they only need a mobile device and Internet connectivity to be able to study whenever, wherever. They are also encouraged to be part of a learning community as they themselves can also post answers on discussion threads, which teaches them to help others. Since it is specifically for mathematics, tutors on the platform would be more maths-oriented than standard home tutors who may be perceived as jacks-of-all-trades-but-masters-of-none. Both students and teachers can insert using iMath into their schedules, and do not have to worry as much about considerations pertaining to, for example, gender, culture, and distance, because everything is conducted online, yet still remains private and personal.
iMath is now available for download on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store or visit their website at www.imath.sg .
This article is written by Allister Roy Chua.