Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuition centre under investigation over misleading ad

A tuition centre which claimed its PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) revision class is taught by an examiner who had set the paper for this year's PSLE has come under scrutiny.

The advertisement for the tuition centre, which appeared in newspapers last month, was promoting its 'PSLE revision by this year's question setter'.

In the same advertisement, the centre, SuccessNat, claimed the 'O' level revision class would be conducted by 'teachers from the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB)'.

The advertisement aroused the suspicions of one parent, who wondered if the PSLE exam questions for this year would be 'leaked' during the class.

When she called the centre to find out more, she alleged the person in charge of the centre, a Mr Lim, 23, stated that he works at the SEAB.

According to the Shin Min Daily, this was what he told enquiring journalists in an earlier report.

He further claimed that he had a 'five-year contract' to set exam questions for the PSLE, and that the tutors he employed were last year's examiners who had set the exam questions.

However, two employees who were interviewed at the time said that they were not examiners.

'Advertisement was misleading'

When contacted by reporters from the Chinese daily, Mr Lim was apologetic and admitted that the advertisement was 'misleading'.

In defence of the statement made about the PSLE revision being conducted by 'this year's question-setter', he said that it did not mean a PSLE exam-setter, but a teacher who had set exams for his or her school.

He also said 'O level revision by SEAB teachers' was misconstrued. He claimed he meant that tutors will observe guidelines and regulations set by SEAB.

In reference to his claims that he is an employee of SEAB, Mr Lim admits the statement was false, and he does not have any 'contract' with the Board.

Mr Lim revealed that after the initial advertisement was put up, only two persons responded.

He added that the centre's latest advertisement did not carry the same claims, and said he would be 'more careful' next time.

SEAB: Mr Lim 'is not an employee'

In a statement from the SEAB, it stated that any person who sets exam papers at a national level, including teachers, are required to sign documents to ensure that the questions are kept confidential.

It said it was investigating the centre, SuccessNat, for its allegations. It also verified that Mr Lim is not an employee of SEAB nor is he a PSLE examiner.

When contacted, the Ministry of Education (MOE) stated that teachers are allowed to moonlight as tutors, only if it does not affect their teaching.

It also restricts the amount of time teachers can spend giving tuition to a maximum of only six hours a week.

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