How Parents can Guard against Fraud in the Tutoring Industry

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How Parents can Guard against Fraud in the Tutoring Industry

Postby NickleBee Tutors » Wed May 08, 2013 4:41 pm

It appears that a rather popular education centre has unceremoniously appeared in the news today (The New Paper; 8 May 2013) for being accused of having teachers with questionable qualifications and credentials.

http://www.tnp.sg/content/tuition-centre-staffs-qualifications-questioned

This brings back to mind the events of last July where a certain tutor running a GEP Preparatory School was outed in the national papers for claiming to posses credentials that he did not have.

It was due to the events of last year that I, in my capacity as owner of NickleBee Tutors, wrote a short article a few months back laying out guidelines for parents who wish to be assured of hiring teachers with genuine academic credentials (to guarantee a certain academic rigor and knowledge in their subjects of expertise) and the requisite teaching skills (to identify conceptual deficits and impart the required knowledge across to the students).

I hence reproduce the article for the benefit of parents :

"Just a little background of myself. I was from the Gifted Education Programme in Rosyth Primary, following which I gained admission into Raffles Institution Gifted Education Programme (in the days before IP) and did my 'A' Levels at Victoria JC (despite me being an 'O' Level 2 pointer as I wanted a change of academic environment). Took a long detour into NUS Dentistry because my mother wanted the prestige of having a son who's a doctor but I was never really happy inside and I quit in my 4th year (due to complications from a pre-exisiting army injury to my eye that made provision of quality dental care to my patients difficult). I am currently an accountancy undergrad and and the owner of NickleBee Tutors which I set up together with a couple of friends in the MOE teaching service. I specialize in providing tutoring and mentoring services in Mathematics to Gifted Education Programme, High Ability and Integrated Programme students for a while now, and what started out as a means to pay my way through college has become a passion for me. I hope to join the MOE teaching service one day.

I will not dwell on the morality and legalities of the tutor who was caught lying. Instead, I would like to shed some light on what parents can do to protect themselves and their child from such frauds in future.

I have noticed that many parents I come across in my years of tutoring are surprised when I bring a portfolio of all my credentials and academic certificates on the first lesson. It took me a while to realize that it is not standard practice for tutors and educators to present their credentials during the first lesson and that most parents take the tutor's education background claims at face value without further checks. I have only this to say, as parents, you would be putting your child's education and future into the hands of a stranger. The least you could do is to check the Tutor's credentials so as to ensure that the tutor does have an excellent knowledge of the subject he is supposed to teach. If the tutor's certificates arouse suspicion, you can call MOE or the tutor's previous schools to ascertain if the tutor is truly who he claims to be. After all, as former US president Ronald Reagan like to put it : "Trust, but verify".

While it is true that tutors with excellent credentials, a good track record and who are in great demand, usually charge high fees (Economics 101), it does not mean that a tutor with sky high rates must be really good. Every child is different and what works for another child might not work with your's. It is a good idea to sit nearby (but not at the same table as doing so would be rather distracting) during the first couple of lessons and observe the dynamics between the tutor and your child and also to ascertain that the tutor knows what he is teaching.

Last but not least, there has been a recent trend of tuition centres placing student testimonials on their website. I never do feature testimonials on my website as I am of the opinion that since testimonials can be faked quite easily, I would rather place my student's exam marks, school academic prizes and PSLE certificates on my website and let the results speak for themselves. Of course, one could argue that the students' results could be altered and it is indeed a valid point. However, I believe that tutors should display the utmost integrity and honesty in all dealings with parents and if the tutor can't even do something as simple as placing up his student's results unembellished, he shouldn't even be teaching in the first place.

These are just my personal opinions on this matter and I thank you for taking the time to read this.

http://www.kiasuparents.com/kiasu/forum/viewtopic.php?p=815728#p815728 "

Yours

Zhou Shicai
Lead Educator
NickleBee Tutors
http://www.nicklebeetutors.com

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Re: How Parents can Guard against Fraud in the Tutoring Indu

Postby NickleBee Tutors » Sat May 11, 2013 8:49 am

Raffles EduHub founder's and staff's qualifications questioned
Kane Cunico and David Sun | The New Paper | Fri May 10 2013


http://www.edvantage.com.sg/edvantage/news/schoolnews/1783756/Tuition_centre_staff_s_qualifications_questioned.html

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) is investigating the founder and managing director of a tuition centre who is listed as a medical doctor and a child psychologist on the centre's website.

Raffles EduHub, which also boasts a teacher with an "MBBS in mathematics", has been featured in the New York Times, and in both print and TV media here in stories about the private tuition industry.

In the New York Times report, Raffles EduHub's founder and managing director, Dr Zhong Rui Wen, was described as a medical doctor and child psychiatrist.

Checks with both the Singapore Medical Council and the Ministry of Health (MOH) showed that her name is not on their lists of registered doctors.

An MOH spokesman said the ministry is investigating the matter.

The spokesman said that under the Medical Registration Act, "any unauthorised person guilty of advertising or holding himself out as a medical practitioner will be liable to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both".

The question over the academic qualifications published on the Raffles EduHub website arose after a reader tipped off The New Paper that his friends became suspicious while looking for a suitable tuition centre for their children.

They were wary after checking the centre's website and seeing that one of the teachers has an implausible qualification from the National University of Singapore (NUS) - an MBBS in mathematics.

"I don't think there's such a thing as an MBBS in mathematics," said the reader, who declined to be named.

An MBBS is a bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery.

Checks and imbalances

When contacted by TNP, an NUS spokesman said the school is not allowed to divulge information on whether individuals have graduated from there, citing confidentiality agreements.

But the spokesman said in an e-mail that there is no MBBS in mathematics.

The spokesman also said: "While the university offers a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree programme, we do not offer any undergraduate or graduate degree programme with a specialisation in child psychology."

Dr Zhong states on the Raffles EduHub website that she has an "MBBS (child psychologist) - (NUS) Distinction".

A check on the NUS website shows that the university offers undergraduate and graduate programmes in psychology from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences but such programmes do not appear to be offered at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

Checks with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) revealed that Raffles EduHub was previously listed as Glanville Learning Centre, which was registered in January 2009.

It was terminated in May 2011 and renamed and registered under the new name of Raffles EduHub, with a Li Jinshun, a Chinese national, as a director.

When TNP called the company secretary listed on Acra, she said: "I have nothing to do with their business. I don't interfere. I put my name down as secretary for so many companies."

When asked if she knew a Dr Zhong, she hesitated, then said: "Zhong? Zhong?"

When told that Dr Zhong is the founder of Raffles EduHub, the secretary said: "Oh, Zhong. Yah. She's the director. I don't interfere and don't care.

TNP also carried out checks with MOH and the Ministry of Education (MOE) on the veracity of the academic and medical qualifications listed on Raffles EduHub's website.

The centre did not turn up on a search of registered tuition centres on the MOE website.

According to an MOE spokesman, "private schools or centres offering tuition or enrichment programmes with 10 or more students must be registered with MOE".

The schools will have to provide evidence that their teachers "possess the appropriate educational qualifications required to teach their proposed courses or subjects" .

"Raffles EduHub is not registered with MOE. It has applied for registration," said the MOE spokesman, without elaborating when the tuition centre had applied for registration.

"The Ministry has asked for relevant documentation and is waiting to receive these documents so that it can process the application."

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said no complaint was lodged against Raffles EduHub or Dr Zhong in the past two years.

When TNP met Dr Zhong on Saturday, she said she could provide the relevant documents to back up the claims on the website about her and the teacher's qualifications.

When TNP checked with her over the phone on Tuesday, she said: "I still have to check."

We have the right not to show

When TNP asked if copies of her employees' resumes and certificates were kept at the tuition centre in Katong Shopping Centre, her reply was "no".

She said: "We don't keep records at the centre. We have the right to show and not to show.

"Anyway, if we are not capable, we wouldn't have survived (teaching students) for nine years. All the qualifications on the website are true."

When asked if qualifications matter when teaching her students, she said: "It's not about the qualifications. It depends on what techniques you are teaching children. They are not straight-A students."

She then said firmly: "Do you think just teaching Saturday and Sunday class can make me rich?

"All my staff have been teaching for nine years. Why do you think they (students) choose to do homework? Because we motivate them and praise them."

When TNP pressed her again about the documents to back their qualification claims, Dr Zhong said: "Next week".

"I have to go for eye surgery today," she said.

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Re: How Parents can Guard against Fraud in the Tutoring Indu

Postby NickleBee Tutors » Sat May 11, 2013 8:57 am

'We don't make a lot of money'
Kane Cunico and David Sun | The New Paper | Fri May 10 2013


http://www.edvantage.com.sg/edvantage/news/schoolnews/1783804/_We_don_t_make_a_lot_of_money_.html

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Raffles EduHub founder and managing director Zhong Rui Wen prides herself on her ability and her teachers' ability to reach children with learning disabilities and those with average or below-average grades.

The centre tutors children from Primary 1 all the way to N and O levels.

She said that unlike other "elite" private tuition centres, Raffles EduHub does not make a lot of money.

The centre, which occupies two units with a combined size of about a three-room 750 sq ft HDB flat in Katong Shopping Centre, charges students $110 a month per subject.

Dr Zhong said she even provides free tuition to children of parents who cannot afford to pay, and those who "have been turned away from other centres" and who have been "written off by their teachers in school".

She spoke to The New Paper about her agency's credentials at her centre last Saturday.


TNP: Do your staff have the academic qualifications listed on your website to counter the reader's claim that your qualifications are bogus?

Dr Zhong: Have.

TNP: Can you or your staff provide documents to back up claims on the website that they have National Institute of Education and National University of Singapore (NUS) backgrounds as well as the MBBS (bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery) qualification?

Dr Zhong: Can. Actually we don't have to clarify that claim. We are not beating any other student centres. We have our own techniques for teaching. If let's say our teachers are not able to teach, we will not have children who score very well. We emphasise students' confidence levels.

TNP: But you're not on the list of the Ministry of Education's tuition centres or Ministry of Health's list of doctors.

Dr Zhong: But we're not prescribing any medicine. We are not doing any false advertising. (At the) end of the day, you can advertise you're a professor, but (at the) end of the day if you're not producing results, people won't come to you. For us, we produce results. We're not beating the whole market.

TNP: There's no MBBS in mathematics. What do you say to that?

Dr Zhong: The thing is that we've been running for so many years. Children come here from below-average backgrounds and most of them see results.

TNP: What's your reaction to this reader's claims?

Dr Zhong: It could be a competitor.
Last edited by NickleBee Tutors on Sat May 11, 2013 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How Parents can Guard against Fraud in the Tutoring Indu

Postby NickleBee Tutors » Sat May 11, 2013 9:04 am

'Gifted' private tutor told by MOE to stop lying
AsiaOne | Mon Jul 30 2012


http://www.edvantage.com.sg/edvantage/news/news/1222276/_Gifted_private_tutor_told_by_MOE_to_stop_lying.html

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SINGAPORE - Mr Kelvin Ong Wee Loong, the founder of AristoCare centre, charges a whopping $250 per lesson for parents of primary school students looking to clinch a place in the coveted Gifted Education Programme (GEP).

GEP is a highly selective academic programme in Singapore, designed to identify the top 1 per cent of students from each academic year.

On his website, the 36-year-old claimed he was previously from Clementi Town Primary before being admitted to Anglo-Chinese School's (Primary) GEP in Primary 4.

He further stated that he went on to attend Anglo-Chinese Junior College and the National University of Singapore, before becoming a teacher in the GEP programme at his alma mater.

However, checks by the Ministry of Education (MOE) revealed that Mr Ong was neither ever a pupil nor teacher in the programme, The Sunday Times reported (SUT)

He is not even a qualified teacher, and according to ACS (Primary), not even a student of the school.

MOE was alerted to the claims when SUT ran a report on parents sending children for costly tuition, where Mr Ong was featured as a highly sought after tutor.

In response to the revelations, Mr Ong said it was his mother who told him that he was from the gifted programme and he could not verify it because he does not have the records from the past.

He has since cleaned up his website and now claims that he was a relief teacher at ACS (Primary) from 2002 to 2003 and 'helped out' with the gifted classes.

However, this too is being disputed by the ACS (Primary), which said that a check with all its long-serving teachers revealed that there was never a Kelvin Ong who taught there as a relief teacher.

This is not the first time Mr Ong has faced allegations of misleading claims.

Two parents have asked him to remove positive testimonials supposedly written by their children, saying that their children never wrote them.

In 2010, Mr Ong also got into hot water with MOE for selling fake 2009 GEP Screening and Selection Test papers.

yamadak@sph.com.sg
Last edited by NickleBee Tutors on Sat May 11, 2013 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How Parents can Guard against Fraud in the Tutoring Indu

Postby NickleBee Tutors » Wed May 22, 2013 2:41 pm

Self-proclaimed "gifted" tutor not even NUS grad
Edvantage | Sun Aug 5 2012


http://www.edvantage.com.sg/edvantage/features/people/1242026/Self_proclaimed_gifted_tutor_not_even_NUS_grad.html

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Mr Kelvin Ong never graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) as a double mathematics major.

In fact, he never attended the university, The Sunday Times reported.

Last month the Education Ministry revealed that Mr Ong was neither a pupil nor teacher in the Gifted Education Programme.

He then claimed that it was his mother who told him that he was from the gifted programme and he could not verify it because he does not have the records from the past.

He went on to add that he was a relief teacher at Anglo-Chinese School's (Primary) from 2002 to 2003 and "helped out" with the gifted classes.

This claim was then disputed by the school. ACS primary added that a check with all its long-serving teachers revealed that there was never a Kelvin Ong who taught there as a relief teacher.

The Sunday Times revealed that Mr Ong had actually graduated from Nanyang Polytechnic with a diploma in 2000.

He then worked as a physiotherapist at National University Hospital (NUH) before being asked to leave in 2004 over "integrity" issues. It was during this time when he was working at NUH that he had claimed he had been a relief teacher in ACS primary.

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Re: How Parents can Guard against Fraud in the Tutoring Indu

Postby NickleBee Tutors » Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:10 pm

Updated to increase awareness of parents.

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Re: How Parents can Guard against Fraud in the Tutoring Indu

Postby surajkumar » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:12 pm

This the cause of parents unawareness if we get full information before admission then not any fraud goin gin tutoring industry also govt doesn't apply any rules about it for this reason many fraud peoples are cam in this industry if we get right guideline about them then we definitely stop it ..

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