Teach-n-Learn, a Singapore-based educational technology (edtech) startup, launched its online tutoring platform and marketplace earlier this year, aiming to make sourcing and connecting with tutors in Singapore a simpler and more convenient affair.
Ethan Lim, the co-founder & CEO of Teach-n-Learn, believes that with more students growing more digitally inclined, the education marketplace is now ready to leverage on the conveniences that technology can bring, alongside the company’s mission to make learning truly accessible.
Parents and students often operate under tremendous stress in Singapore’s education system, leading to a perceived reliance on tuition to excel academically. With the platform, parents can simply register and select a tutor from a list, subsequently evaluating the tutor’s profile and ratings to find the best fit for their children’s educational needs.
One parliamentarian in the city-state, Ms Denise Phua, noted in 2015: “Many Singaporeans hold dear the mental model that for a good life, you will need good academic results to get into good schools so that you can get into a good university which is the passport to a good job, good salary, good spouse, hopefully, good children and the cycle repeats.”
Formerly seen as a method for helping struggling students to build up parity with their peers, tuition in the city-state has evolved over the last several years to being viewed as a necessity for students to do well academically and fuelled further demand for it; parents and tuition centres maintain that the additional time and greater individual attention in smaller classes grants the students an edge in an increasingly challenging school syllabus.
Tutors often have to compete for students and the use of this platforms means that individual tutors no longer have to fret over not able to have the right connections; they upload their profiles to Teach-n-Learn’s website in order for potential students to search for them, similar to the way how caregiving service Caregiver Asia operates.
Additionally, the website allows tutors to interact with students prior to engaging with them, with payment only being completed once a tutor accepts a student. Like Airbnb, relevant experiences and positive ratings will boost tutors’ listings on the Teach-n-Learn site, with featured tutors possessing good ratings and relevant experiences.
The worry of the occasional slip in concentration can be aided by technology, as students can playback these recorded lessons.
The other concern of having a private tutor by the side can also be allayed as Teach-n-Learn offers live interactive whiteboard-based learning sessions where tutors and student can interact over a video call. While this online tutor marketplace platform is free to use for both tutors and students at the moment, Teach-n-Learn shared that a small commission will be charged in the future. In the long run, it plans to monetise its operations via a subscription-based model.
To date, the company claims to have on-boarded over 500 students ranging from 10 to 18 years of age, with plans to expand into Malaysia and Indonesia.
Despite the fast-growing edtech market in China & the US, with a number of Chinese edtech firms listing in New York, edtech remains an emergent growth sector in Southeast Asia.
In a Forbes post, Vinnie Lauria, the managing partner of Singapore-based venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures, observes: “Multiple factors are driving demand for better education of all kinds, at all levels, across Southeast Asia. Growing economies need skilled workers. Parents want bright futures for their children.”
“Post-secondary education, ideally at a university, has become the goal of many. And nearly everybody wants or needs to learn English, which makes English instruction a booming field in itself,” Lauria adds.
He notes that with constrained public expenditures on education, the use of mobile Internet-based solutions may offer novel approaches for developing edtech solutions. He explains: “Information technology can’t solve every education problem, nor can it substitute for person-to-person learning. It can, however, facilitate interaction and multiply the impact of each person.”