Singapore — Five junior college graduates who provide tuition in return for donations to charities and non-profit organisations are featured in the latest instalment of the todayonline.com Heroes Unmasked series on Thursday (April 30).
Former Raffles Institution student Moh Jin Yin, who was thinking of ways to encourage others to raise funds for charities supporting the people affected by the pandemic, realised that the most valuable service a student could offer was tuition.
Four girls from her school agreed to join her when Ms Moh, currently interning at a financial institution, shared the idea with them and several other schoolmates.
The five teenagers launched Project Circuit on April 17. This is a website where students taking their A-Levels this year can register for free tuition. Provided they pay it forward with a donation of at least S$20 to a charity or non-profit organisation.
Ms Moh said that while donating was encouraged, they do not strictly enforce it as some students could be from low-income families.
Ms Loh Su Jean helped Ms Moh start the initiative. She said that they had been inspired by other tutoring initiatives that were supporting students directly. One such initiative, Covid-19 Tutoring Support for Students, was started by a 20-year-old Singaporean studying in Oxford, giving free lessons to those who could not afford private tuition.
Ms Loh said they wanted to diversify their approach as they knew not all JC students were underprivileged but could benefit by the tuition. So they could achieve the goal of raising money for charity as well.
Another of the initial four, Ms Catherine Kausikan, said that they had also wanted to provide help for students preparing for the A-Level examination as their studies might be affected by the circuit breaker.
The todayonline news website said that students who had signed up for the free tuition were grateful for the help and also saw the donations as a good thing that they were contributing to society.
Ms Wong Shao Yi, a student from RI, said that she felt more relaxed that someone more closer to her age was tutoring her. “It was almost like asking a friend to help you with your schoolwork,” she said. She had donated to Touch Community Services.
Mr Alex Lim, a polytechnic student who is planning to take the A-Level examination as a private candidate in November, signed up for multiple lessons and said he donated S$25 to Habitat For Humanity. “I am already taking private tuition online from elsewhere, why not donate money for a good cause? It is cheaper than if I had lessons with other tutors,” he said.
Project Circuit has widened its services to include advice on university applications although this was to complement college counselling services and not substitute them. It is also hoping to recruit more tutors and students.
Ms Loh said Project Circuit could still support charities even after Covid-19 is contained. She said that when demand picks up near examination periods, they could look at supporting other charities that provide for children’s education or for underprivileged youths.
She also said that they hoped more students would approach them so they could share what they learned. /TISG