Singapore — A tuition centre that was called out for having a race option for clients’ preferred choice of tutor has decided to mend its ways, and said it will be removing the option from their site.
Political activist group Wake Up, Singapore, has been holding the #CALLITOUTSG campaign to point out racism in the hopes of action being taken.
On Thursday (Jul 15), Wake Up, Singapore showed screen grabs of the websites of tuition centres on its Facebook and Instagram pages, underlining that these pages have an option for people to choose the race of the tutor they would like to hire.
The screenshots from the sites of brighttutor.sg and championtutor.com both ask would-be clients to “state the preferred race” of the tutor they’re looking for—Chinese, Indian, Malay, Eurasian or others.
On one of the sites, clients could choose more than one option.
But, as Wake Up, Singapore asked, “How is the race of a tutor relevant? And why do you include such options which enable racial biases?”
It added that other tuition centres do the same, adding “This must end now and the tuition centres that continue to enable racism shall be held accountable.”
Wake Up, Singapore called the demand for certain tutors “discriminatory.”
“We shouldn’t enable such racism and or racial biases. We are equally culpable if we give in to placate the discriminatory demands. Long story short, we have a choice not to serve racists,” it added.
And while it did not feature smiletutor.sg on its social media pages, Wake Up, Singapore left a comment on an Instagram post of the tuition centre on Tuesday, Jul 13.
“It is also difficult for me to understand why race is relevant in choosing a tuition teacher. Can help me understand?”
Wake Up, Singapore received a lengthy reply from smiletutor.sg, which decided to remove the race preference option.
While the tuition centre admitted that 20 to 30 per cent of parents who call them actually indicate a race preference and that it’s a standard industry practice, it acknowledged that Singapore has a multi-racial society and that “we must all do our part to keep the multi-racial harmony strong.”
smiletutor.sg added that having the race preference option could create the perception that the people behind the company are “racists or enabling racists, hence we are removing it permanently.”
Wake Up, Singapore posted the message from smiletutor.sg, thanking the tuition centre for its “prompt action.”
“We now hope the rest of the tuition centres or co-ordinators that have this option will follow in their footsteps,” it added. /TISG
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