Despite declining birth rates, Singapore schools are still quite packed with teachers handling close to three dozen students per class. That’s means scant time to cater to each student’s skill and knowledge level. Though not just a Singapore problem, the kink in the system posed a challenge to three University-mates who decided to tackle the problem through the School of Thought (SoT).
Unlike other study centres that cater to students wanting to get ahead with top grades, SoT put its focus on a group of neglected students who needed just that extra bit of guidance to lead them through to academic success. Noticing that some academically weak students were constantly being kept back a year and with no way to break their cycle of failure, junior college school teachers, Elizabeth Kon and Yee Tong set up a school in 2002 together with Kuik Shiao-Yin who had been working as a private tutor. The 30-something teachers had found that for there just wasn’t any institution available to lend support to the students who were dogged by poor grades and couldn’t be promoted to their next academic year.
SoT was set up with a focus on just one subject, the General Paper, but it was also as an alternative tuition program to the more expensive options on the market with fees deliberately kept affordable just so they could “fill up the gaps in the system,” Kon and Kuik said in unison.