Giving Our Children The Competitive Advantage (Review of 88tuition Platform)

Giving Our Children The Competitive Advantage (Review of 88tuition Platform)

Aug 26, 2020

Raising our children to have high FQ is not just teaching them the correct knowledge and behavior in handling their money. It also involves preparing them to have a good earning capacity. This is essentially providing them with the best and most suitable education that we can provide.

We are so enamored with the stories of college dropouts who are in the list of the world’s richest – Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and more. We just love their success stories but there’s danger in over-emphasizing the absence of their college degree because our kids might get the wrong idea that a diploma is not that important in securing their future.

Their stories are highlighted because they are the exceptions and not the norm. For every successful drop-out, how many are wallowing in poverty because of the disadvantage of not having a degree?

Given the above, all parents would do everything to be able to send their children to the best schools that their family income could afford. For those who don’t have money problems when it comes to cost of education, their hurdle is their children’s ability to enter their preferred universities. To give their children that competitive edge in getting to the university of their choice, parents enroll them in tutorial schools and other enrichment activities.

Back in the day when my three sons were still studying, having tutors was the norm in their schools. I was their tutor, except for Chinese. I took it upon myself to do the tutoring even if, as aptly stated by a co-parent, “It’s hard to tutor your own kids, it’s a strain on your parent-child relationship!” I wanted to be involved and I wanted them back home as soon as possible after a hard day’s work at school. I knew of grade school students then who got home at night because they had to finish all their homework at the tutorial place. So even for my sons’ Chinese subject, it was done at home once or twice a week.

Online Learning

This school year is a very challenging one. From traditional classroom type of learning, we are shifting to online learning due to the covide-19 pandemic that has put everyone in quarantine, including our students.

In the Philippines students are not going to their schools but will be doing learning online this school year. Private schools recently started their school year while the public schools postponed opening of classes to October because, you guessed it, they’re not yet ready.

As a mother who was actively involved in her children’s schooling, I am concerned about this transition. The truth is, it is not easy to teach using online platform. Even as a speaker with adults as my audience, I am finding it difficult because I don’t get the benefit of instant feedback through laughter, clapping, yawning, and other body language cues. So, what more for the teachers? And for the students? Will they be able to learn well with this set-up?

A great supplement

For parents of grade school children, there is a supplement worth exploring to ensure that your children are learning their lessons well.

88tuition is a Singaporean social enterprise established in 2018 with the objective to make high quality online learning available to students at an affordable price. Interestingly, for Singaporeans the word “tuition” does not only mean the fees we pay to schools but also the after-school enrichment classes or the private one-on-one lessons we give to our child in order for him/her to have that competitive advantage.

It was founded by Anil Ahuja and Vinod Gupta. The former held important CIO and CEO positions in companies such as IPEplus and JP Morgan Partners Advisors Pte Ltd., while the latter is the guru of Direct tax in India, who has worked at the Finance Ministry on Budget, taught over 300,000 students and a recipient of multiple awards. I interviewed Anil together with his daughter Arshia who handles marketing. It’s funny when Anil narrated that he retired early at age 50. When I asked him if he finds himself busier now more than ever, he answered yes! This sounds familiar.

88tuition recently started their Philippine operations under the leadership of Suyin Liu Lee, the former managing director of Asia Society and Corporate Communications head of Security Bank. Suyin is a Filipina we have known for years now. During our meeting, she told her Singaporean principals that my husband Marvin was her first boss. To that I said, “Yes, her boss at Citytrust before Charles Schwab of Charles Schwab Corporation!”

Meeting with 88tuition principals. Left to right, top to bottom: Anil Ahuja, Suyin Liu Lee, Arshia Ahuja, the author Rose Fres Fausto

88tuition modules are designed to supplement the school curriculum. It makes use of the Teach-Assess-Review pedagogy that is delivered and consumed online as follows:

  1. Teach – the video-based learning process follows a question-answer teaching style.
  2. Assess – computer-aided assignments provide the practice to help reinforce the learning. This provides an immediate check on understanding.
  3. Review – the teachers answer each of the assignment questions and show how the answers are arrived at step by step.
  4. For further questions and clarifications, students and parents can use the chatbox.

It also addresses the main concerns of parents which we can summarize below as the 5Cs:

  1. Cost – compared to private tutor rates that range from Sing$40-80 per hour, it is offered in Singapore at Sing$100 for unlimited access during the entire year. This is 1/50 of the average cost of the alternative. In the Philippines, they have made it even more affordable. Face-to-face Filipino tutors charge anywhere from PhP500-1,500/hour. And 88tuition is priced at PhP500/month for unlimited access.
  •  Competence – the teachers employed are top-notch educators with PhDs. Some have taught at their Ministry of Education giving them a higher level of knowledge and deeper understanding of educating children. The platform maintains complete transparency on who is teaching your child. As they progress in their Philippine operations, they will hire Filipino teachers in the future.
  • Convenience – the online platform provides the convenience of it being a “learning on demand,” no more waiting for teacher, no more travel time. They can also study at their own pace. This eliminates instances when a student is not able to understand a part of the lesson but is too shy to ask questions. He can easily pause and rewind in order to understand it fully. Should he have further questions, he can also send them through the chatbox.
  • Content – it strictly adheres to the curriculum of the Ministry of Education of Singapore. Filipino parents would be glad to hear this because Singapore schools are the best in the region and among the best in the world. The content is organized, transparent, and comprehensive to ensure a clear learning journey for the student.
  • Comfort – it allows the students to study from the comfort of their homes.

Who should use this?

I interviewed Sabina, a 4th grader in a private school about her experience with 88tuition and she said, “I like using 88tuition. I can access it when I want to. I also feel a bit smarter than my other classmates because I explored the lesson and did some exercises already.”

This is precisely what parents want their children to experience. We always want to give our children that competitive advantage. Of course, I am not saying that this is all that matters while they’re growing up. Kindness and other virtues (please don’t forget FQ) should also be part of their formation.

If I imagine myself with school-age children, I will definitely enroll my Xavier Boys so we can learn Mandarin together. Oh, and the Singaporean Math too. Other subjects are English and Science. Their modules have helped students perform better in PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), a standardized testing in Singapore that measures proficiency in reading, mathematics, science, global competence, and student well-being.

Parents and students are now thrust into the world of online learning, whether they’re ready or not. I see a lot of posts from parents saying, “Parang ako yong nag-enroll!” Parents are forced to be the primary teachers of their children. Some of them are not confident, some may be ill-equipped. A platform like this is a blessing. It was designed and developed for the online world prior to the pandemic giving them a head start. The modules are taught by high quality teachers and the child’s optimum attention span and quality are well taken into consideration in the design. It was also designed to use lower bandwidth compared to our typical videos consumed online. I can only hope that our traditional schools, together with the Department of Education, have also taken all these into account in their transition.

To date, most Filipino users of 88tuition are those from private schools. I wish public school students would also use this platform. It is world-class enrichment at affordable price. Maybe some corporations could sponsor students from the poorest regions of our country. Quality education is one the most effective ways to achieve social and economic mobility. We have to work on this now.

Cheers to our children’s learning!



1. Are your kids ready to expand their knowledge? I invite you to check 88tuition’s website and try their 14-day free trial, limited to 12 lessons. Click 88tuition.

2. Reading is another coping mechanism for the lockdown. If you haven’t yet, may I invite you to read any of the FQ Mom books?

Read FQ Mom books here:


Photos from,,, and canva,com, modified and used to help deliver the message of the article.