Why tuition centres not exempt from GST?


THE countdown to the launching of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on April 1 has begun.

However, I am deeply disappointed, disillusioned and dismayed to learn that tuition centres and institutions are not considered as educational institutions, though they provide educational services like any other pre-school, primary and secondary schools. What’s the rationale?

On one hand the Government seemingly is understanding and compassionate to exempt children’s colouring, textbooks, dictionaries and religious books from GST.

On the other hand it is mind boggling, bewildering and baffling for the authorities to impose GST on tuition fees.

This shocking news will inadvertently have an adverse impact on the GST expenditure budget of parents, particularly those in the lower and middle income groups – another 6% GST for children’s tuition fees.

For many parents, tuition is not an option but a necessity. All parents want to provide the best educational opportunities for their children and tuition has become indispensable and irreplaceable to reinforce learning.

More parents are becoming career-oriented and professional and they can’t pay adequate attention to their children’s education.

Also, admittedly, many parents are not well-educated and knowledgeable enough in the academic field where there children need assistance.

Hence parents need the assistance of tuition teachers to solve their children’s study problems.

Thus private tuition is fast becoming a norm for all students across the country, if they do not want to be left behind.

The benefits afforded by private tuition are enormous.

Yes, tuition might be burdening but realistically it is already an integral part of a child’s education.

With the ever increasing emphasis of getting excellent exam results at all levels, it is a difficult task for students to assimilate and grasp all the lessons taught in schools without attending tuition.

The recent STPM and SPM straight-A students will testify to tuition being arguably the solution to help them in ameliorating their grades and to achieve better results.

Moreover tuition centres are the best option for moderate and weaker students to get the much needed coaching and teaching to understand the lessons taught in schools.

Even if a student is performing well in school, it is likely that some private tuition will give him/her an edge over their peers.

It is noteworthy that it is their classmates and contemporaries they are competing against for the relatively few admission slots and especially for JPA scholarship opportunities.

Undeniably, tuition centres like other educational institutions, play an important role in fulfilling the objectives of the Malaysian Education Blueprint, thus should be zero-rated and be exempted from GST to lessen the financial burden on parents.

THOMAS KOK

Ipoh

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