Platinum Category

Prince Education Centre

  • Edward Toh  ·
  • Hazel Gao  ·

Current Status

In 2010/2011, Citra Ratna, with red ink dripping from all her failed P5 subjects, desperately came to the Prince HQ at Jurong West from Sengkang, seeking help.“We coached her - and now she is in a top secondary school of her choice - and still with us,” said Mr Edward Toh, the Principal and Education Director of Prince, proudly.“Thanks to its character-building environment in which we nurture the talents of young people - each one unique - giving them the best start in life.”

And today over 500 students from pre-school to secondary four at Prince are doing just this. Making use of the wholesome learning experience provided by the MOE Registered and PA Approved Centre at its seven island-wide branches and RCs to get ahead, even from young. “Most have been here for the last five years attending primary five to upper secondary tuition classes in English, Chinese and Maths,” said Edward, with a Banking and Finance degree.

Fired by a mutual teaching passion (“Its in our DNA,”), turning their backs on their highly-paid banking careers, they started Prince's first Centre cum HQ at Jurong West, operational since 2008. Here 15 teachers now teach various courses including Montessori Phonics; Han Yu Pin Yin;3G Abacus; Art & Craft;and Homework Supervision Class. And with another 15, mainly part-timers, employed in the other Centres. While Edward and Hazel serve as full-time teachers cum supervisors, Hazel also prepares Prince's study materials.

1. Outdoor Learning

“Although we now focus more on our Centres, we also liaise with government schools in promoting outdoor learning like biannual outdoor educational trails,” she said. These include : (1) YMCA Singapore (Structuring a three-day Holiday Science Camp and subsequently, a Science Workshop for an Indonesian Exchange program); (2) Fu Chun Secondary School (Organized Maths and Science Learning Trail at Suntec City); (3) Pei Chun Public School (Organized a three-day PSLE Post Exam Activity); and (5) Temasek JC (Providing trainers for GP Course for foreign students).

2. Why we are Different

“We incorporate creative writing skills in our English tuition classes – a method proven more effective than students attending a solely writing class,” said Edward.

“Regular Outdoor Learning for our Science lessons is our forte, enabling students to see, touch and smell textbook lessons.”

We focus on students' strengths and weaknesses. So we impart a conceptual knowledge in our lessons before introducing a heuristic approach (meaning learning through intelligent guesswork),using Maths Olympiad in our Maths lessons!”

Early History

Quitting their lucrative jobs simultaneously in the same bank in mid-2007 to go into something more meaningful, the couple, not yet married, but passionately single-minded in implementing their entrepreneurial vision, rented a place in Jurong West in late 2007. And while renovating it, spent the next six months distributing flyers and handing out sweets and balloons to kids at HDB Estates.“To create awareness of our Education Centre,” said Hazel.

And finally in January 2008, opened their Centre, initially with three classrooms in some 640 sq ft. They had, then, some 30 students and only three teachers – themselves – and a Chinese teacher. “But at year-end, when the parents were grateful that their children had done well in school exams, we knew we had made it!” she said, elated.

Future Directions

“In five years, we intend to go public-listed - and international - by first franchising our brand to nearby SEA countries,” said Edward. Hazel, keen to acquire a psychology degree for adding a Counselling Unit to the Centre, added, “We need to help students handle stress and spot behavioural disorders early. By aiming for the moon, we hope, at least, to land on a star.”

“Be bold and passionate, leaving the comfort zone to take risks.”