Home Tutor Verification

Smart Tuition is well trusted by Singapore parents to recommend suitable and reliable tutors to them. We depend a lot on referrals due to our good services even though there is no commission scheme for referrers. We "do not bite more than we can chew" and we are already trying hard to cope with the existing number of parents and tutors.

Our tuition agency emphasizes a lot on the verification of identification and qualification of our home tutors.

Similar to going for any job interview, all tutors are required to produce their identification cards and certificates. No job applicant (tutor) will tell the interviewer that he/she cannot keep a digital copy of the documents in the company. For the convenience of both job applicants and Smart Tuition, we are doing the verification via online submission.

While some tutors have doubts in submitting their documents to us, we have greater doubts in tutors who refuse to send their documents for verification. We are a Singapore registered company and thus we certainly have more to lose when dealing with internet users (tutors).

We practise flexibility and understanding in our services, however, we are very particular over document verification. Tutors who have not sent us their documents for verification will be dropped out from the tuition assignments even if the parents have selected them specifically. If after our tuition coordinator has contacted any tutor and he/she still does not submit the documents, we will blacklist the tutor for it is obvious that there is something wrong with the tutor.

We firmly believe that verification does benefit all tutors as well as parents. It greatly raises the standard and integrity of our team of dedicated tutors, so that more parents will seek our tutors for help. Parents have reasons to believe that our tuition tutors are more sincere than others because our tutors go through hardship with us to verify their identities and qualification.

Document submission is another way we are using to judge our tutors. We believe a tutor should be both literate and educated, and thus should be able to read and understand the requirement to submit the documents, which we have indicated in various pages, including the tutor registration page, before signing up with us.

Contents

Why is verification so important?

Firstly, we need to verify that the tutors are real residents of Singapore who own a Singapore issued IC or FIN number. Since many parents have their personal preferences, such as nationality and even housing area of tutors, we also have to verify the details.

There are cases of home tutors falsely declaring their qualification or grades in order to meet the requirements of the tuition assignments. This will also allow them to quote higher tuition fees. Smart Tuition wants to prevent such despicable incidents from happening.

We believe parents and students deserve to get what they have offered and tutors without integrity will bring harms to the students. Even though many parents do quote unrealistic tuition fees (below market rates), Smart Tuition believes tutors who are willing to take up the tuition assignments at the specified rates should meet the requirements stated. Our team does our best to help parents/students but we are also prepared to "lose the business" rather than to go against our conscience.

We also believe that we should put ourselves in the parents' shoes. They will need some assurance to the integrity of strangers who are stepping into their houses.

Our team may be able to judge the tutors through the interaction (registration process, phone conversation, SMS, Whatsapp etc), however, we cannot guarantee the validity of the information claimed simply based on our judgment. We have to answer to the parents/students.

Problems that we are facing

Home tutors verification has brought us many problems since the start of the tuition agency. If it is unnecessary, we would not have spent so much time working on it. This is the main reason why most tuition agencies in Singapore do not insist their tutors to submit their documents.

As we do not get to see the real hard copy document, we need to be more stringent in setting the criteria for the soft copy document submission. This is because, nowadays, photo editing software is easily available and anyone can pick up the editing skill by his own. These are the main problems:
  1. Sensitivity of documents

    Some tutors feel that the documents are too personal to be sent even with our assurance that the documents will be kept strictly within our team and we will seek approval if parents are requesting for self-verification, and we will gladly reject the parents' requests if tutors are not comfortable with it. In most cases, we would reject such request without even asking the tutor.

    By the way, most of our coordinators (not part of the management) do not have direct access to the documents, unless the tutor tries to go through improper channel by sending them directly.

    Tutors who are not comfortable with submitting their documents should not have registered with us in the first place.
  2. Time-consuming

    It is absolutely time consuming for us to collect and verify the documents. We have quite a number of promising tutors who join our team everyday. Verifying large number of documents everyday is very tedious and boring. It has thus slowed down the progress of implementing new features to the website.

    We also do not have the time nor manpower to check with any institute or authority directly or via online to clarify the status of anyone.
  3. Non Singapore issued or non-English certification

    We may not be able to verify document issued in other countries or written in non-English. Yes, we do have our limitation.
  4. Quality of documents

    When we do it, we do our best. Due to possible fabrication of documents, we have certain expectation of standard in the documents that are submitted to us. Some tutors have different opinions and may feel frustrated. There are also tutors who have submitted incomplete or unclear documents, which we have to reject.
  5. Standardizing of documents that we approve

    We set a platform fair for all tutors. Ocassionally, we do receive feedback from some tutors who have finished their final examinations but have not yet received their final official transcripts. Even though we may trust the tutors who have sent us the unofficial transcript, we have to make it a point so that nobody will start challenging the system and making job difficult for us unintentionally.
Eventually, how the tutors submit their documents help us to better understand their intelligence, character and attitude. This helps us to differentiate the tutors as well.

We are very thankful to all polite tutors who have shown trust, understanding and appreciation towards us.

Methods to create soft-copy/digital documents

  1. Use a scanner
  2. Use a camera
You need not provide a high resolution soft copy of the documents. However, your name and IC, the logo and header, where applicable in the original document, must also be included and readable.

Some creative tutors do paste a post-it on top of their original documents at any empty space with label "for Smart Tuition verification only" before scanning or taking photos of them. We are pleased with that as long as the contents are not being blocked and that the documents are not being PhotoShopped.

Physical verification of documents during first lesson

All tutors who are successfully matched with any student have to bring along his/her original documents during the first lesson. Parents/Students have the right to deny any tutor who fails to do so without paying any tuition fee. In such cases, the tutor will have to compensate us for the loss of commission.

What exactly are we verifying?

We are verifying the identities of the tutors, including their gender, nationality, country of birth and address.

We are also verifying all their qualification obtained (NIE and GCE 'O' level onwards), and the grades (mainly for GCE 'O' and 'A' level), which we only accept the final official copies. This means that if a tutor's highest qualification is "Master", he will have to submit his GCE 'O' level (year 4 result slip for IP or IB students), GCE 'A' level (or diploma) and Bachelor degree certificates, as well as the Master degree certificate.

This applies to all tutors who have completed their studies and are waiting for the final official documents from their schools - everyone is on the fair ground.

Below are some of the documents that are likely be approved given that you provide the full copy of them (including the header, footer, signature, logo, your name and IC, if applicable) in colour and they are readable:

Personal Identification:

  • Singapore Identification card (most preferred)
  • SAF 11B (or SCDF or SPF's identity cards)
  • Birth Certificate issued in Singapore
  • Singapore Issued Passport
  • Visa for foreigner issued in Singapore
Both sides of the documents are required.

Qualification:

  • Final official certificate
  • Final official transcript that indicates completion of course or status awarded
  • End of year 4 report for IP and IB students (equivalent to GCE 'O' level)
Header, footer, logo and signatures, if applicable, must be readable.

Why are my documents being rejected?

There are some documents that are insufficient to prove that a tutor has the obtained the qualification. In cases such as GCE 'O' and 'A' level, Mother Tongue languages and Project Work (PW) can be taken months or a year before the main modules. Candidates may not have taken the main modules before dropping out. In order to reduce the problems of fabrication of documents, printscreen from websites will not be accepted as well.

Please note that we are verifying that we have obtained the final official certificates/transcript of all the qualification claimed by all tutors. That means if you have finished your GCE 'A' level, your highest qualification obtained should be GCE 'O' level.

Documents that are insufficient for verification purpose

  • Printscreen from websites
  • Transcript that doesn't indicate completion of course
  • Transcript that indicates "currently pursuing the course" or "active in course"... etc
  • Graduation certificate from secondary schools and junior colleges - we need the GCE 'O' and 'A' level results and not the copy that states you have graduated.
  • Certificate for the Mother Tongue Language or Project Work
  • Foreign IC or Passport (not issued by Singapore's ICA)
  • Any identity card without IC number or full name

Documents will be rejected if:

  • It is not readable (eg. too blur or small)
  • The name or IC portions, if applicable, is not included
  • The logo, signature, letterhead of institute/school or footer, if applicable, is not included
  • Any part of it is doctored, such as hiding of part of the name or IC or any grades
  • It is a confirmation letter by the institute to state the completion of the course
  • It is a result slip when you have already received the final official certificate/transcript, especially for GCE 'O' and 'A' levels
  • It is a screenshot of the digital image
  • It is an image of a photostated document
  • It looks suspicious
  • By the way, for tutors who send us a screenshot of the digital image instead of the digital copy itself, and tutors who spend their time scanning (or using camera) their photostated document instead of the real copy, we will either doubt their intelligence or take it that they are trying to challenge the system. We do note it down in our system.

Documents cannot be verified if:

  • It is not in English language
  • It is not issued in Singapore
In cases where you have yet to obtain the final official certificates or we are unable to verify your documents, we will explain to the parents/students. Decision to accept your assistance in tutoring lies on them.

Document Submission Procedure

As we are handling quite a large number of documents submission from tutors everyday, we will appreciate a lot if you can help us by following the steps below to speed up the verification process.
  1. Make sure the files are readable

    The files should be in correct orientation (upright) and readable. Imagine yourself as a stranger and you have to at least be able to read the name and NRIC number on the document. Submitting photos with blurry contents will not speak well of you, besides, we will not even approve them.
  2. Give your documents relevant filenames

    You can name your files in full description or use short-form like below:
    • ic - front.jpg (Identification card's front view)
    • ic - back.jpg (Identification card's back view)
    • o.jpg (GCE 'O' level main certificate)
    • o chi.jpg (GCE 'O' level Chinese certificate)
    • a.jpg (GCE 'A' level main certificate)
    • a pw chi.jpg (GCE 'A' level Project Work + Chinese certificate)
    • dip.jpg (Diploma certificate / transcript)
    • bac.jpg (Bachelor degree certificate / transcript)
    • mas.jpg (Master degree certificate / transcript)
  3. Use the same email address that you have used to register with us

    Many people, including us, own more than one email address. Please use the same email address that you have registered with us to send us the documents so that we can identify you easier.
  4. Ensure your mail client does not automatically resize images

    Some email clients may resize (down-size) the images automatically before sending the email out in order to reduce bandwidth. Usually, after the images are reduced in size, the contents become unreadable.

    You can either (1) zip your documents (in a single zip file) up before sending to us, (2) produce them in PDF instead of image format or (3) make sure you do not use the drag-and-drop feature to attach your image onto the body of the email, which may be auto resized.
  5. Send the email to "verify at smarttuition.sg"

    In the "subject" field, please put your nRIC number and name as appeared on your IC such as "S1234567X - Full Name (as on IC)".

    This email account is purely for downloading of tutors' documents and any enquiry should be sent to "admin at smarttuition.sg" instead.

    You can leave the content field empty - do not worry about formality. We only download the documents and not read the contents.
If you are zipping the files up before attaching them, do name the zipped file like the subject "S1234567X - Full Name (as on IC)" as well.

We will download all attached files as a single zipped file with the default filename exactly the same as your email's "subject", which explains the format of it. Since we do not verify documents immediately until collecting a number of them from all the new tutors, the proper naming of your files will help a lot and you may be rewarded if you manage to follow all the instructions exactly.

All these will help us to reduce our mistakes (sorry, may not be 100% though) and also trace back to the sender if we fail to read the document.

How do we work?

Once we receive an email, we will download the attachment without reading the contents in the body of the email - the email address for collecting document is not meant for any enquiry.

Since it will be disruptive to other work with the large number of tutors signing up with us everyday, we can only go through the documents in batches - not immediately. Therefore, we are requesting tutors to label their documents properly in case we mess up the documents or the documents are not readable and thus not traceable to the sender.

For every one to three working days, we will look through all the collected documents and update our system. We claim three working days to go through the documents as to not overpromise the tutors. In fact, at times when the documents pile up too quickly, we will go through them earlier. That means the speed of verification depends on your luck - given that your documents do not have any problem. Do note that weekends and public holidays are non working days, although some of us may be workaholics.

Document with problem or is from overseas may be put aside first and be looked through after we are able to catch our breath. Most of the time, such documents will be rejected eventually.

Even though there is only indication of the highest qualifcation on our website, we do indicate the lack of documents in a message to the tutor, which used to be viewable only by our team (we do make changes). For example, if a tutor submits only his Bachelor degree certification, we will indicate "Bachelor" in his profile and message him "no O A certs" or "no O DIP certs". In such cases, this tutor willl, unfortunately, give us a very bad impression - he does not bother to read, is lack of the ability to understand simple English or is too arrogant to follow instructions.

We do not have the manpower to reply to every tutor regarding the document verification. As such, we have listed the instructions (they are actually common sense) on this page. We have also stated the possible problems so that tutors can rectify by themselves.

Some tutors who do not read nor follow our instructions may get pissed off eventually. We are cool with that since we believe that our tutors must not only be able to teach the students well in their studies, they must also have good character and attitude. We believe in quality over quantity of tutors. There is also no point in pleasing tutors who give us such problems (document verification) because they are likely to give us more problems in future.

We note down both the positive and negative encounters. For tutors who follow the exact verification instruction, we do increase their ratings in our system.

Notes

Auto resizing of images by Email Client

Please make sure you disable the auto resizing feature of your email client before sending us your documents, otherwise, they will appear to be tiny and not readable. Some mobile phones may have this feature in order to reduce bandwidth.

Indication of documents verified

Even though there is only indication of highest qualification verified, we do have a column (only viewable by our staffs) to indicate the documents submitted. If you are teaching 'O' or 'A' level subjects, obviously a Bachelor degree certificate cannot prove your 'O' (IP year 4) or 'A' level results, and thus, is insufficient.

Future use of your files

You should keep your documents after sending to us in case you may need them in future for other purposes, especially in other job application. We believe by following our instructions, the person who is viewing your documents will have good impression of you.

Forgery is a crime

We will take appropriate actions against tutors who send us fake documents, by referring to the authorities and other tuition agencies.


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