Anthony Fok. CEO of JC Economics Education Centre. SINGAPORE

Anthony Fok CEO of JC Economics Education Centre

Anthony Fok is known as a “Super Tutor” and students in Singapore seek him out to help turn their fortunes in Economics education around. Fok is more than just an Economics tutor, however. He is a coach that students can reach 24-hours a day, seven days a week. He is no ordinary teacher, rather Fok is a highly-skilled economics guru that has helped thousands of students earn the A-level grades they sought.

A former teacher, Fok began providing tuition to students while studying for his PhD. Turns out, Fok was an excellent tutor and his students saw results immediately. Word of mouth enabled Fok’s reputation to grow, and before long, he had clients tracking him down for Economics tuition sessions.

Fok isn’t just an Economics tutor. He has authored numerous books on the subject that are used in education in Singapore and abroad. News outlets all over the world have featured Fok in stories as well. His ability to connect with students has put him at the top of the tuition industry in Singapore and his ability to improve students’ results keeps his classes full.

The “Super Tutor” recently sat down with Totalprestige Magazine to talk about his career, JC Economics and education.

Anthony, tell us about JC Economics and why you created the business?

I was a full-time school teacher for almost five years before switching to the tuition industry. I resigned from the Ministry of Education (MOE) to pursue my PhD studies and started giving tuition, so that I could continue to share my wealth of knowledge with others. The income I receive from tuition also helps to fund my PhD fees. Moreover, it gives me more time and flexibility to pursue my other interests like volunteer work, while focusing on writing my PhD thesis.

Who are the classes at JC Economics for and how will they benefit the students?

I teach only Economics to students sitting for the GCE ‘A’ level examination. The fees for JC 1 are: $400/4 lessons and for JC 2: $440/4 lessons. One lesson is 1.5 hours long, four lessons per month. Since I am the author of the answers to the ten-year-series, I have become very familiar with past-year examination questions. Therefore, I can easily tell students in which year this particular type of questions has most recently come out and how often it has come out in the past. I make it a point to always keep abreast of the latest exam trends, both local and overseas, and update my notes accordingly for the benefit of my students. There are many value-added services I give and these all require hard work. For instance, all students have my personal number and they can SMS me even after tuition hours. Many students message me in the middle of the night and I still reply to their messages. Some students ask me to mark their additional essays and I mark them. Some students request to meet me for one-to-one consultations. I meet them to guide them for extra classes without payment. Some students need career guidance and advice on university courses. I give them my advice as well. Some students need me to write letters of recommendation for top prestigious universities overseas. I write testimonials for them as well. Tutoring is more than delivering the subject knowledge. It involves being a mentor and life coach to students as well. Of course, this comes with sacrificing a lot of personal time with my friends and family.

No tutor can legitimately guarantee improvements. But most students gain a renewed interest in the subject. Once the student likes the subject and shows interest in it, the results will come automatically. Sixty percent of my JC 2 students scored ‘A’ last year and 85% scored ‘A’ and ‘B’. Of course, this is not solely my effort. I believe the school teachers played an important role together with the supportive parents.

I go through application of the content knowledge, so they are able to see the link between what they have learnt in theory and in the real-world. I use many personal stories to link up the different Economics theories together, so that lessons won’t be boring and students look forward to learning from me. Students need to keep abreast of the current affairs and be aware of global economic events. They will stand out if they are able to quote up-to-date real world context information in their exam scripts.

You have an extremely impressive resume in economics and education. How did you get involved in both disciplines?

I have been giving tuition since my undergraduate days back in 2005. I feel a great sense of achievement whenever the students I coached did well in their examinations. This in turn led to their parents referring their friends and relatives to me. With this passion and drive to create more success stories, I founded the tuition business in 2012 after resigning as a school teacher from the Ministry of Education (MOE) to pursue my PhD in Education at the National Institute of Education (NIE).

I also write numerous A-Level Economics guide books, including the Economics Ten-Year-Series that is used in various schools both locally and overseas. I am the official Singapore Book of Records (SBOR) holder as the “Author of the Most Number of A-level Economics Books in Singapore” and also the “Highest Earning Economics tutor in Singapore”. I started Economics tuition centre in the 2012, as its sole employee, raking in around a million in annual income for the past few years.

JC Economics has been featured in a number of newspapers and on television channels such as CNBC. You have also appeared as a guest speaker previously and you are known as a “Super Tutor”. What makes you a “Super Tutor” that is being sought out by students in Singapore?

I did not call myself a “Super Tutor”. The name “Super Tutor” was coined by the local media and parents. In 2008, The Straits Times featured me as one of the top five super tutors in Singapore.

Tutors should be genuinely passionate about teaching and put in their 100% effort in helping their students improve. Most importantly, don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Hard work, hard work and hard work. I believe that it takes lots of hard work, passion and dedication to survive in the tuition industry.

I would like to emphasise this: monetary rewards should not be the sole motivation for being a tutor. Having a love for students, a true desire to help students succeed and a strong passion for the subject are key influences to sustain the motivation as a full-time tutor. I believe there are around 10 millionaire super tutors in Singapore. But, the earnings are not an accurate reflection of all the tutors’ income in Singapore. On the other hand, I have seen many new tutors who join this industry just for the sake of earning big bucks, but have failed terribly. Not everyone has the special ‘X’ factor to succeed as a tuition teacher. You need to have certain charisma, certain ‘X’ factor ability to connect well with students and deliver the results that students expect.

In some Asian countries, extra education and private tutors are important. Why do Asian countries see this additional education as vital compared to western countries?

As long as Singaporeans have the desire to improve themselves, the appeal of tuition will never stop. Singaporeans are generally quite a hardworking lot of people and always strive to improve themselves. As long as examinations or tests are still around, the demand for tuition will always stay. But we cannot remove examinations or tests from the system. The only adjustment we can make is perhaps the age of when students should start being tested. Maybe not too young an age? Like removing tests and examinations for Primary 1 and Primary 2. But we can’t remove examinations for higher levels.

Some students learn faster than others. It is almost impossible for school teachers to cater to the individual learning needs of every child. I believe some school teachers may already be conducting extra classes to coach the academically weaker students, but it’s not easy for them, especially after a long day of lessons. Tuition classes offer students a change of learning environment. They experience interaction with peers from other schools. They can learn from one another and develop new perspectives too. Exclusive guidance can be provided in a small-group setting, enhancing the learning experience.

Private tuition class size is much smaller as compared to the class size in schools. In addition, some tutors, like myself, give their personal contact number and can be contacted almost round-the-clock via Whatsapp or SMS. This service is essential as students get to clear their doubts on the spot, so that they do not lose their train of thought. School teachers are unable and should not be expected to provide such services. At the junior college level, tuition becomes even more essential and crucial as the A-levels is the only one examination that determines whether you get into a good university.

In my view, people like to have choices in life. A student cannot choose their teacher in school. The teachers are posted into the school by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and placed into the class by the school principal. Students cannot choose the teachers they want. But he/she can have a choice of private tutor to coach them towards academic success. And many will choose the top tutors who they feel confident and comfortable with, to guide them along in their studies.

I believe tuition should be viewed as a supplement to a child’s education, and not an integral part of our education system or an obligatory pathway to success. The role of tuition should be to fill in the gaps of knowledge. Unfortunately in today’s competitive society, this is not the case. Many parents view tuition as a necessary means to scoring distinctions in examinations and getting ahead of the academic race.

With the shift in focus on higher order thinking skills, students are finding it hard to cope with the increasing complexity of the examination questions. Many students often find it a struggle to obtain a passing grade. This leads to parents seeking remedies outside school. It is no doubt that parents these days are increasingly obsessed with tuition and find tuition a necessity.

More than a decade ago, tuition served as an avenue for weaker students who require one-to-one coaching to clear their doubts after their teachers had taught them the syllabus content. These days, tutors are expected to teach ahead of the school syllabus, so that the students can have a head start compared to their peers and be able to participate in more meaningful discussions during lessons. There are even some parents who are so eager to give their children a head start that they approach me to coach their 16-year-old Secondary 4 children A-level Economics tuition.

Nonetheless, parents are not only spending big bucks on tuition for academic subjects. They are even spending on non-academic aspects of education too. I believe many parents have heeded MOE’s call for a more holistic education and are also supportive of their child’s passion in other areas such as music, sports and the arts. This has led to a proliferation of other enrichment centres focusing on non-academic areas too.

However, I am glad that Singapore’s tuition scene has not reached the mania in other countries such as Hong Kong, where celebrity tutors are dressed in sophisticated hair-dos and designer clothing, and are treated like idols. I think most parents in Singapore remain savvy and rational. Based on my experience, parents in Singapore choose tutors based on their academic qualifications, their experience and ability to deliver results. More often than not, word-of-mouth referrals from friends and relatives are more effective than mere physical appearances or marketing gimmicks.

Tuition is a global phenomenon seen in countries like Hong Kong, South Korea, India, China and Thailand, not merely in Singapore. It is fuelled by ambitious parents wanting their children to secure places at top schools and universities. In today’s society, success is often equated with good exam results. It takes time to change this mindset and I personally believe that the Ministry of Education (MOE) is heading in the right direction by encouraging a more “student-centric, values-based education”.

What is your secret to being such a successful economics teacher and running a successful tuition business?

I go through application of content knowledge so that they are able to see the link between what they have learnt in theory and in the real-world. I use many personal stories to link up the different Economics theories together, so that lessons won’t be boring and that students will look forward to learning from me. Students need to keep abreast of the current affairs and be aware of global economic events. They will stand out if they are able to quote up-to-date real world context information in their exam scripts.

I believe that my popularity as a top Economics tutor in Singapore comes from more than merely imparting Economics knowledge. I motivate the students to love the subject and to look beyond the academic grades. I teach values and life lessons that will be valuable to them even after graduation. I am more than a tutor to the students. Many students tell me that I am a friend and a mentor to them.

I help to shorten the learning process and bridge the gap between what was taught in schools and what eventually appears in the national examinations. Students look for me because they want to achieve their ‘A’ grade and I am confident that I can deliver the results they want, as long as they work hard together with me.

Many parents and students ask me to spot questions for the A-levels every year. However, I believe in ensuring that all the topics are adequately covered during the tuition classes. It is important not to “gamble”. Legitimately, nobody should have prior access to the papers set by the Ministry of Education of Singapore in collaboration with the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate. Nonetheless, being very familiar with the past-year examination questions, since I am the author of the answers to the ten-year-series, I can readily tell students in which year this particular type of questions has most recently come out and how often it has come out in the past. I make it a point to always keep abreast of the latest exam trends, both local and overseas, and update my notes accordingly for the benefit of my students.

More importantly, I enjoy teaching and I am lucky to be able to find great satisfaction in my work. I think every job has its greatness. There’s a saying in Chinese “行行出状元”

“Hang hang chu zhuang yuan” which means “no matter which job you do, you can achieve greatness”. I don’t think we should equate high income earners as successful people. I am thankful to have been taught by good teachers and professors back when I was a student, who nurtured my passion in teaching.

In the future, do you perceive private education and tuition becoming more important? In addition, will more students seek private tuition due to failing public schools?

Thankfully in Singapore, the education system is quite robust and gives good quality education across the country. Ministries around the world need to ensure that every child receives a good quality education, and learns the skills they will need to thrive in the 21st century. It is important to break down the barriers to education by helping poor and vulnerable children by leading the way in improving literacy and numeracy skills.

Anthony, what is a day in your life like?

I start the day at around 8 a.m. by checking and replying to all emails. Then do some marking of assignments and preparing lessons for the week. Throughout the day, I will reply to students’ messages and write my books which are sold both locally and overseas. I also meet prospective investors who are keen to set up tuition centres in Singapore. I run a consultancy firm, advising edupreneurs on how to succeed in this competitive industry.

What makes you smile?

When students message me to thank me for making a difference in their lives. I enjoy teaching and interacting with young people. I am thankful to have been taught by good teachers and professors back when I was a student. They nurtured my passion for teaching and for the subject. Many of these teachers are still serving in schools now and I thoroughly admire and respect them for their dedication and hard work. They have, in some way or another, inspired me to continue teaching and sharing my knowledge with others. In fact, even though tuition brings me good income, I do offer free Economics tuition to A-level students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, because I want them to break out of the poverty cycle. Many of them have benefited and are very thankful for the opportunity given. I believe in giving back to the society and helping those from lower income families’ level up.

I get real satisfaction when students remember me after so many years, not merely for the results I helped them produce, but also for the extra stuff that I have done for them in their lives. That’s the beauty of being a teacher. Making a positive impact on their lives.

What scares you?

I don’t get scared, because I prefer to do things above board, in an honest and upright fashion. As long as my conscience is clear, I don’t have anything to be afraid of.

Anthony, do you have any hobbies?

I don’t have a hobby. I spend most of my time working.

Which historical figure do you most admire?

I don’t know if you would classify him as a historical figure, but I have always admired author Stephen King. He was broke and struggling when he was first trying to write. He lived in a trailer with his wife—also a writer—and they both worked multiple jobs to support their family while pursuing their craft. They were so poor they had to borrow clothes for their wedding and had gotten rid of the telephone because it was too expensive. King received so many rejection letters for his works, before he made it big. He never gave up. I’ve always admired his Never-say-die attitude. I’ve always admired his Never-say-die attitude.

What are you never without?

My mobile phone. It keeps me connected with the world. Students look for me to reply their questions on economics and investors look for me for guidance on the education business.

Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?

I only have one. My favorite: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. It’s such a simple, yet powerful quote. It simply means that if you don’t have a plan to execute, you are setting yourself up for failure. Many people have great ideas, but no plan or idea of how to get there. Hence, if you haven’t planned it you are going to fail.

If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?

Today, almost 70 million children across the world are prevented from going to school each day. If I had the power to change just one thing, I would change that. Everyone has the right to education, regardless of where you live, what your race is or whether or not you have a disability. This is my dream.

Anthony, what advice would you give to anyone starting a new business?

In business, your reputation is everything. You may fool one or two persons with an inferior offering, but you cannot fool the world. Never compromise your integrity.

I believe that all these efforts will in time engender customer trust, the ultimate building block of business success. Overpromising and under delivering are big no-nos. One must readily admit his or her lessons are not magical formulas that guarantee a distinction; instead, they are a tool that renews a student’s interest in the subject.

Be honest about the product or service you’re selling. The best litmus test is to ask yourself: ‘Would I use it?’; and ‘Would I let my loved ones use it?’. If the answers are a resounding ‘yes’, you have already won half the battle.

For more information on “Super Tutor” Anthony Fok and his Economics tuition programs, please visit




We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?