03 January 2019
Educators say that more can be done to increase diversity in Singapore’s elite schools and make our education system more inclusive.
Already, the Ministry of Education has instituted the enhanced Independent School Bursary scheme, under which students at independent schools from low-or middle-income families will pay lower fees than what they are charged now.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the enhancements meant are to put students’ and parents’ minds at ease.
But aside from cost, there are other factors that parents from lower-income families would normally consider for their child’s choice of secondary school. These include distance from home, friendships and networking, as well as academic demands and rigour.
National University of Singapore economics lecturer Kelvin Seah explained that children from poor families may not be aware of the differences between an independent school and a government one – in terms of curriculum, environment, and resources – and thus “may not recognise the value in applying to such schools”.
The MOE said about 14 per cent of students across the eight independent schools and two specialised independent schools received bursaries this year.