31 January 2019
Educators have said that more needs to be done to boost the diversity of the student population in Singapore’s top public schools.
Some measures have already been enacted.
For example, under the enhanced Independent School Bursary (ISB) scheme, students from low-or middle-income families will, from next April, pay lower fees than they are charged now at independent schools. Children from families in the lowest income tier can also qualify for a new $800 annual Uplift scholarship for out-of-pocket expenses.
Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan said the enhanced scheme is a welcome signal that cost concerns for students with financial needs will be addressed by the Ministry of Education.
However, Associate Professor Tan added that the new scheme alone might not ensure that the top schools would become sufficiently diverse. He said: “If the students don’t qualify for admission in the first place, then the MOE’s financial aid cannot be taken advantage of.”
The bigger challenge, he said, is whether these students feel welcomed in these schools, and whether society encourages them to “shoot for the stars”.