Thursday 28 June 2012

School fees rise for non-Singaporeans from January 2013

PRs, foreigners to pay more in school fees from January
Rise of $50-$250 a month to further differentiate fees by citizenship
By Stacey Chia, The Straits Times, 27 Jun 2012

IN ANOTHER move to put Singaporeans first, permanent residents and foreigners will pay even higher school fees in government and government-aided schools.

The changes, which will take effect next January, were made to 'further differentiate fees by citizenship', the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced yesterday.

The adjustments will affect PRs and foreigners in primary and secondary schools, as well as junior colleges and centralised institutes.

There will be no change in fees for Singapore citizens.

Fees have been going up for PRs and foreigners in the past two years.

In the latest round of adjustments, PRs will pay between $50 and $80 more a month, while foreigners will see a monthly increase of between $115 and $250. For instance, a PR attending primary school will pay $90 per month - or 125 per cent more - instead of $40.

A primary school pupil from a non-ASEAN country will pay $500 - or about 45 per cent more - instead of $345.

Yesterday, the MOE also announced that it will raise the monthly standard miscellaneous fees by $1 at primary level, $2 at secondary level and $2.50 at pre-university level.

This will apply to all students - including Singaporeans - starting next January.

Miscellaneous fees, which were last revised in 2005, are used to defray the cost of teaching resources and materials used by students.

The move to raise fees for PRs and foreigners follows recent measures to sharpen the difference in benefits for Singapore citizens and PRs.

In March, the ministry announced that Singaporeans will be given 'absolute priority' over PRs, if balloting is necessary in any phase of the Primary 1 registration.

Permanent resident Yoyo Wing, 31, whose daughter goes to Qifa Primary School, said she was unhappy about having to pay $50 more for school fees next year.

'We work, we contribute to the economy, but we don't get the same privileges,' said the fashion business owner from China.

'When you think about all the latest efforts to differentiate us from them, it's a bit unfair. But we have not much of a choice.'

Mr Virgilio Biron, 47, a PR from the Philippines, said the increase is quite significant for his family, as he has two schoolgoing children.

'We are considering taking up Singapore citizenship, but it's not that easy either,' said the manager of a telecommunications company.

Singaporeans interviewed by The Straits Times welcomed the further distinction.

Housewife Lee Wei Yin, 50, said the increases are fair, and not too great such that foreigners are deterred from coming to Singapore.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, said: 'I believe the cost of the Singapore education is still relatively affordable considering the good quality education that is provided.'

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