When it comes to education, all the parents in Singapore are well-versed in the various choices of well-established tuition centres and private tutors. These centres and private tutors however, come with a heavy price. With tuition fees coming up to $500 or more a month for a child, it can cost parents an arm and a leg if they have more than one child.
For the low-income and needy parents, this becomes a bigger problem as they do not have the means to send their children to expensive tuition centres or hire private tutors for them. This can also apply to single parent who struggles with the basic necessities of everyday living. With the high cost of living in Singapore, providing tuition for your children when you belong to the lower-income tier can be a taxing and stressful situation.
In Singapore, there are help available for lower-income group in the form of tuition subsidies through the respective self-help groups. There are 2 different schemes in Singapore which you can tap on – the Community Tuition Fee Subsidy Scheme and the classes held by the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), MENDAKI, the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) and the Eurasian Association (EA).
The Community Tuition Fee Subsidy Scheme
This is a scheme that was launched in 2009 to help lower-income families and single parent to shoulder the burden of high tuition cost. The classes are conducted in selected grassroots’ organisations such as resident’s committee (RCs), community centres (CC) and clubs. Students under this scheme can also choose to attend classes organised in CDAC,MENDAKI, SINDA and the EA.
The criteria for applying for the Community Tuition Fee subsidy are as follows:
|Gross MHI: $2500 and below; OR
Gross PCI: $650 and below
|90% of total tuition fees|
Both Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are able to apply for this scheme as long as they meet the income criterion listed above. This scheme accepts students from primary school all the way to the Institute of Technical Education level. With this scheme, the tuition fees can be reduced significantly.
This scheme also includes enrichment classes such as personal development, character development and confidence building, to name a few. These classes are aimed to help close the gap between students of higher-income earning parents and those of lower-income earning parents.
Collaborative Tuition Programme (CTP)
The collaborative tuition programme (CTP) is jointly organised by CDAC, MENDAKI, SINDA and EA to provide subsidised tuition classes to the lower-income group in Singapore.
The 4 self-help groups are funded by regular working adults of the different races and are formed to help lower-income groups with their daily expenses. One of the funds that they run is to help lower-income family to reduce their burden of high tuition fees by providing subsidised tuition at designated centres. Students who meet the income criteria can apply to join the classes conducted by these groups. Classes are conducted in 43 primary schools, secondary schools and community centres all over Singapore.
The criteria for application can be relatively strict as listed below:
|1. Levels available||Primary 1 to 6
Secondary 1 to 5
|2. Nationality/Race||Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident and
|3. Monthly Family Gross Income||Monthly gross household income: $3,300 and below or
Monthly gross per capita income: $900 and below
(Note: Chinese student whose Gross MHI is above $3,300 but $4,000 and below or Gross PCI is above $900 but $1,000 and below will be considered if there is availability of tuition places.)
|Primary 1 - 3||75% and below|
|Primary 4 - 6||69% or Band 3 and below|
|Primary 5 & 6 Foundation English and Mathematics||No restriction|
|Express English||C5 or 60% and below|
|Express Mathematics||C5 or 60% and below|
|Chinese||B3 or 69% and below|
|Normal (Academic /Technical)||No restriction|
|Secondary 1||PSLE below Grade A*|
The criterion and fee payables are listed below:
|Gross MHI: $3,300 and below; OR||$8 per subject per month||$12 per subject per month|
|Gross PCI: $900 and below|
|Gross MHI: $3,300 - $4,00; OR||$30 per subject per month||Sec 1 & 2: $35 per subject per month|
|Gross PCI: $900 - $1,000||Sec 3 to 5: $40 per subject per month|
The criteria for application to join the classes here may look to be very restrictive, but it is a measure employed by the 4 self-help group to ensure that the neediest of students are given a chance to improve their school works and help them to excel in their studies. This is especially helpful for single parents whose child/children are not able to catch up in school and have the need to attend extra tuition classes to catch up.
There is also a schedule of how classes are conducted and parents must be vigilant in applying for the classes before the start of each semester. The schedules of the classes are provided below:
|Collaborative Tuition Programme|
|P1 - P 2||English and Mathematics||Mid January to mid October of each calendar year|
|P3||English, Mathematics and Science||Mid January to mid October of each calendar year|
|P4 - P6||Chinese, English, Foundation English, Mathematics, Foundation Mathematics and Science||P4 & P5 - Mid January to mid October of each calendar year.
P6 - Mid January to end September of each calendar year.
|Secondary Express, Normal(Academic)|
|Sec 1,2||Chinese, English, Mathematics||Sec 1,2,3 - Mid January to end September
Sec 4 N-Level:
Sec 4 O-Level:
|Sec 3,4,5||Chinese, English, E Maths||English & E Maths - Mid January to end September|
|Sec 1,2,3,4||English, Mathematics||All Levels - Mid January to end September
Except Sec 4 English - Mid January to end August
With all these classes available in Singapore, it is heartening to know that our country is reaching out to our needy groups in order to ensure that equal opportunities are given to our children. You can contact any of the 4 self-help groups for more information on both subsidy schemes.