Social activist and president of the Transitioning – Unemployment Support Service non-profit group Gilbert Goh has set up a fundraising campaign to help needy students pay the balance of their school fees. Goh had about 10 different families with children unable to collect their results certificates because of unpaid school fees.
On the fundraising page, Goh wrote, “Singaporeans experienced a horrendous national shame recently on the issue of needy students who could not pay up their primary school fees and subjecting them to the humiliation of receiving a photostated (sic) copy of their PSLE certificate instead of the original one”.
He asked why these young students should have their educational certificates withheld because their parents could not afford to completely pay their school fees.
While applauding the Ministry of Education (MOE) for their Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) which had helped many families and students in need, Goh noted that many families have still “fallen through the social welfare crack”.
He explained that these families could be “doing well before but face a retrenchment, others were having trouble getting the FAS forms filled completely as the family has broken up and important information was lost in transition whereas another group could not make the FAS cut of 2650 gross household income and has struggled incessantly to make ends meet”.
He also wrote that the proceeds from the crowdfunding would go to those in need, who did not qualify for the FAS.
“We will encourage needy families to apply for FAS first as that is the right channel for those who could not cope financially and only help those who fall through the social crack.
We will also publish the fund’s usage and balance periodically on our FB so that everything is transparent and above-board”, Goh wrote.
In a short period of time, Goh and his team have paid out S$1,000 to needy families, with the crowdfunding page receiving S$1,900 in donations.
Additionally, they also wrote to the MOE in order to ask Education Minister Ong Ye Kung to “waive off the backlogged school fees and return the cert to the students over the years”. Goh also said that they would otherwise use the money from the crowdfunding platform in order to pay off the outstanding amount.