Singapore—On Friday, December 6, the Ministry of Education (MOE) issued a clarification via its Facebook account to explain that contrary to what some may think, financial aid and scholarships have gone to Singaporeans, and not to foreign students.
This clarification was issued to counter discussions online and on messaging apps that “MOE is recruiting only students from India through scholarships.”
The statement from MOE endeavored to present several facts:
The Ministry “provides a wide range of scholarships and financial aid, predominantly to Singaporeans.”
A small number of scholarships are given to “promising young international students from ASEAN countries, China and India.” The rationale given for this is that while international students are in the country, they “help promote goodwill and understanding among young people from different countries.
The statement added that some of these scholars from other countries have planted their roots in Singapore and have become citizens or have permanent residency and have made contributions to the country.
MOE also provided data concerning the number of international students, which are as follows:
“These international students on scholarships make up 0.9% of our secondary and pre-university students. Only about 0.7% of these foreign students on scholarships are from India. So 0.7% of 0.9% – or 1 in 16,000 – are scholarship holders from India.”
The Ministry, which works with such organizations as A*Star and SIA in administering scholarships to students from different countries, have promised to look into the different websites of these organizations to see if they need amending “so as not to give the impression that the scholarships only target students from a particular country.”
The issue became somewhat controversial after People’s Voice leader Lim Tean posted a commentary on the issue on his Facebook page that included a link to A*Star Youth Scholarship guidelines. The webpage says that “nationals of India born between 2003 and 2005” may apply for scholarships for studies in selected Singapore schools from Secondary 3 to Pre-University 2.
Mr Lim used this in comparison with recent local news that a twelve-year-old Singaporean schoolgirl had not been allowed to receive her original PSLE results slip because her parents owed an arrears in school fees which was less than S$200.
He wrote,”The PAP government is already allowing so many Indian families to come into our country under CECA, and yet MOE is still giving out scholarships to Indian students such as the one below.
But what will shame and humiliate a young schoolgirl is not giving her the original PSLE result because her parents owe the school S$165.
Do you think any parent would like to be in that position where they can’t pay their child’s school fees? Obviously, they were having difficulties even paying the S$165.
We are a Nation that is well able to provide free education for all Singaporean children. Peoples Voice is the only Party that has called for Free Education for all Singaporeans. We want every Singaporean’s potential to be developed to the fullest!” -/TISG