>> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY
Wed, Dec 23, 2009
The Business Times
Private sector takes centre stage for most of 2009

By Lee U-Wen

SINGAPORE's fast-expanding education sector has had an eventful 2009 and is gearing up to raise its profile further in the coming year.

Despite the uncertain economic climate, Singapore's tertiary education sector grew significantly - rolling out new courses, attracting foreign students and opening world-class campuses - to augment the country's push to be a major education hub.

But it was the private education sector that took centre stage for most of 2009. After years of scrutiny following tales of poor management, sudden closures, bogus degrees and schools leaving students in the lurch, the government acted swiftly to roll out a new Private Education Bill that will weed out the pretenders.

Under the new regulatory framework, to be launched today, private schools will be put through more stringent checks - and face stiffer penalties if they flout the rules.

Registration - voluntary under the old system - will now be mandatory for all private schools. They can also opt for the voluntary EduTrust mark which will assess and categorise them based on their academic quality, student welfare, finances and administrative processes.

Perhaps the most heartening and reassuring part is that students who enrol at registered private schools will enjoy fee protection should the school suddenly close. Schools can choose to limit their collection of fees to a maximum of two months or buy fee insurance protection for their students under an industry-wide scheme.

All these measures will help prevent a repeat of incidents such as the abrupt closure of Brookes Business School, which in July this year was shut down by the Ministry of Education (MOE) after it was exposed for peddling fake degrees and diplomas from Australian and British institutions to hundreds of unsuspecting students.

'The move to have stronger legislation will boost Singapore's standing in the eyes of the international community,' says banker Timothy Chan, 29, who is pursuing a part-time Master of Business Administration at a private school here. 'For too long, many schools operated more as greedy businesses than genuine education providers.'

Local varsities flying the flag >>

 
STORY INDEX
 
  Private sector takes centre stage for most of 2009
   
 
  Internship with a Rural Edge
   
 
  MOE releases performance by ethnic group
   
 
  Singapore raises school fees for foreigners
   
 
  Lessons from gangsters
   
 
  Kids do star turn to help needy peers
   
 
  Graduates line up to teach Chinese overseas
   
 
  Extra P1 ballot for S'poreans
   
 
  Aunt's death gave him new lease of life
   
 
  Troublemakers compete and get better grades
   
>> RELATED STORY
8 people injured in 3-car accident
Residents can help stop killer litter
GMAT cheating worries US colleges
Universities providing pre-entrance classes
Approval scheme for private dental groups

Elsewhere in AsiaOne...

Investor Relations: Full-year profit for 79 companies up 29%

Wine,Dine&Unwind: Smith Street Food Complex reopens after two years

Health: Suit helps boy hold his head up

Motoring: VIPs get the CAR treatment

Digital: Live traffic info at your fingertips

Business: Punggol study to set green HDB benchmarks

Just Women: Kelly in limbo

Multimedia: Better local searches