More students to qualify for MOE bursary

More students to qualify for MOE bursary

More students from lower-income families will soon be able to apply for a bursary from the Ministry of Education (MOE).

MOE will raise the gross household income ceiling for the Edusave Merit Bursary to $6,000 from $5,000, starting from this year.

Similarly, the per capita household income ceiling for the bursary will be raised from $1,250 per month to $1,500.

"I want every Singaporean to have access to learning opportunities, whatever their starting point," Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament yesterday during the debate on MOE's budget.

The bursary, which ranges from $200 to $500 a year, is open to students who fall within the qualifying income bracket and whose grades are in the top 25 per cent of their cohort.

The Government is also helping schools to provide better support for their students.

Primary schools with more children from lower-income families will receive annual government grants of $40,000 per year until 2017.

Secondary schools and junior colleges can each get annual grants of $60,000.

Currently, all schools receive a grant of $30,000.

The money will help ramp up school-based financial assistance for students.

The school-based financial aid scheme helps students through measures such as transport allowance and meal coupons.

It can cover students who do not qualify for the MOE's financial aid scheme - such as a student who is facing a family crisis.

Special education (Sped) schools will be supported too.

They will receive average annual grants for their school-based financial assistance scheme of $25,000 until 2017, up from the current $15,000.

Minister of State for Education Sim Ann said: "Parents of children with special education needs are more likely to face additional financial outlay."

"That is why it is so important to help them with affordability," added Ms Sim, who is also the Minister of State for Communications and Information.

Students who are now receiving financial aid from the MOE will, from next month, be given a $120 transport credit per year, to defray the costs of public transport.

Sped school students on MOE's financial aid will also be eligible for this transport credit.

For primary school pupils who take the school bus, the financial aid scheme will be expanded to cover half of their bus fees.

Sped school students who ride the school bus are already eligible for transport subsidies from the Ministry of Social and Family Development that cover up to 80 per cent of fees.

"No child should be left behind whatever their starting point," said Mr Heng.

"We are doing more to support students with a weaker start, be it learning needs, special needs or financial needs."

leepearl@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Mar 7, 2015.
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