Private schools to meet higher standards

Private schools to meet higher standards
PHOTO: PSB Academy

Private schools here will now have to meet higher standards that require them to track - and improve - student outcomes, including the academic performance, progression and employability of their graduates.

The Committee for Private Education yesterday released its enhanced EduTrust certification standards, part of a major shake-up of the private education sector to protect students and make information more transparent.

The revised standards will take effect for all private education institutions (PEIs) applying for or renewing their EduTrust certification from June 1.

EduTrust is a quality assurance scheme recognising PEIs that achieve high standards in key areas of management and the provision of educational services.

Currently, the scheme assesses PEIs against six criteria, such as corporate governance and administration, and student protection and support services.

The key change to the EduTrust scheme is the introduction of a seventh criterion to assess student and graduate outcomes. This standard will measure how the institutions track, review and improve the performance and outcomes achieved by their students.

Mr Brandon Lee, director-general (private education) of SkillsFuture Singapore, said this is "even more important" than before, given that the pilot employment survey of private school graduates released last year showed many lagged behind their peers from public universities in the job market.

"PEIs should focus more attention on the outcomes of their graduates and see what needs to be done to improve them," he said.

"We also encourage prospective students to research their options carefully before deciding if they should pursue a degree with a private education institution."

PEIs welcomed the change, noting that the higher standards are aimed at raising the quality of the sector.

PSB Academy acting chief executive Derrick Chang said student outcomes continue to be a key component of how his institution measures success internally.

Every year, for instance, PSB Academy commissions external agencies to conduct their own graduate employment surveys, which are published online and in recruitment materials.

"But more importantly, we remain focused on preparing our students to thrive and contribute in our future economy," said Mr Chang.

This article was first published on Feb 22, 2017.
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