Funding cuts for top independent schools in S'pore

Funding cuts for top independent schools in S'pore
(R) Raffles Institution, (L) Hwa Chong Institution

SINGAPORE - Six top independent schools in Singapore have had their funding cut and, along with other mission schools, have been told to moderate fund-raising activities for campus upgrading.

In addition, they will have to comply with a new directive urging all schools with air-conditioned classrooms to install fans and use air-conditioning only when necessary.

The six schools rank among the top in the Singapore education scene, comprising the Raffles secondary schools and its junior college, Hwa Chong Institution, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and NUS High School of Mathematics and Science.

They all run both the Integrated Programme (IP) and Gifted Education Programme (GEP). The IP provides a seamless secondary and junior college education with students bypassing the O levels. The GEP caters to students in the top 1 to 2 per cent of their cohort.

School officials did not want to disclose how much funding was cut, but The Straits Times understands all six schools used to get additional per capita grants for each student on the IP and GEP, but now have had the IP portion taken away. Alumni and sources close to the schools estimate the IP portion is between 4 and 8 per cent of operating budgets, or over a million dollars a year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has also told all independent and mission schools to "moderate" their fund-raising activities for campus upgrading.

Schools need to get MOE approval if they want to raise money for "non-standard" features such as swimming pools. MOE is now warning that it will give the green light only if the facility is "essential" to school programmes.

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