Manager of unregistered school fined over fee collection

Kalaibharathi International School had earlier been told by the Council for Private Education (CPE), a private education regulator, that it was not allowed to advertise, collect fees or conduct classes before its application for registration was approved.

SINGAPORE - A manager of an unregistered Indian international school has been fined $18,000 for collecting fees from students – in the first such case in Singapore.

Kalaibharathi International School had earlier been told by the Council for Private Education (CPE), a private education regulator, that it was not allowed to advertise, collect fees or conduct classes before its application for registration was approved.

However, the 41-year-old manager Natarajan Panneer Selvam had collected more than $80,000 in school fees from 12 students.

The school’s application was rejected in December 2012 after it failed to meet the CPE’s mandatory registration requirements.

Private education institutions have to meet requirements such as getting approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority to use their premises to operate as a commercial school and a fire safety clearance from the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

The manager did not refund the students the full course fees that they had paid between February and June 2012, despite the CPE instructing the school, in Jurong East Avenue 1, to do so.

The council said in a statement that the manager was fined after admitting to two charges of knowingly assisting an unregistered private education institution, and for not complying with the CPE’s directions.

A council spokesman told The Straits Times that it was the first time a person has been caught trying to run a private school not registered with the CPE, since the council was set up in 2009.

Another manager of the school, Ms Panneerselvam Susanna, was issued with a stern warning for playing a part in the wrongdoing.

The council advised students interested in enrolling at a private education institution to first check the CPE website at www.cpe.gov.sg for a list of registered providers. They can also contact the CPE on 6592-2108 or cpe_contact@cpe.gov.sg for clarification.

leepearl@sph.com.sg


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