Edusave scheme is Singapore's example of investing in the future: DPM Teo

Students collecting their edusave awards at the Sembawang Edusave Awards Presentation Ceremony at Wellington Primary School on Jan 3, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Students collecting their edusave awards at the Sembawang Edusave Awards Presentation Ceremony at Wellington Primary School on Jan 3, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - The Edusave scheme is a typical Singapore example of putting aside funds for the future when it can and later spending from the pool that was set aside, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Sunday.

This approach, he said, is "quite different from many other countries, which tend to spend first and then figure out how to fund it later," he added.

Speaking at the Edusave Awards ceremony organised by the Pasir Ris West Citizens' Consultative Committee, Mr Teo said the Government had put $1 billion into the Edusave Endowment Fund when it started in 1993.

Now, the capital sum stands at $5.5 billion but each year, the country spends only from the income generated by the endowment fund, and not from the capital sum, he noted.

Mr Teo, who is the grassroots advisor and Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, said the Edusave scheme is an example of how Singapore has "invested in the future, by investing in our children".

This year, a total of 2,055 students living in Pasir Ris will receive Edusave awards.

Of the total sum spent on the Edusave scheme each year, 40 per cent goes to schools to buy resources and equipment for lessons, and to subsidise school programmes for students. Another 35 per cent goes direct to all Singaporean students' Edusave accounts, which students can use to pay for enrichment programmes and their schools' miscellaneous fees.

The last 20 per cent goes to funding Edusave awards, said Mr Teo, which reflects what Singapore deems important.

"Initially, the awards were all for academic excellence," he said. "Then, we added the Good Progress Award for students who had made significant improvement in their academic performance."

The Education Ministry then added the Eagles (Edusave Awards for Achievement, Good Leadership and Service) for students who excelled in non-academic areas and in 2012, added a Character Awards.

"This is in line with MOE's emphasis on values-driven education," said Mr Teo.

The Edusave scheme was started in 1993 to help Singaporean children fund school programmes and encourage their participation.

leepearl@sph.com.sg