New international school being planned by Hwa Chong and EtonHouse not registered yet

A new international school announced last week by Hwa Chong and EtonHouse Group has not been registered with the authorities, the governing body for private schools here said yesterday.

In a statement, the Council of Private Education (CPE) said no application has been made to register the new school.

In response to media queries, the council added that it would like to clarify that the two parties have not "engaged CPE on any of the regulatory requirements that would apply to such an international school", as of last Friday.

The council also said that under the Private Education Act, all private education institutions offering primary education according to an international curriculum will have to register with it.

Last Thursday, the Singapore Chinese High School, which has Hwa Chong Institution and Hwa Chong International School under its wing, held a press conference with EtonHouse to announce plans to jointly set up an international pre-school and primary school.

The new international school will be called the Hwa Chong EtonHouse Institution and offer both pre-school and primary school under the International Baccalaureate programme.

They said it will take in its first batch of pupils in August 2016, and admission will start in the first quarter of that year.

When contacted, Mrs Ng Gim Choo, founder and managing director of EtonHouse Group, said applying for CPE registration is "a long and tedious process".

"We are planning to register, but we have to get all the paperwork done first," she said.

Mr Robson Lee, secretary of the board of directors for the Singapore Chinese High School, said in turn that the press conference was held after both sides had signed the agreement for the joint venture.

"Instead of letting the word go out via market rumours and hearsay, we thought it was most appropriate to make the announcement formally," said Mr Lee, who also chaired Thursday's press conference.

The Singapore Chinese High School and EtonHouse are in the midst of preparing the paperwork for submission to the council, which they hope to do by next year, he added.

"We are currently finalising strategic issues such as capitalisation of the joint venture and the software and hardware of the infrastructure," said Mr Lee.

leepearl@sph.com.sg