SINGAPORE - Some 1,800 international pupils who applied to enter Primary 1 this year (2017) were rejected, Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education said on Monday (Oct 2).
"Our public school system is designed to cater to the needs of Singaporean students," she said, responding to a question in Parliament from Mr Ong Teng Koon, an MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
"We welcome eligible international students to study in our schools. They can help to cultivate a global orientation and intercultural skills in our students, and enrich the overall educational environment in Singaporean schools," said Ms Low.
She said that the Ministry of Education (MOE) values the diversity that these foreign students bring to local schools, but its priority is to serve the educational needs of Singaporeans.
"Thus we only offer a limited number of places to international students each year," she said. "While MOE will continue to make available places in our mainstream schools for international students, we will not be able to meet the demand entirely."
The Straits Times reported last year (2016) that a growing number of foreigners are finding it tougher to find places in local schools for their children.
The proportions of international and PR students in local schools have remained fairly constant in recent years, at 5 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.