School fees going up for foreigners and PRs

Monthly fees for PRs attending a primary school will increase from the current $130 to $155 next year, $180 in 2019, and $205 in 2020.
Monthly fees for PRs attending a primary school will increase from the current $130 to $155 next year, $180 in 2019, and $205 in 2020.PHOTO: MY PAPER

Hike for next 3 years applies to local primary, secondary schools, and pre-university level

Foreigners and Singapore permanent residents (PR) will have to pay more over the next three years to enrol their children in local schools.

Monthly fees for PRs attending a primary school will increase from the current $130 to $155 next year, $180 in 2019, and $205 in 2020.

For international students, monthly fees will increase by $50 each year, from $600 now to $750 in 2020.

Secondary school fees for PRs will nearly double from the current monthly fee of $200 to $380 in 2020, with an annual increase of $60 in monthly fees.

The revision in fees - which applies to primary and secondary schools, and the pre-university level - will take effect from January each year. This will be the third consecutive year that school fees have gone up for non-Singaporeans.

A Ministry of Education (MOE) spokesman said yesterday that it conducts regular reviews of school fees and makes adjustments when necessary. "The fee increase sharpens the differentiation between Singapore citizens, PRs and foreigners, to reflect the privileges of citizenship," said the spokesman.

"Having said that, even with the increase in school fees, our fees for international students remain competitive compared to international and private schools."

From 2018 to 2020, school fees will increase by $25 to $60 a month for PRs, and by $25 to $150 a month for international students.

MOE said it released the fee schedule for the next three years "to provide greater certainty and enable parents to plan for the financing of their children's studies in MOE schools".

The fees for Singapore citizens remain unchanged. Primary school education is free for Singaporeans, while those in secondary schools and at the pre-university level pay monthly fees of $5 and $6 respectively.

Affected parents said they were thankful that their children even have places in local schools.

Mrs Kristine Oustrup Laureijs, a 45-year-old Danish artist whose two children, aged nine and 11, attend local schools, said: "We are grateful that our kids actually have places at local schools as it is very, very difficult to get these days.

"I respect that (the hike) is a political message saying, 'Pay your own way as a foreigner, we only subsidise our Singaporean citizens.' "

Mrs Sumalatha Videm, a PR whose daughter attends a local primary school, said: "I don't mind the slight increase every year, as long as the fees are not too much... It is a lot less than the $1,100 per month we paid at an international school."

"But if PRs need to pay the same fees as international students, then I will object," added the 33-year-old, who works in the property industry.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2017, with the headline 'School fees going up for foreigners and PRs'. Print Edition | Subscribe