The move to increase diversity at top schools, by making them affordable for all, marks the latest step taken on Singapore's journey towards an educational meritocracy which is less differentiated by the economic starting point of children. It has been announced that independent school fees will be cut by more than half, in some cases, for children from low-and middle-income families. This is an incremental move in the sense that many independent schools already have financial assistance schemes of their own. However, the announcement reaffirms the national remit of the determination to ensure that parents are not deterred from expecting the best for their children because of their pecuniary circumstances.
Thus, under the enhanced Independent School Bursary scheme, students from low-or middle-income families will, from April, generally pay lower fees than they are charged now at independent schools. Children from families in the lowest income tier can also qualify for a new $800 annual Uplift scholarship for out-of-pocket expenses. These are meaningful gestures in putting to rest the cost concerns that many parents have about education in elite schools. That should free them to focus on the really important questions of what is best for their children, how they can contribute to the meritocratic aspects of the educational institutions, and how schools can work with students to broaden national horizons.
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