SINGAPORE - Aspiring doctors seeking financial help to get through medical school here will soon pay less in school fees. Government bursaries for medical courses in local universities will be enhanced to make them "significantly more than bursaries for other university courses", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced at the National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 18).
He said that medicine has the highest course fees among all the university courses and the Government wants to do more to encourage more students from lower-income families to study medicine.
"Today, after government subsidies, medical school fees are almost $29,000 per year at NUS (National University of Singapore), and $35,000 per year at NTU (Nanyang Technological University)," he said.
Together with bursaries from the universities, the changes will see lower-income students paying at most $5,000 annually for medical school, an amount which "can be covered by student loans with much less difficulty", said PM Lee.
The enhancements will apply to existing and new students from the next academic year.
"We should not let the cost of medical school deter good students from studying medicine and becoming doctors. In fact, we want doctors to come from different segments of society, and have diverse educational and family backgrounds," said PM Lee.
He noted that recent medical school intakes have been more diverse, with more polytechnic graduates, along with the first Institute of Technical Education graduate making it to the NUS medical school this year.
However, he added that more should be done on the socio-economic front to encourage lower-income students to pursue medicine.