1 in 16,000 students here is a scholarship holder from India: MOE

MOE noted in its Facebook post that it "provides a wide range of scholarships and financial aid, predominantly to Singaporeans".
MOE noted in its Facebook post that it "provides a wide range of scholarships and financial aid, predominantly to Singaporeans".PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - International students on scholarships currently make up 0.9 per cent of secondary and pre-university students here, amounting to more than 1,700 students.

Of these, 0.7 per cent, or about 12 students, are India nationals. 

This means that one in about 16,000 students here are scholarship holders from India, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Friday (Dec 6).

MOE had shared some statistics relating to Indian nationals on Facebook in response to discussions circulating online and in messaging apps that only students from India are given scholarships.

There are about 190,000 students in secondary school and pre-university institutions in total. 

Responding to queries, an MOE spokesman said the ministry offers about 450 pre-tertiary scholarships a year.

The majority of international scholarship holders come from Asean countries and China, with only about five from India each year. These students are admitted at different levels between Secondary 1 and Pre-University 1. 

“Our scholarships for international students bring about greater diversity in schools. This is important for the learning and development of our local students,” the spokesman said.

In the post, MOE explained that it works with organisations, including the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and Singapore Airlines (SIA), to administer some of the scholarship schemes.

Some of the scholarships are intended only for students of specific nationalities.

For instance, Asean Scholarships are for students from Asean countries.

Details of the SIA Youth scholarship, available on MOE’s website, state that it is for nationals of India.

The scheme dates back to at least the 1990s.


Tests and interviews for applicants are conducted in Delhi. The scholarship is tenable for two years leading to the award of an A-Level (or equivalent) certificate and is renewed annually, subject to performance. 

Scholarship benefits include an annual allowance with hostel accommodation, and return economy class air passage, among others.

The ministry’s spokesman said: “MOE funds the scholarships and partners various organisations to administer them.

“Our students have been receiving scholarships from overseas governments and institutions over the years as well. As a reputable education system, we need to be part of this international network.”

He added: “Some of the international students eventually sink roots here. 

“However, even if they decide to leave Singapore, they provide a valuable global network of fans and friends who can speak up for Singapore, and forge collaborations with us."