Higher subsidies for needy students on CDAC learning programmes

This change will benefit an estimated 3,000 students and will require an additional budget of about $500,000 next year.
This change will benefit an estimated 3,000 students and will require an additional budget of about $500,000 next year. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Needy students will be paying less for learning programmes from Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) from next year.

On Saturday (August 4), the organisation announced that from January 2019, there will be higher fee subsidies for underprivileged students currently attending subject-based learning programmes at 12 CDAC Centres.

This change will benefit an estimated 3,000 students and will require an additional budget of about $500,000 next year.

CDAC is a non-profit self-help group for the Chinese community which has provided learning support for students in the last 26 years through tuition and other enrichment programmes.

Currently, 1,300 classes are conducted at about 50 locations every year.

Students from families with a monthly household income of not more than $1,900 pay about 10 per cent of programme fees. With the higher subsidies next year, these students will have their fees completely waived.

Those who come from families whose household incomes range from $1,900 to $3,300 currently pay 25 per cent of course fees. They will instead pay a flat rate of $8 for primary school pupils and $12 for secondary school.

Students in the lower middle-income group, whose household income ranges from $3,300 to $4,000, will pay $40 for primary school programmes and $60 for secondary school. Currently, this group receives no subsidies.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for trade and industry and education Low Yen Ling said: "We hope to narrow the gaps so that no child would be left behind; giving those who are disadvantaged access to tuition and support from dedicated teachers who believe students have the potential and every chance to beat the odds."

Next year, CDAC will also take a different learning approach to its classes, by grouping students according to learning abilities and needs. Those who require more attention will also be taught in small groups of two or three, instead of the usual 10 to 15 students for standard and express classes, and 5 to 8 students for foundation and normal stream classes.