SINGAPORE: The number of regulatory fees private education institutions have to pay will be reduced to lower compliance costs, Senior Minister of State for Education Chee Hong Tat said on Monday (Mar 4).
The number of fees payable will be cut from nine currently to three, and each provider is expected to save about S$380 to S$640 annually, he added.
These are some of the changes to be made later this year, as SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) reviews its rules to reduce compliance costs and to make it more “convenient” for private training providers seeking different types of regulatory approvals, said Mr Chee, who was speaking in Parliament during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate.
“We want our regulations to be pro-business while maintaining quality training standards,” he said.
A risk-based performance management system will also replace the current Continuous Improvement Review process for Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Approved Training Organisations, in order to “simplify” the licensing process for providers offering both WSQ and private education programmes, said Mr Chee.
SSG is also trying to further reduce the cost incurred by WSQ training providers issuing e-Certificates.
Since 2014, the certificate fee has been reduced from $2.60 to $1.20.
“We believe that smart regulation is an important enabler for supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, and will help our training companies grow and export their services overseas,” said Mr Chee.
“It can be one of Singapore’s competitive advantages. But we must not assume that smart regulation will automatically happen … government agencies must be open to feedback and listen to proposals from the industry.”
Mr Chee added that the Government is working with training providers to develop industry standards and expand overseas.
He said that existing adult educator training requirements for WSQ courses will be extended to SSG-funded, non-WSQ certifiable courses. These requirements will take effect in 2021.
He also highlighted a pilot initiative, supported by SSG and Enterprise Singapore, to develop and export training programmes referenced to WSQ standards. The initiative by the Strategic Association of Professional Training-Consulting Organisation will start with India and Vietnam.
“This will help our training providers to export their services to overseas markets,” he said.
ADDITIONAL SUBSIDY FOR COMPANIES WHO WANT TO IMPROVE WORKERS’ SKILLS
Companies which qualify for the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) will also be able to apply for an additional subsidy aimed at supporting them in improving the skills of workers, said Mr Chee.
Called the Productivity Solutions Grant (SkillsFuture Training Subsidy), or PSG (SFTS), it will cover 70 per cent of out-of-pocket training expenses for such companies, capped at S$10,000 per company.
This will be part of efforts to provide “extra support” for companies, and to “reinforce the message that worker training and skills upgrading are critical elements for business transformation", Mr Chee added.
This will be on top of the existing training subsidies of up to 90 per cent, he said.
“As companies restructure and transform with technology, they should also build capabilities in their workers to help them move up the value chain,” said Mr Chee.
“Transformation must be ‘technology driven, people led’. Using technology alone is not adequate if the workers are not trained to optimise these tools. If we do it well, enterprise transformation should result in higher profits for the company and higher pay for our workers – a win-win outcome.”