SINGAPORE: New measures will be introduced by the Committee for Private Education (CPE) to strengthen the protection of students in the private education sector and increase information transparency for prospective students.
It will now be mandatory for all private schools offering External Degree Programmes (EDPs) to participate in the CPE’s annual Graduate Employment Survey. The survey results will then be published on the CPE’s website where the employment outcomes of each school will be reflected, allowing prospective students to make better informed education and career choices, according to the committee.
This builds on the CPE’s pilot survey of 2014 graduates, which was released earlier this month. The pilot survey, which was carried out from December 2015 to June this year, reached out to approximately 4,200 private school graduates about their employment status six months after their final examinations.
To strengthen protection for students, all private schools offering EDPs and programmes that lead to EDPs will also be required to obtain EduTrust certification – a voluntary quality assurance scheme that recognises private schools that are able to consistently maintain high standards in key areas of management and in the provision of education services.
This will take immediate effect for new private schools that do not currently offer such programmes but intend to do so.
Meanwhile, existing private schools that already offer EDPs will have until Jun 1, 2018, to obtain the EduTrust certification, provided that they submit an application by Jun 1 next year.
Private schools will also be required to set appropriate minimum academic entry requirements for fresh school-leavers enrolling into EDPs with immediate effect. These requirements apply to fresh school-leavers who do not have relevant working experience, and are in line with existing industry practices, CPE said.
Admissions to degree programmes will now require a GCE A-Level, International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, a polytechnic diploma or other equivalent pre-university certification, while admission to programmes that lead to degree programmes will require a GCE O-Level or equivalent, or a Nitec, Higher Nitec or equivalent certification.
By establishing these benchmarks clearly, prospective students will be better informed about pre-requisites for courses. Private schools will have up to Jun 1 next year to revise their admission criteria, the CPE said.
Minimum financial requirements will be imposed on private schools to strengthen student protection by ensuring that schools have adequate financial capabilities to operate. A minimum paid-up capital of S$100,000 will be imposed on all new private schools, while existing ones must meet a minimum credit rating by Jun 1, 2017, the committee added.
“As the sector moves forward, we need to ensure that institutions continue to have sound foundations on which to operate and deliver the quality of training that students expect. The new measures are aimed at doing so, and will provide additional safeguards for students to enroll with private education institutions,” said Mr Brandon Lee, Director-General (Private Education) of SkillsFuture Singapore.
“At the same time, we wish to remind students the need to exercise due diligence by researching and assessing the suitability of the various education pathways available. We hope that the enhanced information transparency will be useful in helping students make more informed decision,” he added.