Education Minister Ong Ye Kung revealed the figures in a Parliamentary written answer to a question by Workers’ Party non-constituency MP Leon Perera about total government spending on scholarships and other forms of financial aid given to foreign students over the past five years.
Ong said: “For those international students on scholarships, their academic performance is closely monitored every semester, and the scholarship would be withdrawn if the scholar’s performance is not satisfactory. Additionally, international students on scholarships at Autonomous Universities are also obliged to work in a Singapore entity for up to six years after graduation.”
Singapore has more than 200 government-run local schools which offer low-cost primary and secondary education and follow the Ministry of Education (MOE) curriculum. Singaporean citizens are given priority for places at all local primary and secondary schools and there are limited spots available for expats; currently, around 5% of places are taken by expat students. The Ministry of Education handles all applications, and international students can only apply in the final phase of an annual registration exercise held from June to September.
Financial aid offered to international students includes ASEAN scholarships for nationals of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam. These scholarships are typically for studies in selected Singapore schools from Secondary 3 to Pre-University 2
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Ong added: “Every education system in the world will provide some support to international students, and Singaporeans are also benefitting from foreign sponsorships for their studies. This is the norm amongst the international network of education systems.”