Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Practice of withholding PSLE results slips due to unpaid school fees should be reviewed: Ong Ye Kung

SINGAPORE — Education Minister Ong Ye Kung has said that the Ministry of Education (MOE) should re-evaluate the practice of withholding original Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results slips from students due to unpaid school fees.

Practice of withholding PSLE results slips due to unpaid school fees should be reviewed: Ong Ye Kung

Students collecting their Primary School Leaving Examination results.

SINGAPORE — Education Minister Ong Ye Kung has said that the Ministry of Education (MOE) should re-evaluate the practice of withholding original Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) results slips from students due to unpaid school fees.

His comments were made public by a Facebook user named Terence Tan, who posted Mr Ong’s reply to his petition asking MOE to revise the practice. TODAY has confirmed that the reply was from Mr Ong.

The appeal to MOE was fuelled by a recent public debate that started after activist Gilbert Goh posted on Facebook on Nov 25, claiming that a student was given just a photocopy of her PSLE results slip and not the original, because she owed S$156 in school fees due to financial difficulties.

MOE then responded to media queries by saying that this was a longstanding practice. The pupil’s parents, it explained, did not pay miscellaneous fees for two years despite several reminders, and did not apply for aid from MOE or school-based financial assistance. It also said that the cost of education is “almost entirely publicly funded” and the underlying principle is that everyone should pay a small fee and it is not right to ignore that obligation, “however small it is".

Acknowledging the petition, which had gathered more than 1,000 signatures, Mr Ong said: “... we do have to question if this practice works at all in urging parents to do a small part in paying some miscellaneous fees. So the practice should be reviewed.”

He added that he will provide a response to the matter in Parliament next year. 

After speaking to various people, Mr Ong said that he did not have the sense that the children who did not get the original results slip were humiliated.

“The schools were sensitive about it. The students would receive their results like everyone, and apply for secondary school and progress like everyone else,” he said in his reply to the appeal. MOE had said earlier that students may use the photocopy of the results slip to apply for admission into secondary schools.

Addressing the other comments that were made by the signatories, Mr Ong said that he disagreed with those who alleged that the schools and teachers here are “uncaring and unfeeling”.

“On the contrary, schools and teachers are on the frontline doing their utmost and often going out of their way to help students from vulnerable backgrounds,” he added.

As for those who said that applying for financial assistance is difficult and demeaning, he said: “All government schemes will need some form-filling which cannot be helped. It is not a difficult form to fill, and school staff often help to fill up the forms for parents.”

Earlier this month, Madam Ho Ching, chief executive officer of state investor Temasek Holdings, waded into the debate by stating that she disagreed with the practice and suggested ways that schools could creatively resolve outstanding fees.

Schools could provide students with opportunities to earn some allowance — such as by tutoring their juniors, becoming Physical Education assistants, manning the school bookstore or helping out in the school library — which can be used to pay for school fees, she said in a Facebook post.

Related topics

PSLE results school fees Ong Ye Kung MOE Review parents students education

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa