Withholding PSLE Slip For Late School Fees Is A Long-Standing Practice, Says MOE

You may recall a recent story of a kind stranger who settled a debt for a child’s school fees, after she was “denied” her PSLE certificate.

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The Ministry of Education (MOE) has responded with their clarifications regarding the case, via an official statement carried by Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday (27 Nov).

Here’s a summary of how MOE explained that the “long-standing practice” was justified, you may read the report here in full.

PSLE cert withheld as fees weren’t paid for 2 years

According to MOE, the young 12-year-old’s PSLE certificate was withheld due to unpaid miscellaneous school fees over 2 years.

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Despite “several reminders”, MOE claims that her parents didn’t apply for “school-based financial assistance” which would have “covered all the costs”.

Can apply for schools with copy of results slip

What she received instead, was a “copy of the results”. Although it wasn’t the original slip, MOE explained,

She can still apply for secondary schools and will progress like all students.

$13/month misc. fees is parents’ responsibility

Finally, MOE clarified that the practice of denying students their PSLE certs is a “long-standing practice”. For each student, about $12,000/year in school fees are co-paid by parents in Singapore.

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This comes up to about $13/month in miscellaneous fees per student. However, families with financial concerns can apply for assistance from MOE — covering all of the following:

  • Miscellaneous Fees
  • Uniforms
  • Textbooks
  • Transport
  • Meals in school

MOE says it’s not about “the money”

MOE claims that the underlying issue isn’t about “recovering the money”. The ministry posits that although costs of education are “almost entirely publicly funded”, parents are responsible for the small part they are contributing.

In their words,

It is not right to ignore that obligation, however small it is. We hope parents support us in reinforcing this message.

A teachable moment for our children

Education in Singapore is largely subsidised for our young ones, and it’s unfortunate that the misunderstanding unfolded from an easily preventable situation.

Image for illustration purposes only
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One’s socio-economic status should also hold no bearing on their progress in school, especially in a meritocratic country like Singapore.

However, the lessons that we take away from this “teachable moment for our children”, are the ones that will count in the future.

Do you think MOE’s explanation is justified? Or should the girl have been allowed to receive her PSLE slip regardless of her school fees arrears?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Also read:

Kind Stranger Pays $156 In Overdue School Fees So Student Can Collect PSLE Certificate

Featured image adapted from Facebook