Updated: 02/17/2014 23:09

MOE clarifies policy on funding of schools

MOE clarifies policy on funding of schools

All schools, including independent schools, are funded based on the programmes they offer and their enrolment. 

This was shared by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament, in response to concerns raised in recent media reports about funding for independent schools. 

He explained that in recent review of the Ministry's funding policy for independent schools, it considered factors like the higher overheads in schools with smaller enrolments. 

So to adjust for this, the Ministry introduced a fixed component, and a variable component depending on the student enrolment number. 

This resulted in six out of 10 independent schools receiving up to 5 per cent more funding, while the other four received less funding, a decrease of about 3 per cent at the most. 

Mr Heng added that there no change to funding for the integrated programme, or IP. 

Apart from independent schools, the IP is also offered in some government or government-aided schools. 

Students who are both on the school-based gifted education programme and the IP will receive only the funding for the former, in order to use resources more efficiently. 

"In rolling out these changes, MOE engaged the key stakeholders and management teams to ensure that schools are able to manage. We are confident that the schools can continue to provide quality and holistic education for their students. Our aim is to ensure that we continue to pursue excellence at all levels, regardless of where the students are - it is never to level down."

He also explained that schools are given funding on a needs-basis. 

This means that the amount of funding a school receives can differ even within the same category of schools, depending on the type of programmes they offer and the demographic of their student body. 

He added that the Ministry has also discussed with the independent schools the areas where resources can be utilised more effectively. 

This includes the judicious use of air-conditioning, and the focusing of fundraising efforts on areas with strong educational merits. 

Fundraising should also be done at a pace that would not overly burden teachers, parents and students, as this may deter some students, especially those from less well-off families, from applying to the school. 

And he is heartened that the independent schools have responded positively and support the intent of the review.

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