Education Ministry is afraid of competition?

Photo credits to Smuconlaw. Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.Photo credits to Smuconlaw. Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Why does it take so long for the Ministry of Education to approve any students’ enrolment into private schools?

I refer to Jean Wee’ letter “Why the need for approval to enrol in private schools” (Straits Times Forum, Jan 19).

It states that “I can empathise with Ms Jaspreet Kaur’s frustration over the Ministry of Education’s (MOE’s) delay in approving her son’s enrolment in a private school for a preparatory O-level course (MOE taking long time to ‘approve’ enrolment for private school; Jan 18).

Last December, I withdrew my daughter from her secondary school and enrolled her in an O-level preparatory course at a private education institution (PEI).

The PEI submitted all the required documents to MOE before Christmas, but has yet to receive approval.

When I requested an update last week, the school’s administrators told me that they have yet to receive approval for any of the applications they submitted for course commencement in 2018.

I am puzzled as to why MOE has to approve applications to private schools.”

In this connection, there has been several studies which indicate that our (public) education system is arguably, elitist, has contributed to a “class divide”, the odds are stacked against students who are academically (OECD study debated in Parliament recently) or financially disadvantaged, etc.

So, arguably, what is the Ministry of Education afraid of?

That making it easier to transfer to private schools may further indicate the shortcomings of our (public) education system?

This is probably, not the first time that the MOE has shown that it may be afraid of competition.

If even the venerable Ministry Of Education needs unfair competition against the private sector – what kind of message are we sending to the private sector and entrepreneurs in Singapore?

According to the article “Private pre-schools worry about new P1 admission policy” (Straits Times, Nov 29) –  “Some private pre-school operators are watching the changes in the sector with concern, after the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Monday that children in its kindergartens would get priority admission in the Primary 1 registration exercise.

Smaller players are worried about being squeezed out as MOE expands its reach and adds an advantage to attending its kindergartens, though MOE said the move is to better ease children into Primary 1 education.”

Leong Sze Hian



About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.