Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap (Aljunied): MOE’s Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) aims to provide financial support to Singapore students, from the low-income households studying in the public schools or public-funded schools.
Sir, I am of the view the FAS also be accessible to the following two groups of less privileged students. First, students of the six full-time madrasahs. Were parents choose to enrol their child in a full-time madrasah, it is to aspire the child to be equipped with both academic and religious knowledge. Our public schools do not provide the latter.
I note that MUIS does provide financial assistance in the form of Progress Fund Madrasah Scheme (PROMAS). Nonetheless, as part of our ongoing efforts in making our society more inclusive, I would like to propose that MOE extends the FAS to all Singaporeans students who need it, regardless of the type of institution they are attending.
Secondly, I propose that FAS should also be made available to needy students who are Permanent Residents provided one of their parents or stepparents is a Singaporean. I have come across cases of low-income Singaporeans parents who has a child or stepchild who is a Permanent Resident and are struggling in their child’s education expenses. Some even ended up with school fees arrears, even though they are paying subsidised fees. A good number of these Singaporean parents had attempted to acquire Singapore citizenship for their child or stepchild, hoping to alleviate the financial cost. However, many have been unsuccessful.
I note that between 2019 to 2021, around 30% to 40% of all marriages involving Singaporean citizens were transnational marriages. Some of these marriages do lead to children who may not have Singapore citizenship. Sir, I believe my proposal of extending the FAS to cover children in such circumstances is in line with our mission of strengthening our social compact.
Ministry of Education
28 February 2023