With regards to private schools, a question that may be on the minds of many is whether students and parents can trust private schools in Singapore and those that GEI represent. Indeed, there has been a few incidents over the past years where private schools in Singapore have closed down and because of this students have lost their money. As this was harming the reputation of Singapore as an education destination, the Singapore government formed a new statutory board (i.e. autonomous government agency) on 1st December 2009 called the Council for Private Education (CPE).
All private schools need to register with CPE and comply with the Enhanced Regulation Framework (ERF), which ensures that they are of a certain standard in order to protect the interests their students. CPE also administers the EduTrust certification scheme which is of higher standards than the ERF. All private schools wishing to enrol international students need to be EduTrust certified. The emphasis of EduTrust is on Student Protection and Academic Quality. For more information, you may go to the Council for Private Education (CPE) website and look at CPE and EduTrust publications in English, Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia and Vietnamese.
The EduTrust certification scheme covers the following important areas aimed to protect international students:
1) Student Contract: To minimize disputes between the student and the school, the student has to sign a Student Contract before any payment is made. Included in the contract is the fact that students are allowed a maximum refund within 7 days after signing the contract.
2) Fee Protection Scheme (FPS): The Fee Protection Scheme (FPS) is a requirement for EduTrusted private schools. This protects students against loss of tuition fees if the school closes down.
3) Medical Insurance: It is compulsory for schools to provide a medical insurance scheme that will provide an annual coverage of not less than S$20,000 per student.
4) Transfer, Withdrawal And Refund Policies And Procedures: Each school has its own policies on transfering (to another course within the school), withdrawal (from the school) and refunds. This is to avoid disputes between the student and the school.
The result of the new stricter regulations by CPE is that hundreds of small private schools have either closed down or merged with other schools. Remaining schools that are certified “EduTrust” are of high standards. There is therefore no need to worry about the credibility of the GEI-represented school.