Adopt changes at a moderate pace, MP tells independent schools
The Straits Times
| Nov 18, 1989
By: Sharon Vasoo
INDEPENDENT schools should not be too ambitious
and should be moderate in their development plans, said Mr Chew
Heng Ching, MP for Eunos GRC, yesterday.
Mr Chew - who is the fourth MP to criticise the recent fees increase
announcement - said that the ndependent schools, in trying to compete
among themselves for the best teachers and teaching facilities,
had set themselves too high an ambition.
He said: "The proposed increases seem to point to one direction.
Independent schools have set too high an ambition, competing among
themselves to attract the best teachers and investing in the best
teaching facilities. All these mean higher costs and hence higher
Mr Chew questioned if the independent schools were progressing too
fast and asked if there was really a need for them to be so ambitious.
He urged them to develop at a "more moderate pace", and
to ensure that the
school fees charged remained affordable to pupils from average-income
Expressing doubts over the the number of bursaries which independent
schools could offer, Mr Chew said: "How many bursaries could
a school offer? What is the end result? "Independent schools
will become 'rich man' schools. If this happens, it will defeat
the Government's objective of setting up independent schools,"
The first person to take up the cudgel was Mr Peh Chin Hua, MP for
Jalan Besar GRC, when he said earlier this month that the fees increase
would pose a burden to parents of children from average and poor
He was then joined by Dr Ow Chin Hock, MP for Leng Kee, who said
last Saturday that the increases were way out of proportion in comparison
to those of tertiary institutions.
They were joined in criticism by Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon, MP for Yuhua,
who said on Wednesday that it was unfair for the Government to give
higher subsidies to independent schools.
So far, the only MP who has spoken in favour of the fees increase
is Mr Chng Hee Kok, MP for Tiong Bahru GRC, who said that if the
independent school concept was to be successful, then the public
should accept the need to allow the schools autonomy and should
therefore support the fees increase.
The new fees, which will come into effect next year, will see Anglo-Chinese
School, Chinese High and Raffles Institution charging students $100
a month, while the new monthly fees for Methodist Girls' School,
Singapore Chinese Girls' School and St Joseph's Institution will
Students at the present five independent schools now pay $25 a month.
Those at Raffles Institution, which goes independent in January,