Singapore cracks down on private education providers ‘to better protect students’
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Singapore cracks down on private education providers ‘to better protect students’

Singapore cracks down on private education providers ‘to better protect students’

Singapore’s private education regulator has laid out new measures to improve the quality of its private education institutions (PEIs).

Following the closure of New York University’s branch campus there in 2012 due to “financial challenges” and subsequent lawsuit filed by former students earlier this month, the Committee of Private Education (CPE) has introduced the new requirements to ensure that similar cases do not happen again.

The new conditions include requiring PEIs offering degrees to take part in its annual graduate employment survey and obtaining EduTrust certification, a four-year quality assurance certificate.

The survey will be centrally administered by the CPE “to ensure independence and neutrality”, and its results will be published on each institution’s website so that prospective students can view their employment outcomes.

Previously, EduTrust certification was done on a voluntary basis, but is now compulsory. Institutions which do not have EduTrust certification will have until June 1, 2018 to get it, and will have until June 1, 2017 to apply for one.

PEIs will also need to have at least SG$100,000 (US$71,000) in paid-up capital to ensure that they have “adequate financial capabilities to operate”.

The CPE also announced in a statement that it would soon implement enhanced EduTrust standards to “place greater emphasis on academic processes and student education outcomes”.

The improved standards will be released in January next year, and will take effect from June 1 of that year.

Brandon Lee, Director-General (Private Education) for SkillsFuture Singapore, which oversees the CPE, said: “As the sector matures, we need to ensure that institutions continue to have sound foundations on which to operate and deliver the quality of training that students expect.

“The new measures are aimed at doing so, and will provide additional safeguards for students who choose to enrol with Private Education Institutions,” he added.

He also reminded students to “exercise due diligence by researching and assessing the suitability of the various education pathways available”.

According to University World News, it was reported that up to 22 of the country’s private institutions closed in the past 12 months, in part due to declining enrollment caused by “changing business conditions, increased competition and shifting market demands”.

Image via Shutterstock

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