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Educating our Children: What’s the Cost?

Updated: May 26, 2023

In Singapore, education is an important aspect that every citizen can get an easy access to - from getting a variety of opportunities presented to them, to having good infrastructures for learning. In fact, education in Singapore is mandatory - since 2003, all children must be enrolled in a school.

Because of this, the school fees for Singaporean citizens are free - for the primary education level. For secondary education, it costs about $5 a month. While there are other costs related to education, it does not exceed $30 per month in both primary and secondary education - ensuring that education is made affordable to all Singaporeans.

However, educating your child can still cost a lot.

While schools in Singapore provide a good education at an affordable rate, parents are spending more on everything else needed - from tuition classes, to other miscellaneous fees such as additional compulsory books and pocket money. For many parents, they have to put money aside to meet these growing expenses, all in the name of giving the best for their child.

Unsurprisingly, Singaporean families spend a staggering amount of money on education, and a large part of it on private educational services, or tuition.

According to a HSBC survey, parents spend around $96,000, from primary school all the way to the undergraduate years. As a result of this, Singapore ranked third - just behind Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates - in terms of the amount spent on their child’s education costs, including tuition fees, books, transport and accommodation.

For example, reports showed that tuition costs between $150 and $400 per subject per month - meaning, five subjects would cost at least $750 per month.

Most parents said that they want to ensure their children keep up in a rigorous education system, doing whatever it takes to pave the way to a brighter future for their children. Some parents are also fearful that they are not doing enough and their kids might get left behind. The mindset of ‘everyone else is also doing it’ might push some parents to spend more for their child, in hopes of paving better opportunities. If you earn more, you are likely to spend even more on your children.

Though no doubt, there are many financial assistance schemes and scholarship opportunities offered to students in Singapore to help them cover school fees comfortably. For Singapore citizens in financial need, they are able to get assistance from the Ministry of Education (MOE) on school fees and other expenses - this applies to government, government-aided, specialised and some independent schools.

The criteria? As long as the monthly Gross Household Income (GHI) is not above $2,750 or if the Per Capita Income (PCI) is below $690.

At the MOE portal, you can also check your child’s school fees. Through this, you can roughly estimate the expenses needed to be set aside for their school fees. You can also use the Financial Assistance Eligibility Checker to check if your child is eligible for financial assistance.

Additionally, primary school and secondary students who qualify for MOE FAS will be able to receive subsidies for seven meals and 10 meals respectively. Primary school students will receive subsidies of $2 per meal while secondary school students will receive $2.50 per meal. There is also the Edusave Merit Bursary, whereby students in lower-income families are encouraged to achieve good results despite their circumstances.

While the school fees in Singapore are affordable, there are many other forms of expenditure that might be taking a financial toll on some families.

We at Global Ehsan Relief strongly believe in the importance of education for our children, especially those coming from low-income families and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Oftentimes, it may be the only way for underprivileged students to break free from the poverty cycle. Project Pencil Singapore offers a centre that provides free after-school programs to assist disadvantaged children to meet their academic needs.

Global Ehsan Relief Singapore’s partnership with Project Pencil Singapore aims to uplift these students through our Care for Education campaign.

With your donation, you can continue to provide these children with a safe space to study.

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