Council for Private Education

Published Date: 28 January 2016 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Lim Wee Kiak, Sembawang GRC

Question

To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) since the incorporation of the Council for Private Education (a) how many private schools have been ordered to stop conducting courses for contravening the Private Education Act; (b) how many owners of these schools have been taken to court; (c) why one school was operating for a few years before it was ordered to stop; (d) whether the registration of private schools can be tightened by coordinating with ACRA; and (e) how does CPE police such schools to ensure compliance.

Response

The Private Education Act (“the Act”) empowers the Council for Private Education (CPE) to take errant private education institutions (PEIs) to task in the interests of the public, students, and prospective students. Under the Act, PEIs are required to meet certain standards in areas such as corporate and academic governance, information disclosure, and fee protection measures before they are registered by CPE. Any PEI that has been found to have contravened the requirements of the Act can have its registration period shortened, suspended, or cancelled. Managers of a PEI are also subject to certain prescribed responsibilities and duties - failing which, they can be held liable for a criminal offence.

Since CPE’s inception in 2009, 8 applications for renewal of registration were rejected, and 6 PEIs have been ordered to close due to regulatory contraventions. Thus far, 4 cases have been taken to Court.

We can cooperate with ACRA to make our responses better, but the most important thing is to ensure that CPE is responsive and vigilant. To ensure compliance, CPE monitors the private education sector closely through regular checks and on-site inspections. To improve its responsiveness, in 2014, it established a Monitoring and Investigation Department, dedicated to early detection and identification of enforcement issues. It provides early warnings and industry advisories, which remind PEIs of their regulatory obligations. In cases where a contravention of the Act has been identified, investigations are done to ensure due process before the appropriate regulatory actions are taken. Depending on the circumstances and complexity of the case, the amount of time taken for the investigation and enforcement process may vary.

Share this article: