Expanding PSEA usage to students in the private education institutions

Published Date: 05 November 2019 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Sylvia Lim, Aljunied GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education whether the Government will review the policy regarding usage of the Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) to permit withdrawals for tertiary studies at private universities.

Response

1. Mr Speaker Sir, various members, including Mr Zainal Sapari, had previously raised similar questions in this House.

2. The Post-Secondary Education Account or PSEA, this scheme was introduced in 2008 to provide additional financial support for post-secondary education. Before 2016, we had restricted the use of PSEA to publicly-funded institutions, namely ITE, Polytechnics, Autonomous Universities and the Arts Institutions, NAFA and LaSalle, and also, Workforce Skills Qualification or WSQ courses.

3. This is because being part of the publicly-funded system, we are assured of the quality of the courses. Further, the programmes are already significantly subsidised, and extending PSEA support is a natural thing to do.

4. The usage of PSEA was broadened in 2016. We included other approved skills development programmes and modular courses that are subsidised by our continuing education and training policy, and delivered by Government agencies and private training providers. Examples include the training programmes offered at BCA Academy, and Digital Marketing in Hospitality offered at SHATEC Institutes.

5. If there is any unused amount in the PSEA when the account holder turns 30, this will be transferred to his or her CPF Ordinary Account in the following year.

6. Quality and relevance remain the key considerations in deciding whether an education and training programme can qualify for PSEA usage. We need to protect the interests of account holders by ensuring that all courses eligible for PSEA support will meet quality standards and the needs of industries.

7. Sir, there is a wide range of courses offered by Private Education Institutions or PEIs, with varying quality and learning outcomes. While SkillsFuture Singapore regulates these private commercial players, they are not part of the public education system, and we do not extend public subsidy to them. Likewise, we do not have a blanket policy to allow the usage of PSEA for their courses.

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