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P1 Registration: MOE Rejects application

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P1 Registration: MOE Rejects application

Post by jtflies » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 1:58 pm

Hi all,

We moved to our family to Singapore expecting to put our son in to public schools as we thought that would be a good fit for him (he's bilingual Chinese and English) as he has been in the school system in Hong Kong which is similar to Singapore.

We just received a letter from the MOE today stating there are no schools anywhere in Singapore where they are able to place him. I am now hearing there are other parents in my shoes that were hoping to get placed in the national school system and are getting the same result as well.

This leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth as we don't have the expat package that includes education allowances and we are paying out of our own pocket for this. With the unbelievable costs of the International Schools, my wife and I are scratching our head wondering if we made the right decision to come here.

I'm looking for responses on why is this now happening that expats are being denied access to public schools, if you are in the same shoes as we are, what other options (besides pulling the ripcord and leaving) are there? Surely there are expats here that can't cough up those huge sums for intl schools, what are you doing?

Thanks very much for your feedback.

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Re: P1 Registration: MOE Rejects application

Post by ScoobyDoes » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 2:08 pm

jtflies wrote: I'm looking for responses on why is this now happening that expats are being denied access to public schools, if you are in the same shoes as we are, what other options (besides pulling the ripcord and leaving) are there? Surely there are expats here that can't cough up those huge sums for International Schools, what are you doing?

It's not really anything that is "now happening" as it has been for a while, with very a very tight number of spaces, and expats/foreign kids rightly placed at the end of the application.

BUT, you say with a P1 application, meaning about to start P1 come January 2016? Did you go through the registration process that finished a few weeks ago?
Last edited by ScoobyDoes on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Wd40 » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 2:08 pm

This topic is being discussed here:

http://forum.singaporeexpats.com/ftopic ... sc-15.html

Can the mods please strip out the P1 registration related posts from the above thread and create a seperate thread or merge into this thread?

Looks like this is going to become a big topic soon.

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Re: P1 Registration: MOE Rejects application

Post by jtflies » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 2:15 pm

ScoobyDoes wrote:It's really anything that is "now happening" as it has been for a while, with very a very tight number of spaces, and expats/foreign kids rightly placed at the end of the application.

BUT, you say with a P1 application, meaning about to start P1 come January 2016? Did you go through the registration process that finished a few weeks ago?
We went through phase 3 at the end of August for placement in P1 for January 2015.

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Post by ScoobyDoes » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 4:09 pm

Okay, then that's a bit tough.

Last year there were around 700 such letters sent out from what I remember. As I said, it's not something "now happening", it's fairly standard for Singapore these days as it is for EFL schools in HK.

I applied for an EFL school there and after two years never had a space.....so, we're all still here.

On a different note, you appreciate that going through local schools in HK gives Cantonese/English bilingualism and not Singapore's Mandarin/English type Chinese? Otherwise he'll need to be trilingual because P1 entry assumes a level of "Mother Tongue" already which in your case would be Mandarin.
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Post by merichan » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 4:19 pm

Not a new story, last year rejections were above 700 children, this year it seems to concern about 1000 children.


The solutions? Mostly:


- find a spot in an International School

- Homeschool your child and get him ready for admittance in P2 through the AEIS next year in october.

Given the number of parents concerned there is other parents interested at organising homeschooling in groups. Some tuition centres have programs especially aimed at children who are trying to get in local schools.

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Post by PNGMK » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 5:05 pm

Frankly I would leave Singapore in this situation.

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Re: P1 Registration: MOE Rejects application

Post by Dalila2 » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 6:25 pm

jtflies wrote:Surely there are expats here that can't cough up those huge sums for International Schools, what are you doing?
I do not live in a condo, do not own a car, no maid either, my smartphone is almost 4 years old and I have never been to Thailand.

In case my daughter gets rejected next year I should, with tears in my eyes, be ready to cough that money out, or at least some of it.

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Post by singapore eagle » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 7:21 pm

I have decidedly mixed feelings about this one.

On the one hand, it's very hard to argue that the Singapore government somehow 'owes' foreigners on EP/WP/etc. a spot in the Singapore public education system.

On the other hand, it's clearly not realistic to think that all such individuals can afford exorbitant International School fees. So the message one could take from the lack of Phase 3 places is that Singapore does not welcome mid-end foreign professionals with kids. In fact, one could argue that the government is positively encouraging a whole bunch of families to go home. I'm not sure this is the image that the country wants to project.

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Post by brian_singapore » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 8:13 pm

singapore eagle wrote:I have decidedly mixed feelings about this one.

On the one hand, it's very hard to argue that the Singapore government somehow 'owes' foreigners on EP/WP/etc. a spot in the Singapore public education system.

On the other hand, it's clearly not realistic to think that all such individuals can afford exorbitant International School fees. So the message one could take from the lack of Phase 3 places is that Singapore does not welcome mid-end foreign professionals with kids. In fact, one could argue that the government is positively encouraging a whole bunch of families to go home. I'm not sure this is the image that the country wants to project.
So this is going to seem like its out of left field. But... when we went to Sri Lanka I was issued a work permit on the recommendation of the ministry of economic development (name may not be right) on the basis working in Sri Lanka would foster economic growth via skills development. The kicker though, they couldn't issue a recommendation for a residency permit (not a work permit!) for my wife. Ministry of immigration had no policy or program for accompanying spouses... The ministry of economic development were stumped when asked whey they expected me to come to Sri Lanka sans family for 3 years....

I think it's reasonable to expect a basic level of services consumerate with the permit and the context of the permits they are issuing. In my case a residency permit for my wife, the OP school for the children (after all SG did think the OP valuable enough to issue a DP for the children). None of this is free-loading; we're all paying taxes in support of the public services we expect to use. Not to say there shouldn't be some level of differential pricing (if memory serves, there is) as expats are generally not a lifelong income stream.

I'd have thought SG wouldn't have any qualms in just tightening up the requirements or not renewing EPs to get rid of anyone they didn't want. I don't think they need to resort to backdoor tactics. Otherwise what would be the point in issuing the EPs and DPs in the first place... they are just leaving the employer in the lurch.

But I am clearly hopelessly naive in my expectations.... I suppose you could argue it's a question of taking the deal offered, but this one doesn't a huge amount of sense and smells like 'beware the small print'...

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 8:18 pm

singapore eagle wrote:I have decidedly mixed feelings about this one.

On the one hand, it's very hard to argue that the Singapore government somehow 'owes' foreigners on EP/WP/etc. a spot in the Singapore public education system.

On the other hand, it's clearly not realistic to think that all such individuals can afford exorbitant International School fees. So the message one could take from the lack of Phase 3 places is that Singapore does not welcome mid-end foreign professionals with kids. In fact, one could argue that the government is positively encouraging a whole bunch of families to go home. I'm not sure this is the image that the country wants to project.
I think it's exactly what they are trying to doinog. They (the mid-end foreign profs) are the PMETs that the locals want to fill. Sadly, the companies that lose those employees are not going to be able, in all probability, to fill them due to the dearth of suitably qualified or experienced locals. By slamming the doors on the FTs with families, they end up leaving lock, stock & barrel. Hurting the companies, but easing the strain on the infrastructure. They (the gahment) are probably figuring that as long as they can somehow appease the populace (they are the ones with the votes - companies cannot vote) they can afford to sacrifice some companies in the short term on the alter of the PAP's quest to remain in power. IMHO

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Post by Wd40 » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 8:39 pm

I think there are less expensive International Schools as well. Those where you pay ~$10K SGD per year. Now suddenly the low taxes, don't look as attractive since you need to provide for the high school fees out of your take home income.

I think the economics 101 of demand and supply will play out. Candidates wouldn't want to come to Singapore or stay in Singapore unless they are able to pay those fees. If employers want to keep those people they will need to pay more or replace them with younger workers who are not going to have kids of school going age.

Just curious, how does it work in other low tax regimes like the UAE?

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Post by brian_singapore » Mon, 27 Oct 2014 8:45 pm

When friends back home ask about the lower income tax in Singapore, I tell them everything I save in taxes I pay in rent or I pay out of pocket for services such as healthcare and schooling...

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Post by PNGMK » Tue, 28 Oct 2014 8:06 am

Thank God my kids are SC, otherwise I too would be leaving (and I'm not a mid level PMT but more upper level).

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Post by Wd40 » Tue, 28 Oct 2014 8:27 am

PNGMK wrote:Thank God my kids are Singapore Citizenship, otherwise I too would be leaving (and I'm not a mid level PMT but more upper level).
Now I understand why Indian IT companies like TCS and Wipro pay school fees as part of the package, if you enrol them in Indian intl. Schools. The salary is lower like 6.5k instead of 8k but still makes sense.

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