The Government will provide more support to defray the education costs of lower-income households, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said.
Some aid will also be extended to the middle-income group, he added in his Budget speech in Parliament.
He said lower-income families with children attending pre-school will receive help with school fees through the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme.
More households in the lowest quartile – those families earning up to S$3,000 (RM7,808) a month – will now pay S$3 (RM7.80) a month in kindergarten fees, down from as much as S$75 (RM195.20).
A lower-middle income household earning S$4,800 (RM12,499) a month will now pay S$85 (RM221) a month, compared with about S$130 (RM338) previously.
The Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme will also be made available to pupils in all anchor operators and Ministry of Education kindergartens. For families with older children, help is also on the way in the form of enhanced bursaries for students attending institutes of higher learning.
More students will be able to qualify for bursaries, with the per capita monthly household income threshold being raised from S$1,700 (RM4,424) to S$1,900 (RM4,947). This will cover students from two-thirds of all Singaporean households, Tharman said.
University undergraduates from the lowest one-third of households will also see their bursaries rise to S$3,600 (RM9,374) a year. Middle-income students will enjoy higher bursaries of S$2,600 (RM6,770) a year.
Tharman also said that polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students from middle-income households will get more support. ITE bursaries for lower-income students will be higher than their fees, helping them defray living expenses, he said.
These changes will together cost up to S$147mil (RM382mil) more each year. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network