JOHOR BARU: Thousands of parents whose children are schooling in Singapore will have to fork out more, not just because of the weakening ringgit, but also due to the increase in school fees beginning next year.
Many of them are now scouting for local private or international schools as the school fees and transportation cost have now come up to almost RM2,000 per child per month.
More than 10,000 children from Johor brave predawn and afternoon traffic jams at the Causeway to attend school in Singapore.
They are picked up at designated areas around the city by about 4.30am to 5am so that they can make it in time for school which starts at 7.10am.
Housewife V. Meena, 47, whose two children are studying in the island republic, said it would now cost her an additional S$120 (RM360) for both her children.
“One of my sons is in primary and another in secondary school there,” she said, adding that her younger child’s new fees would be S$370 (RM1,110), S$20 (RM60) more while fees for her elder child would be S$550 (RM1,650), an increase of S$100 (RM300).
Meena said she would have to look at other options such as putting them in local private or international schools.
“Whatever I do, I need to think about them as surely they will miss their schoolmates whom they are close to,” she said.
Lawyer L.M. Looi, 46, said he too was looking at other options for his son who is in Primary 5 in Singapore.
“It is not just the increase in school fees next year, but the cost of transportation has also gone up to almost RM900 per month this year,” he said.
Gregory Lui, 47, said that his son would be going to secondary school and the S$100 increase to S$550 per month would be a burden.
“When my son started in Primary One, we were paying about S$125 per month. The fees seem to be always increasing,” he said.
Lui is also considering Malaysian private or international schools in the state.
Another parent who wanted to be known as Mrs Chang, 39, said she would have to bear with the increase as it was too late to take out her 11-year-old son.
“My 13-year-old son, who was initially there, opted to come back to Malaysia as he was unable to cope with the stress of studying there. He is now studying in an international school here,” she said, adding that she pays about RM1,300 per month for his school fees.
Singapore’s Ministry of Education in a statement on Tuesday announced that it would be revising the school fees for students who are Permanent Residents (PRs) and international students (IS) in government and government-aided schools from January 2016.
The increase is part of its periodic review of school fees and to further differentiate fees by citizenship.
Fees will increase by between S$20 (RM60)and S$60 (RM180) per month for PR students and by between S$20 and S$150 (RM450) per month for IS.
School fees for Singapore citizens remain unchanged – it is free at primary level, S$5 (RM15) for secondary level and S$6 (RM18) for pre-university level.