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Starting in Singapore: Go to school or pay a fine of $5000 PDF Print E-mail
Go to school or pay a fine of $5000

On Tuesday, 9 October, the Singapore Parliament passed the Compulsory Education Bill which states that all children of Singaporeans living in Singapore born from Jan 1, 1996, must undergo at least six years of education.

If parents fail to register children (affected by this bill) in Primary 1 from January 2003 even after counseling and mediation held by the Ministry of Education, they can be liable to a fine of up to $5000 or face a jail sentence.

Of course we are assured that these penalties will only serve as a last resort. Children with disabilities or those attending religious schools are exempted from this bill. Approval from the ministry will be needed to home-school your children.

After reading the report from The Straits Times, my question is, will compulsory education be free? The was no mention of this in the report.

I am sure that there are families who do not have the ability to see to the fees that will be incurred for sending all their children to school.

Besides, do we really want to let the another party to decide if we or our children would like to attend school?

Well, for all we know, there ARE people who do not feel a need to send their children to school.

My experience, I knew this canteen vendor who has her 4 kids (all below 12) running about her food stall all day playing game-boy and fighting with each other. At first I thought, oh well, it's the school holidays and they are all here to be with mummy and to help out in whatever way they can.

But as days and months go by, I realized that these kids are here all day, everyday. So I decided to talk their mummy and find out.

She told me that they don't like schooling all that much and also since she don't think that school is going to be much help to her and her kids, she let them stop attending classes.

She seems to feel strongly that these kids are bright, witty and such fast-learners that what they need to go through life would come easily to them. "Mummy has been to school, so mummy knows."

Well, I thought hard about it and I can't fault her when I try to see it from her point of view....

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