Thursday, January 27, 2011
Check out the school's credentials
Private school students here were suddenly cut short when it folded advised to make checks to ensure their school is properly accredited.
IF YOU have decided to pursue higher education after O levels, you need to find the right school.
You don't want to enrol in a private education institution (PEI) and later learn the qualifications it offers will not be recognised by employers here.
Worse, the school may fold, leaving you in the lurch.
Mr Giri Subramaniam, senior education counsellor at education consultants IDP Education Pty Ltd, said: "As there are two types of qualifications, academic and professional, it is important for students to check how their qualifications are considered for professional courses.
"At IDP, the counsellors will advise you accordingly. Students should never work on assumption and always seek professional advice to ensure that their qualifications are recognised in Singapore."
Some basic steps to check on a private school's credentials include checking if the school's telephone number is still in service, examining the school's website for inaccuracies and talking to former alumni.
Dr Sally Yong, director of the academic division of SMa Institute of Higher Learning, said prospective students should first check whether the school or institute is registered with the Council for Private Education (CPE).
She said students can check the CPE website at www.cpe.gov.sg to find out the list of accredited schools, especially those that have been awarded EduTrust certification.
Private schools registering with the CPE must meet higher standards in a number of areas, including certification of courses and teachers' qualifications. If they fail to meet these standards by June, they will be ordered to close.
Dr Yong said: "The EduTrust certification is important as only such institutions can offer placement for international students who require a student's pass from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority."
The requirements for EduTrust certification include having independent academic and examination boards, transparency over the schools' finances, clear rules about teacher recruitment and links to other educational institutions.
Dr Yong said foreign students who wish to study at SMa Institute, one of the CPE-approved and EduTrust-certified PEIs, can get help from their appointed agents in their home countries.
"A list of our approved recruitment agents is listed on our website. These agents have undergone training with us and would be able to advise students on our courses and provide information on studying in Singapore.
"We also have a dedicated Student Care Unit to provide assistance and organise activities for international students," Dr Yong said.
Once you have found an accredited private school, it is then up to you to make the best of the opportunities given to you, like how Mr Asaph Ho Lian Yi, 18, did. He scored 30 points for his five best subjects in his 2008 O level examinations.
He enrolled in a Diploma in Tourism Management course at Shatec Institutes and will graduate in late November.
His current grade point average is 3.12 and he plans to further his studies in the University of Nevada Las Vegas (Asia campus) after his National Service.
"I have received a scholarship from Singapore Exhibition Services Pte Ltd where I will be doing my coming internship. They will be paying most of my school fees.
"So I really want to thank the lecturers and staff who supported me and believed in me in Shatec Institutes," he said.
Arul John | The New Paper | Mon Jan 10 2011