About 44,000 needy students to benefit from increase in transport, meal subsidies and bursaries: MOE
About 44,000 students will benefit when transport and meal subsidies for needy children in primary and secondary schools and bursaries for pre-university students are increased from January 2023.
The subsidies fall under the Ministry for Education (MOE) Financial Assistance Scheme, which helps to cover the cost of basic schooling expenses like meal and transport subsidies.
In a statement on Wednesday (Aug 24), MOE said one of the enhancements will look at increasing current subsidies from $2 per school meal for seven meals for primary school to $2.60.
Secondary school meal subsidies will increase from $2.90 per school meal for 10 meals to $3.50.
MOE will also increase the school bus subsidy for primary school pupils from 60 per cent to 65 per cent monthly.
Starting next year, the cap for school bus fares under existing contracts between schools and bus operators will be up by 7 per cent.
MOE said it will be supporting schools in granting a one-time increase to the pricing cap for school bus fares.
This, it added, will allow operators to exercise flexibility to raise their fares up to the revised cap, if necessary, and to continue providing transport services to students while keeping their operations sustainable.
MOE said: "School bus fares are set by the bus operators through a competitive bidding process with the respective schools, with a pricing cap that is fixed for a number of years.
"The rise in fuel and manpower costs in recent months has made it more challenging for school bus operators to sustain their operations at pricing caps that had been fixed before the recent rise in fuel prices."
Bus operators will inform parents and guardians of any revisions to fares from September 2022, so that parents and guardians can plan for transport arrangements in the new school year
MOE said it will continue to monitor developments and work closely with school bus operators to ensure that fares are kept affordable for students.