The Ministry of Education (MOE) will increase transport and meal subsidies for eligible primary and secondary school students under the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) starting from Jan. 1, 2023.
Bursaries for eligible pre-university students will also be increased.
The increase in financial assistance comes amidst rising cost pressures, according to MOE.
A summary of the FAS enhancements is as follows:
Monthly public transport and school meal subsidies are applicable to students studying in MOE-funded Special Education Schools and those receiving 100 per cent school fee subsidy under the MOE Independent School Bursary.
Pre-university bursary enhancement is applicable to students receiving 100 per cent school fee subsidy under the MOE Independent School Bursary.
An estimated 44,000 students will benefit from the enhancements, MOE wrote.
Cap on school bus fares to go up
In addition to the enhanced provision for students, MOE will also be increasing the cap on school bus fares by 7 per cent.
School fares are set by 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", MOE wrote in its press release.
By raising the cap, bus operators will have more flexibility to raise their fares if needed.
This will help them keep their operations sustainable while they continue to provide transport services for students, MOE said.
Bus operators will have to inform parents and guardians of any revisions by September 2022. This is to allow them to take any price changes into consideration when planning next year's transport arrangements.
MOE said it will monitor developments and work closely with schools and operators to ensure school bus fares are kept affordable.
Top image via MOE