Singapore school closure hits Indians
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Singapore school closure hits Indians

A private school failing to meet new Govt standards is closing down, forcing nearly 900 students from South Asia to switch to other institutions.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2005 13:11 IST

A private school in Singapore that failed to meet new government standards is closing down, forcing nearly 900 students from Southeast Asia, India and China to switch to other institutions.

The six-year-old AIT Academy confirmed on Friday that it was closing down as it was no longer "viable".

The facility offered certificates to masters-level courses in subjects including business, hospitality management, early childhood education and electronic engineering.

Under the new rules, private schools with foreign students in Singapore have to join the Student Protection Scheme. It requires them to deposit student fees into a separate bank account that releases the money in instalments until the pupil completes his or her studies.

An alternative is buying insurance policies in the name of the students, ensuring that they are refunded the tuition balance if the school folds.

Numerous complaints over refunds of tuition fees and academic standards prompted the introduction of the scheme.

The scheme had noble objectives but affected the school's business cash flow, AIT's owner, Chew Choon How, told The Straits Times.

"It is not viable for us any more," Chew was quoted as saying, "but we have made arrangements to ensure that our students are not stranded."

Fees at AIT ranged from 10,000 Singapore dollars ($6,060) for a diploma course to double that amount for a degree.

A total of 209 schools have applied for the scheme. Only 140 have received the quality mark assuring that students' fees are protected if the schools go under or do not deliver the courses they promised.

For some students, the transfer to another school means a longer stay in Singapore, possibly up to six months because the curriculum is different, and costs of a few thousand more dollars.

The Consumers Association of Singapore told the newspaper that assessments of another 69 private schools should be finished in four months.

Executive director Seah Seng Choon said a few other schools might also have to close.

First Published: Sep 02, 2005 11:17 IST