Here is a response from NTUC to a letter by a certain Mdm Lui who asked why is it necessary for low income family to produce result slips when they apply for education grants. These grants to low income families amount to $8.3M per year - less than 1% of what the govt collects in COE revenue[COE revenue projected to rise by 50% to $900m]. I brought up COE just to give a sense of proportion of how much help we are talking about relative to what the govt collects. These are grants from NTUC and not the govt (unless you see NTUC as part of the govt) that have often been reported in the newspapers as an important source of help for children of low income families. Not everyone gets it - you have to score a "minimum pass" to get it. How does denying grants to poor students who are academically weak help them? According to the NTUC, the grants also serve as a form of motivation to do well. I thought just being poor in Singapore is painful enough to serve as motivation but NTUC thinks that denying help to the poor can motivate them even more.
Why NTUC requires results slip for education grants [Link]
WE THANK Madam Lui Bee Gek for her feedback ('Education grant denied for want of results slip'; Monday).
The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) would like to clarify that the main objective of the NTUC GB Education Grant is to motivate members' children who are currently schooling to continue to strive for academic excellence.
It is necessary to produce the results slip of the preceding year of studies so as to allow us to ensure that the child scored a minimum pass, that is, 50 per cent.
At the same time, the grant serves to help low-income families cope with the educational expenses of their children.
This year, the NTUC U Care Fund disbursed over $8.3 million to low-income union members and their families through six assistance programmes - U Stretch vouchers, Family Recreation & Fun Carnivals, U Care Scholarship/ Bursary Top-Up scheme, U Care Back to School vouchers, and donations to NTUC Eldercare Trust and NTUC First Campus Bright Horizons Fund.
Out of the $8.3 million from the U Care Fund, over $5 million went towards supporting educational needs of children from low-income families.
We are happy to note from our records that one of Madam Lui's children was a beneficiary of the U Care Back to School vouchers last year. We would also like to invite Madam Lui to apply for the NTUC GB Education Grant for her child next year when her first year's results slip becomes available.
We will continue to monitor our members' needs and enhance our programmes along the way.
National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)