In a written response to the Workers’ Party MP Yee Jenn Jong, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said that the annual number of scholarships awarded to international students at the undergraduate level has come down in recent years.

“The scholarships include school fees, and typically include accommodation and some allowances,” he said, adding that the annual cost per scholarship averages about S$25,000.

About 900 to 1000 such scholarships have been given out annually since 2012. This amounts to an annual $22.5 ~ 25 million per year, which is more than the annual $11 million school-based financial assistance schemes given to Singaporeans.

While some netizens praised the decrease as a good refocusing on Singaporeans, other astute netizens pointed out that the decrease would have to be consistent and significant. For instance, the number of foreign scholarships given out before 2012 remains unknown as MOE has not released such data before.

“I think if the Ministry wishes to be sincere, it needs to increase the scholarships given to local students at the expense of foreign scholarships,” said a netizen. “Show us that you’re truly interested in grooming local talent rather than relying on cheap foreigners to boost our numbers all the time.”

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