Shortly after the Singapore government announced that Government-aided schools would require non-citizens to pay higher school fees in an attempt to “further differentiate fees by citizenship”, some self-entitled foreigners have reportedly been up in arms.

A number of foreigners, whose children are in government schools, decried the move as an attempt to “please citizens” and “push the foreigners away”.

Denmark national Mrs Kristine Oustrup Laureijs said she thinks that the fee hikes are a “political move to please citizens”, which is meant to dispel the widespread unhappiness that Singaporeans have towards foreigners who have been taking up resources meant for locals. The 44-year-old Danish, whose daughters are studying in St Margaret’s Primary School and Stamford Primary School, said she put her daughters in local schools as she wanted to integrate her children into the local environment, and because international schools were too costly.

“Citizens are being taken care of, but for us, we have to pay our own way … It sends a very strong signal at what kind of foreigners the government wants.”

34 year-old Vietnamese national Mrs Anh Van Chi, who is a sales manager, said she was “disappointed” at the move.

“They are trying to differentiate between (foreigners) and the locals … It’s a subtle way of the government (trying) to push the foreigners away,” she said. Mrs Anh has a son in Primary 1 at Queenstown Primary School, and has lived in Singapore for more than 10 years.

Others, like 39 year-old Mongolian national Nancy Khaliunaa, who works in the printing industry, have sent their children home. Mrs Khaliunaa sent her 19-year-old daughter back to Mongolia after she graduated from Yishun Town Secondary School because the fees for junior colleges were too expensive.

“My son has been in Singapore since he was three months old, and he’s almost like a Singaporean already … We’ll have to pay S$550 (a month) for his school fees in the future, and it will be very tough on us. But we can’t complain, we’re not citizens (after all).”

Others however, have taken the fee hikes in their stride. Ausralian veterinarian Bronwyn Sharman said she was “not too upset” by the hikes. After having lived in Singapore for over seven years, she has a son enrolled at Stamford Primary, said: “We’ll find ways to shell out that extra S$50, so it shouldn’t hurt too much. As long as I get a good quality of education for the price I’m paying, I feel that it’s all right … as long as the prices don’t keep increasing in the future.”

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