Education Minister Heng Swee Keat avoids answering simple question in Parliament on FT students defaulting their state-sponsored scholarships

TR Emeritus, 25 Feb 2014
At a parliamentary sitting last Friday (21 Feb), Workers’ Party (WP) MP for Hougang Png Eng Huat posed a question to Education Minister Heng Swee Keat with regard to foreign students who defaulted on tuition grants.
Foreign students who receive tuition grants are required to work in a Singapore-based company for 3 years upon graduation as part of their agreement with the Singapore government.
Mr Png asked:
From 2010 to 2013,
(a) What is the total amount of tuition grants given to international students in the polytechnics and publicly-funded universities who defaulted on their agreement to work in a Singapore-based company for three years upon graduation; and
(b) what actions are taken to recover the tuition grants.
Mr Heng replied that most of the foreign students who graduated between 2010 and 2013 complied with the agreement they signed.
Mr Heng said:
About 8 in 10 international students who received tuition grants in our polytechnics and autonomous universities had either started serving their tuition grant bonds promptly upon graduation and contribute immediately to Singapore’s economy, or have been granted approval by MOE to defer their service obligation to pursue further studies.
This does not mean that the remaining international students are in default. Some did not start work immediately upon graduation as they have gone overseas for further study but did not seek deferment approval from MOE, some are in the midst of seeking deferment approval, and some are still seeking employment.
These were the exact words of Mr Heng replying to Mr Png.
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