On 30th March 2022, EduValue’s Industry Research Team wrote an Article titled ERF, ATO, EduTrust Compliance Breaches and Solutions(1) which discussed the various compliance breaches that happened in Singapore’s Private Education Industry and also proposed a few solutions to address this. This included building competency in Quality Assurance and Trainings for Private Education Institutes (“PEIs”) and the use of technology and digitization to reduce errors in areas of regulatory breaches.
Since then, the Committee of Private Education (“CPE”), appointed by Skills Future Singapore (“SSG”) to regulate PEIs under the Private Education Act, continued to see compliance breaches. Most recently, on 13 April 2022, CPE released an advisory(2), through their website – TP Gateway, bringing PEI’s attention with regards to compliance of clauses relating to Student Contracts that are found under the Private Education Regulations.
With many changes in regulations over the years, including major ones such as changes in entry requirements in Year 2016 and changes to the Academic and Examination Board members requirements in Year 2021, will PEIs be able to keep up with the many changes and continue to retain such knowledge throughout the years?
EduValue’s Research Team has long been analyzing the various reasons of continued non-compliance, even in situations whereby a lot of negative light has been shared in public with regards to these compliance breaches. Why then are PEIs not adhering to regulations and are there more in-depth solutions that can be developed to strengthen the Quality Assurance and Compliance Systems for the PEI Sector? Upon deeper understanding and going through a rigorous thought process, the EduValue Team proposes more in-depth solutions that could finally provide a breakthrough to the many issues that the industry has faced. The following are some ideas and solutions that have been discussed in consultation with various PEI Sector stakeholders which could hopefully provide relief to PEIs in meeting compliance.
- Similar to Singapore’s ACRA and IRAS Audit requirements, where there is a need for audit firms to conduct independent audits and registered corporate secretaries doing corporate registration tasks, should this also be a requirement for PEIs rather than the current model of relying on in-house employees that might not be independent nor have updated competencies that so far has proved to be ineffective given the numerous compliance breaches that the PEI Sector has seen in the last few years.
- Should there also be minimum requirements and / or qualifications for the person taking up the role and is there a need for professional qualification or certification, such as the case for Company Secretaries and Auditors that are appointed by public companies?
- Over the years, Singapore has seen tremendous growth in the outsourcing of professional functions like Human Resource and Finance. These sectors have also contributed to the strengthening of both big and small companies. Is there a similar need for compliance and quality assurance outsourcing?
These solutions, while new for the PEI Sector, have already seen much success in many other industries. This also includes Singapore Government Agencies, MNCs and SMEs that have thrived in professional outsourcing functions while continued to be regulated by the different Ministries under ACRA and IRAS. Will introducing these be game changers for the Private Education Industry? Only time would tell.
1 EduValue (2022). ERF, ATO, EduTrust Compliance Breaches and Solutions
2 TP Gateway. Industry Advisory to PEIs (13 April 2022)
Written By Barry Awyong, Industry Research Team