In order to be registered, a PEI must meet the CPE’s requirements in the following areas:
A PEI must be either a company registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), or a society registered with the Registry of Societies (ROS) in order to be registered.
Name of PEI, its brand name and the names of its schools or departments/faculties
The name of a PEI, and its school or department/faculty, must denote a place of learning. For example, it should contain words like “school”, “academy”, “learning centre” or “institution”.
If the PEI is a company, its name must be the same as its registered name under the Companies Act (Cap. 50), and if it is a registered society, its name must be the name as its registered name under the Societies Act (Cap. 311).
The name of the school (or its department/faculty) must contain the name of the PEI, unless otherwise permitted by the CPE. For example, a PEI by the name of “ABC Institution” may call its departments “ABC Institution – School of Business” and “ABC Institution – School of Psychology”. This is to enable prospective students to easily identify the PEI and avoid misrepresentation or confusion caused by similar department names.
Each PEI may have one “brand” name which is closely related to its name. The brand name may be the abbreviation of its name, or contain the key word(s) in its name, and indicates the type of education it provides. The CPE will review each application to seek permission for the use of a “brand name” on a case-by-case basis.
Restrictions on Names
Without the approval of the Minister of Education, no PEI will be allowed to use the term “university” or any derivative of this term, in its name.
The CPE will also not allow a PEI to use a name which:
The PEI may be directed to change its name, or the translated version of its name, if it is subsequently found that the name, or the translated name of the PEI, or its “brand name”, or that of its school (or department/faculty), is misleading or false.
The premises of a PEI may comprise any building, enclosure, ground, open-air space or other place used by the PEI in connection with the provision of private education. A PEI will not be allowed to operate unless the CPE is convinced that its premises are appropriate for the conduct of lessons, and are conducive for students.
Usage and Safety Requirements
The premises of a PEI must be deemed suitable for the delivery of private education by the relevant land planning and fire safety authorities. It must have the approval of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to be used as a commercial school, and fire safety clearance from the Fire Safety and Shelter Department (FSSD) of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
Where applicable, the PEI should obtain proper clearance for its facilities from the relevant regulatory authorities, such as the National Environment Agency (NEA) for science laboratories and canteen. The onus is on PEIs to ensure that they have properly declared any structural changes made to their premises, and where necessary, filed the appropriate applications.
Sharing of Premises
The premises of a PEI must contain at least one fully- enclosed classroom and a dedicated area for administrative activities.
The PEI must declare to the CPE if it is sharing premises with another business entity, whether or not the other entity is providing private education. If there is only one classroom at its premises, a registered PEI is allowed to share its premises with one other PEI or school (registered under the Education Act). If there is more than one classroom at its premises, a registered PEI may share its premises with, at most, two other PEIs and/or schools (registered under the Education Act).
Unless otherwise permitted by the CPE, a PEI should not share its premises with another business entity that is unrelated to the provision of private education.
Provision of Facilities
Except for auditoriums, the maximum number of students allowed in a classroom is calculated using the following formula:
[Floor area of the classroom in square metres ÷ 1.5 square metres]
The CPE may impose terms and conditions in respect of facilities at the point of registration of the PEI or when it seeks the CPE's permission to offer a new course which is equipment-intensive, or which require special facilities or equipment to be set up.
Where the PEI is a registered company, the managers are the directors of the company. If it is a registered society, then the managers are the members of its management committee or Board of Governors.
Every manager must complete a Manager’s Declaration form and submit the completed original hardcopy form to the CPE. The manager(s) must also declare in the declaration form if he has substantial shareholding in a company and/or business. A substantial share holding means he owns more than 5% shares in the company and/or business and/or businesses which are classified as ‘live’ by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). The manager(s) only need(s) to declare companies and/or business in Singapore.
Duties of Managers
The managers of a PEI must ensure that the following records are properly kept for at least five years:
Closure of a PEI
In the event of the cessation of operations of a PEI, its managers must ensure that all enrolled students are informed of the impending closure, and the necessary arrangements made for them to complete the same course or a similar course in another registered PEI, at least 30 days before the actual closure.
Every registered PEI is required to provide an annual report of its activities and affairs to the CPE. This annual report must be submitted by the managers of the PEI to the CPE by 31 December every year.
The CPE may ask the registered PEI to submit any of the stipulated records to be kept by the managers in addition to the following items:
Unless otherwise permitted by the CPE, a PEI has to set up an Academic Board, and implement and adhere to the policies and procedures developed, as well as deploy the teachers approved by the Board.
Composition of the Academic Board
The Academic Board of a PEI must include at least three members. These members:
|-||Ensuring that the content and duration of the modules or subjects, as well as the entry and graduation requirements of the course are appropriate; and|
|-||Approving the deployment of teachers based on the requirements stipulated by the CPE|
- Facilitating the PEI to implement and comply with the policies and procedures developed; and
- Reviewing, at least once a year, the academic policies and procedures.
Unless otherwise permitted by the CPE, a PEI is to set up an Examination Board to develop and implement the processes governing the conduct of examinations or assessments of its self-developed courses.
If it offers courses which are externally-developed, the PEI should conduct the examinations or assessments according to the procedures specified by the external course developer or proprietor.
Composition of the Examination Board
The Examination Board of a PEI must include at least three members. These members:
Duties of the Examination Board
The Examination Board will be in charge of the development of examination and assessment procedures, such as developing and facilitating the implementation of procedures to:
In order to be registered, a PEI must at least have one course which is permitted by the CPE. Depending on the nature and content of the course, the Council may impose terms and conditions which the PEI must adhere to in order to be granted permission to offer the course.
A PEI need not seek the CPE’s permission to offer any course which is no longer than one month or 50 hours in duration, unless the course leads to the award of a diploma or degree.
Permission to Offer Courses
The PEI must ensure that its courses do not contain any material or content which is obscene and contrary to the interest of its students. The PEI must also ensure that it has suitable teachers deployed to teach the modules or subjects of the courses.
The PEI must further ensure that the entry requirement is appropriate for the language medium and the level of the course. For example, students should at least have an English competency of IELTS 4.5 or pass in English language at GCE ‘N’ level or its equivalent for a Certificate course conducted in English, and at least IELTS 5.5 or a pass in GCE ‘O’ level English or its equivalent for enrolment into a diploma course.
No PEI may offer or provide a course, whether in Singapore or elsewhere, and whether by itself or in association or collaboration with another person or education institution, without first obtaining permission to do so from the CPE.
The courses permitted by the CPE shall only be provided or delivered in Singapore. Any PEI wishing to offer those courses overseas must first inform the CPE of its intention in writing using the form Information on Overseas Course Offering and obtain the Council's approval to do so. PEIs have the responsibility to ensure that proper processes are put in place to ensure the quality of CPE-permitted courses offered overseas. PEI needs to provide supportive documents such as approval from the Ministry of Education or relevant authority of the foreign country to confirm that the foreign entity is registered and approved by them to offer the course; agreements between PEI and the foreign entity must also be provided to support their relationship. A copy of the sample certificate to be awarded in the foreign country should also be submitted. The Council of Private Education may request for other documents if it deems necessary.
A PEI is only allowed to develop, deliver, and award a certificate in its own name for a certificate or diploma (including advanced and postgraduate) level course. Unless permission is given by the Minister of Education in writing, no PEI is allowed to confer associate degrees, and any undergraduate or graduate degrees in its own name. A PEI may, however, offer external degree programmes (EDPs) through its collaboration or contract with foreign education institutions, subject to these institutions meeting the external degree programme criteria set by the CPE.
A PEI who offers an external developed certificate or diploma (including advanced and postgraduate) level course, must ensure that there is at least one batch of graduates from these courses at the home countries of the course developer.
Types, Levels, and Names of Courses
The name of any course, and its modules or subjects, should be relevant to the course content and level. It should also begin with a term that would give clear indication of the type and level of the course:
Courses at Certificate and Diploma Levels
A PEI must provide the following information when seeking the CPE’s permission to offer or provide courses:
External Degree Programmes (EDPs)
In addition to the general information to be provided when seeking the CPE’s permission to offer courses, a PEI wishing to offer an external degree programmes must make available the following additional information:
The degree scroll and transcript should only show the name and logo of the degree-conferring foreign education institution. The PEI’s name and logo should not be featured on any degree scroll or transcript without the written permission of the Minister of Education.
Changes to Permitted Courses
Under Section 43 of the Private Education Act, a registered private education institution (PEI) is required to obtain the Council for Private Education’s (CPE) permission prior to offering or providing a course*.
Where there are subsequent changes or modifications to a course which had been previously permitted, PEIs must also notify the CPE of these changes. For significant changes to an existing course, PEIs are required to submit these changes through the ‘Update on New Course(s)’ application on the Online Business and Licensing System (OBLS).
Examples of significant changes could include, but is not limited to, changes to the course content or syllabus such as the addition of a new module(s). PEIs may contact their respective inspector or email cpe_contact should they be unsure of how to go about informing CPE of the changes to their existing courses.
* The only exception is where the course does not lead to the award of a diploma or degree and the duration of the course is less than one month or fifty hours.
Requirements of a Teacher
A PEI must ensure that a teacher deployed has not been convicted of any offence involving sexual, child, physical or drug abuse, or fraud and dishonesty. A teacher must also not have been convicted of any offence under the Private Education Act within a period of five years preceding the deployment.
The teacher must possess at least the following minimum qualifications and experience:
Where the course, module or subject is of a vocational nature, the person has at least 5 years of working experience in the field to which the course, module or subject relates to.
A registered PEI must ensure that the qualifications of the teachers are conferred by education institutions which are recognised by the relevant authority in the country or territory in which they are established, and that the qualifications have not been conferred as honorary degrees.
A registered PEI must adhere to the requirements specified by the CPE when administering any course offered or provided. In addition to the conditions specified in the Private Education Regulations, when the situation warrants it, the CPE may impose Terms and Conditions under section 43 of the Private Education Act, when granting permission for the PEI to offer or provide any course.
Association with Other Institutions or Persons
A registered PEI must inform the CPE within 14 days, if it has established any association, collaboration or affiliation with any other institutions or persons, either local or foreign, in respect of any of its courses. Such association, collaboration or affiliation could include the establishment of articulation pathways, the accreditation or validation of courses developed by the private education institution, and joint course development.
If the association results in major changes to the course contents, or the award- conferring body of the course, or any other changes such that the information about the course in the CPE’s registers is no longer valid, the Council may require the PEI to re-seek permission to offer the course.
Issuance of Certificates
No PEI is allowed to jointly confer or award any associate degree, or any undergraduate or graduate qualifications. For example, if an external degree programme (EDP) is validated by a foreign university which meets the CPE’s criteria to offer EDPS in Singapore, the degree scroll is required to be the same as that conferred to students studying at the university’s home campus, and must not contain the PEI’s name or logo.
The PEI may, however, jointly issue certificates and diplomas with an external course developer if the PEI has proper permission from the external course developer to do so. At the same time, the PEI must ensure that the external course developer is authentic and has proper authorisation from its home government to offer its programmes overseas.
With the exception of imposing charges for late payment of course fees, a PEI is not allowed to collect a deposit or penalty from any student for any purpose, regardless of whether such deposit or penalty is refundable or not.
A registered PEI must maintain the following fee collection schedule for courses longer than two months in duration:
A registered PEI must ensure that it does not enrol any student for any course that has commenced unless it has the student’s acknowledgement and agreement in writing to join the class which has already started.
Prior to enrolling any student, the PEI must ensure that the student, or his parent/legal guardian, has acknowledged in writing that he, or his parent/legal guardian, has read the Advisory Note to Students (Form 12), as stipulated by the CPE.
A registered PEI must enter into an agreement or contract with any student who enrolls in a course which is more than two months in duration. The PEI must ensure that the agreement or contract does not:
For each course longer than two months, a registered PEI must ensure that the PEI-Student agreement or contract specifies the following items clearly:
Advertisements and Information Disclosure
To enable prospective students to make informed choices, the CPE has established advertisement guidelines and stipulated the type of information that must be disclosed by PEIs. Registered PEIS also have to ensure that any information changes are to be updated within 14 days of the new development.
Advertisements put up by the PEIs may include any notice, circular, pamphlet, brochure, prospectus, programme or other document, and any announcement, notification or intimation made available to the public orally or in writing, by means of posters, placards, notices or other documents affixed, posted or displayed on any wall, billboard or hoarding, or on any other object or thing, or via sound broadcast, television, the Internet or other media.
Reference to the Council
In all its advertisements, a registered PEI is only allowed to use the term “registered” to describe its status granted by the CPE under section 36 of the Private Education Act.
The registered PEI is not allowed to use words like “approved”, “accredited”, “endorsed”, “supported”, “validated”, or any other words with similar meaning. It is also not allowed to feature the CPE’s logo in its advertisements unless permitted by the Council.
Information about the PEI
A registered PEI must ensure that it includes, in all its advertisements, its name, its registration number, and the period of its registration in the following vertical sequence:
The PEI is also required to provide accurate information about itself and its courses to its current and prospective students at all times, including, but not limited to, the following:
There is no requirement for PEIs to disclose the academic qualifications of the managers and members of the Academic and Examination Boards. However, should the PEI wish to do so, it can do so especially if such qualifications are honorary.
Information on Courses
For each course offered, the PEI must ensure that the following information is made known to current and prospective students at all times:
All advertisements relating to any course must contain the following information:
When advertising a course offered by a foreign education institution, a PEI must ensure that it does not give a misleading impression that the foreign education institution is based in Singapore, or that the foreign education institution is offering the course in Singapore directly.
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