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Red Dot United’s Malay Bureau proposes Race-Blind EduFund Tuition Scheme (SETS) for underprivileged students

The Malay Bureau of Red Dot United (RDU) presents the Supporting EduFund Tuition Scheme (SETS) for underprivileged students in Singapore, prioritizing economic need over race-based assistance.

This initiative aims to bridge educational gaps, focusing on smaller class sizes and personalized learning experiences. Dr. Syed Alwi, the key researcher, emphasizes its significance in addressing educational inequalities.



SINGAPORE: The Malay Bureau of Red Dot United (RDU) has proposed a groundbreaking policy proposal, named the Supporting EduFund Tuition Scheme (SETS), with a primary focus on addressing the educational needs of underprivileged children in Singapore.

This initiative distinguishes itself by adopting a race-blind approach, diverging from the conventional government-supported programs that allocate assistance based on race-based self-help groups.

The comprehensive proposal (accessible online) provides a detailed overview of the SETS initiative and its distinctive features.

The proposal specifies that their tuition program will concentrate exclusively on students in Primary 5 and 6.

This choice is part of their strategic approach aimed at preparing students for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

“We shall begin with an assumed total of 5000 needy students of all races, within the Primary 5 and 6 cohorts in a given academic year,” it stated.

SETS: A new approach to education equity in Singapore

In a departure from Singapore’s existing race-based assistance programs for disadvantaged students, SETS concentrates solely on economic need, disregarding the racial background of the pupils.

This proposal coincides with ongoing public discussions concerning disparities in Singapore’s education system.

Mr Feroz Mohamed, the Head of RDU’s Malay Bureau, emphasized, “While ethnic self-help groups have made efforts to provide free or low-cost tuition to disadvantaged students, their impact is limited due to their race-based approach, hindering interaction and learning between students of different races and leading to larger class sizes.”

SETS aspires to level the playing field for eligible students, offering equitable access to high-quality tuition services irrespective of their racial backgrounds.

By doing so, SETS aims to foster inclusivity and bridge educational gaps without perpetuating racial divisions.

A notable distinction between SETS and existing tuition programs offered by self-help groups like MENDAKI, SINDA, and CDAC is the class size.

Traditional programs often accommodate larger class sizes to reach a greater number of students, whereas SETS advocates for smaller class sizes, limiting them to just four students per class.

This reduced student-to-tutor ratio enables a more personalized and focused learning experience, allowing tutors to tailor their teaching methods to individual student needs.

This emphasis on smaller classes underscores SETS’ commitment to providing quality education and individualized attention to underprivileged students, potentially enhancing their academic outcomes.

Dr Syed Alwi, the key researcher behind the Malay Bureau’s proposal, remarked, “SETS is a groundbreaking, race-blind initiative designed to offer equal opportunities to all eligible students in need.”

“It represents a significant stride in addressing educational inequalities from a race-blind perspective,” he added.

In a time when inclusivity and equal access to education are paramount, the SETS initiative by the Malay Bureau of RDU aligns with the core values enshrined in Singapore’s pledge, emphasizing, “…REGARDLESS OF RACE, LANGUAGE OR RELIGION…”

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