Prior to setting up a tuition agency in Singapore, business owners need to register a company in Singapore and set their business activities as “commercial schools” or “tuition centres” before the company can proceed online to apply for private school licenses.
In the Private Education Act, private education is defined as “Full-time education helping students for any examination that results in a qualification awarded by another person or organisation other than the Private Education Institution (PEI), or admission to an education institution”. Tuition agencies operate in accordance to this law.
Thus, with the effect from 21 December 2009 under the new Private Education Act, organisations – including sole-proprietors; partnerships; companies and registered societies, are legally required to enlist as a private school with the Council for Private Education (CPE), a statutory board under the Ministry of Education (MOE) of Singapore. However, organizations keen to register with the CPE have to comply with the various laws and regulations.
Enhanced Registration Framework in Singapore
Companies who are interested to start a tuition agency have to go through a process called the Enhanced Registration Framework (ERF), which is implemented by the Private Education Act and the Private Education Regulations. Through ERF, the Council for Private Education ensures that all PEIs functioning in Singapore meet the mandatory registration requirements and legislative obligations.
Documentation compulsory for Registration
Document 1: Status as a registered company
A tuition agency must be formed as a company registering with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Also, in order to be registered, it must conform to certain necessities with respect to corporate governance. In order to prove this, entrepreneurs who start up the tuition agency can present his BizFile to CPE.
Regarding naming of the tuition agency, the name of it and the department must denote a place of learning. The name of the agency should be comprised of words like “school” or “academy”.
Also, to avoid any misinterpretation of the tuition agency to be same or associated with other existing agencies, the CPE will not agree to agencies using a name similar to each other. It should also not contain words such as “Singapore” and “National”, as it is highly possible to lead potential customers to think that the agency is related with the Singapore Government.
Document 2: Details of managers
The managers of the tuition agency are the directors of the company. A Manager’s Declaration Form accompanied with the personal particulars should submitted to allow the CPE to conduct checks if the manager is fit and proper to perform his/her roles.
Document 3: Floor plan of premises & Approvals on the suitability of premises
Firstly, at least one fully enclosed classroom and a dedicated area for office or administrative activities is required for the tuition agency to be approved by CPE.
Secondly, the premises of the tuition agency must be judged as appropriate for providing legitimate and hazard-free private education by government-controlled land planning and fire safety authorities. Its properties and equipment must obtain Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) or the Housing Development Board’s (HDB) approval to be used as a commercial school; and the fire safety clearance from the Fire safety and Shelter Department (FFSD) of Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
Document 4: Details of the members of tuition agencies’ Academic Boards
Every tuition agency has to set up an Academic Board. The agency must follow the academic policies and procedures developed by the Academic Board. The Academic Board is generally liable for the academic quality of the agency.
The Academic Board of the tuition agency must contain of at least 3 members. These members must not be bankrupts; sentenced in any court of law in Singapore for an offence under the Act; guilty of any offence involving fraudulence or corruption; or be managers of any unregistered or registration-rejected PEI.
Document 5: Details of the Courses and Teacher to be employed
- Photocopy of every teacher’s NRIC or passport
- Certification of each teacher’s relevant academic qualifications and work experience
- Class timetable
- Attendance sheets
- Teacher deployment chart
- Receipts issued to students
- Sample of Textbook or Assessment Books issued to students
Method 1: Online Business Licensing Service
Registration for PEI can be presented electronically via the Online Business Licensing Service (OBLS) available at https://licences.business.gov.sg. Users have to Log-in to the OBLS system through Singpass or CPF PAL PIN.
Method 2: Smart Forms and Paper Forms
Smart Forms are available for download at the CPE’s website. It is submitted as ‘attachments’ using OBLS when completed. PEIs will be asked to fill in hardcopy forms in situations where signatures of the managers are mandatory.
For more information, please refer to https://www.cpe.gov.sg/for-peis/enhanced-registration-framework-erf/enhanced-registration-framework-erf