You may approach us for advice should you encounter problems with your private school and the school is unable to resolve the issue. We will investigate into issues that may have contravened the Private Education (PE) Act and/or its Regulations and take action where appropriate.
For issues that do not contravene the PE Act and/or its Regulations such as school administrative matters and service quality issues, please contact the school. If you are not satisfied with the outcome from the school, you may seek redress via:
- our CPE Mediation-Arbitration Scheme; or
- the Small Claims Tribunals (SCT), for clear-cut fee refund issues of equivalent or less than S$20,000#; or
- your own legal counsel.
#For amounts that exceed SGD$20,000 but is below SGD$30,000, the claim can still proceed with SCT if both parties consent to it in writing.
CPE Mediation-Arbitration Scheme
The CPE Mediation-Arbitration Scheme was set up to help students who encounter contractual disputes with their private school seek redress. The two-stage Scheme is jointly drawn up with the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) and the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (SIArb). A private school's participation in the dispute resolution process is compulsory as stipulated by the PE Act. For the case to be eligible:
- It must be relevant to private education and arise after the Dispute Resolution Schemes Regulations came into operation on 10 May 2010;
- It must not be criminal in nature; and
- It must not have received a judicial decision in the courts.
You may refer to the Terms of Reference for our CPE Dispute Resolution Scheme.
Stage 1: Mediation
SMC is the appointed provider for mediation services.
After you have exhausted the feedback/complaint channel with the school and file your complaint with us, we will refer your case to the SMC for mediation¹. SMC, together with the private school and yourself, will select a mediation date and time, before appointing a mediator. If mediation is successful, a settlement agreement will be drawn up by SMC and endorsed by the respective parties.
If mediation is unsuccessful, you may opt to progress to Stage 2, which is arbitration, for a resolution.
Stage 2: Arbitration
SIArb is the appointed provider for arbitration services.
- a) You will be required to submit specified forms to SIArb, before SIArb appoints an arbitrator.
- b) The private school will submit a defence and counterclaim (if any) to SIArb.
- c) You will then submit a reply and defence to counterclaim (if any) to SIArb.
The arbitration will be conducted via document submissions only. A hearing will be conducted only if a party specifically requests for a hearing and the appointed arbitrator determines that a physical hearing is necessary. For a documents-only arbitration, the arbitrator will publish a written award within 60 days from the commencement of the arbitration. If a hearing is held, the written award will be published within 90 days from the commencement of the arbitration.
You may refer to the CPE Mediation-Arbitration Scheme brochure for more details on this Scheme.
The attached dispute resolution chart illustrates the different options and steps to resolve student-private school disputes.