Photo of elderly cleaner from Straits Times

Due to financial hardship, the poor in Singapore signed up for courses by enterprising training providers in order to obtain S$500 in cash. A particular training course which was signed by 4,400 and claimed for S$2.2 million, was busted by the government and the Education Ministry sent letters of demand to claimants to return the S$500.

The Singapore government was enraged and vowed to jail those who do not return the S$500 in 30 days:

“SSG (SkillsFuture Singapore) takes this abuse of the SkillsFuture Credit very seriously and will take the necessary action against these individuals.Under the law, those who give false information to the SSG can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for 12 months, or given both penalties.”

It is revealed that the 4,400 did not attend the course at all but the offending training provider was however not named. Currently, six training providers have been flagged for helping Singaporeans cash in on the education credits. Most Singaporeans expressed disapproval for the SSG scheme because they have no time to attend upgrading courses while being full-time at work and having children.

SSG allows a Singaporean with SkillsFuture Credit to attend a course (up to S$500) without paying any fees, and the training provider will then claim from the government.