A couple was fined $9,000 for giving a false residential address in order to enroll their child into a popular school in the Bishan area.
The parents cannot be named to protect the identity of their child.
The child’s mother, 36, was fined S$5,000 for lying about the family’s address to the vice-principal of the school. While, her husband, 38, was fined S$4,000 for duping an officer at Serangoon Gardens Neighbourhood Police Post into changing the couple’s official addresses on their identity cards.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Shahla Iqbal said that on 1 May 2014, the couple lied to a registration officer at Serangoon Gardens NPP that their residential address was in Bishan when in fact they were still living in Serangoon Gardens.
The officer, who is a police sergeant, then proceeded to change their address to one in Bishan.
Investigations showed that on 30 July 2015, the parents provided a copy of their identity cards with the false contact address to register their child in the school during the 2015 Phase 2C Primary 1 registration exercise, which gives families whose child having no links to the school living within one kilometre of a school priority.
The school’s vice-principal accepted the application and the child managed to secure a place in the school.
In January 2016, the month the child started Primary 1, the vice-principal then realised that the mother had lied about her home address and lodged a police report.
DPP Iqbal urged the court to impose the maximum fine on the woman for falsely stating that she lived in Bishan and to fine her husband $4,000, saying, "There was pre-meditation and planning. The offence is one that is difficult to detect."
She said the man had changed his home address to "give an advantage to his child over that of another child".
Earlier in August 2015, a 35-year-old man was given a $5,000 fine after he appealed against his two-week jail sentence for lying to a school principal about where he lived to get his daughter admitted to a prestigious primary school.
The prosecution had earlier sought a jail sentence for the man and did not oppose his appeal for a fine.
Prosecutors learnt of four similar cases between 1995 and 2004 in which the lying parents were given the maximum fine, which was $1,000 before it was raised in 2008 to $5,000.
In the latest case, the mother could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined up to $5,000 while the maximum punishment for her husband's offence under the National Registration Act is a $5,000 fine and five years' jail.
While as for the child, according to Ministry of Education rules, he/she who was successfully registered in a school based on false information will be transferred to another school with available vacancies.
Some commented on this matter.
Tharira Banu wrote, "This kind of miscreant parents totally irk me. I went to Saint Hilda’s balloting session once. I did not even bother to bring my child with me. I did not get a place there but I could not be bothered at all. However, I overheard other parents telling their kids how it was the worst day of their lives. It is alright to try out for popular schools but don’t take stupid steps. I think even parent volunteering before P1 is wrong. It is creating a wrong motivation for parents. I placed my kid in a school that was near to my house. Not a top school but a caring school. I joined as a parent volunteer after I got the place. To be a part of the school. No other motivations."
Mika.Sa wrote, "This is a perfect example of the ugly side of a competitive society. People are willing to go all means to make sure they don't lose out and be the top. This is just the beginning (primary school admission). Can you even imagine what's going on in the work place in adulthood. Now i perfectly understand the world of endless backstabbing."
Jonus Jun wrote, "This kind of parents should be exposed and shamed. They are rich financially but poor in their character."
Suhaila RaeLynn wrote, "But aren't documents needed at the NPP to change the address? Or are we trying to ignore any lapse in procedure at the NPP?"
John Ng wrote, "This is what happens when parents are too over kiasu beyond the limit, sadly they have already build up a very bad example to the children, i do not want to pity such parents, they can be rich in wealth but not rich in their character and mindsets."
Xiaoyu Ye wrote, "That also means something is not quite right with the system. I'm sure some have already taken advantages of this loophole. Just like even international students have a higher chance of entering top universities from nearby community colleges in the U.S."
Matthew Chua Boon Hou wrote, 'This is a rampant practice. And because you are just giving a fine to the guilty parents, this practice will carry on. A mandatory jail term will wake up parents’ idea! If you want to make every school a good school to work, then you have to stop people from enrolling into prestigious schools with a fake address!"
Edwin David Goh wrote, '$9,000 fine worthwhile leh. Better than renting a unit / buying a house that is near the “choice” school. MOE says, all schools are good schools! Don’t have to go all out just to get your child into a “prestigious “ school."
Serena Yeo wrote, 'Between a million dollar relocation and a $9,000 fine, the latter is a cheap and good strategy to get into a prestigious school. What a joke!"
Ridhuan Suleiman wrote, "Jail term is the only solution to prevent this from happening and also a wake up call for all parents so that they will think twice before trying their luck on this. All neighbourhood school produce good students. My daughter came from neighbourhood school Kheng Cheng, after PSLE result she enters Raffles Secondary School even though we never engaged a tuition for her. It is we as parents should display good characters and guided them in a meticulous way so that they can achieve good results."
Ankh Fa wrote, "So many people want the child to be kicked out of the school. Can you imagine the psychological stress on the child? She/he didn't do anything wrong, she/he might not even know. What if she/he thought she/he did something wrong and blame him/herself? What about the bonds forge with his/her friends in the current school. If you all really think every school is good school then why can't let him/her just stay in the school.
Not as if she/he kicked out already you got a chance, wake up la, you don't stand a chance."
Kong Jee wrote, "Serve them right. Nowadays Singapore has reached a level that everything is about status and number one. That gives kid a stressful life. Lying exposed resulted worst situation."
Aaron Teo wrote, "Looking at their original address, the fine seems to be a slap on the wrist for them. Encouraging more rich parents to use this method?"
Janice Lim wrote, "The first lesson which the child learned from entering a prestige school is lying!
And sadly the teachers are his/her parents."
Dennis Leong wrote, "Parent Volunteering priority P1 scheme are rubbish too, Oh Wait, that's how they differentiate the stray and pedigree, it's a good scheme, natural aristocrat cum members have their privileges. Anyway, all schools are good, some are just more popular, as long Ah Gong Ah Ma or Papa Mama got money, can always go overseas if cannot get into local university, not popular school also never-mind, problem can solve money is not a problem."