Thumbs up for SUSS' marriage and baby bonus offer

This article is more than 12 months old

A university's offer of free classes to students who marry or have kids during their course of study has been welcomed by most students and academics interviewed.

On Friday, the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) announced the Marriage and Baby Bonus scheme for its part-time adult students, saying this was "in support of Singapore's continued focus on encouraging marriage and parenthood".

From July 23, those who qualify can redeem two free modules, with a maximum of five credit units per module, or one 10-credit unit module. This move may save students up to a few thousand dollars.

Sociologist Paulin Straughan from the Singapore Management University said the SUSS move is an innovative way to encourage young adults to integrate lifelong learning with family responsibilities.

"We tend to look at our life aspirations in linear segments - first we complete our formal education, then we get a job and build our careers, and then we get married and grow our families," she said.

This mindset results in a delay in people getting married and having their first child, she added.

Associate Professor Daniel Goh, a sociologist from NUS, calls the offer "a wonderful gesture". But he does not see the scheme as encouraging marriage and childbirth.

"I don't see it as an incentive for students to get married or have children, because marriage and raising a child are immense responsibilities that most people take seriously and a free module is hardly part of the calculations," he said.