Distance Learning Made Easy: Registering My E-Learning Courses in Singapore or Not?
This is you: running a successful e-learning company outside of Singapore, offering online courses on the Internet.
Now you want to sell your courses in Singapore, using a local marketing company, such as Facebook or Google.
Here is what you need to know.
The Private Education Act in Singapore
You can find it on the Internet, here.
This is what s34 of the Singapore Private Education Act says about the registration of educational institutions:
As shown above, “no person in Singapore” may do the acts described in s34(1)(a) or s34(1)(b), unless that person is a “registered private education institution”. This means that s34 is only engaged if the person or entity performing these acts in subsections s34(1)(a) or s34(1)(b) is “in Singapore”.
In other words, s34(1) and (2) do not apply to your e-learning business if it is entirely based outside of Singapore.
But even if your e-learning business is not based in Singapore, you are collaborating with a business that is based in Singapore: you are using a local marketing company for promoting your e-learning courses in Singapore.
This arrangement attracts liability for your e-learning business outside of Singapore. S34(3) above extends liability to “any person who knowingly assists in the provision of private education by an unregistered private education institution.” Different from s34(1), there are no territorial limits placed on s34(3). This means that if your local marketing company contravenes s34(1), then your business will also attract liability under s34(3).
Check Whether You Really Provide “Private Education”
This is what the First Schedule of the Private Education Act Singapore says about “Private education”
Many education providers fall into this definition, and other course providers – like my webpage www.ip-lawyer-tools.com – do not.
How to NOT Attract Liability
Provided that you are offering “private education” in the above-described sense, based on my experience, your e-learning company will not attract liability under the Singapore Private Education Act, provided that your offshore e-learning company and your local marketing company in Singapore both operate within the following conditions:
- only online-courses are offered;
- the server which provides content for the online-courses is based outside of Singapore;
- your e-learning company that offers and provides the online-courses is also based outside of Singapore;
- the activities of your local marketing company in Singapore are limited to that one of a marketing agent. Specifically, your local marketing company in Singapore does not facilitate student administration, provide course consultation, or collect tuition fees on behalf of your e-learning company outside of Singapore;
- all material issues – inclusive handling of payments after students have signed up – are dealt with via online consultation with e-learning company outside of Singapore; and
- no workshops or face-to-face training that contribute to or are part of your online course curriculum are held in Singapore.
And what Happens if I am Offering my E-Learing Courses without Proper Registration?
This is not good at all. All people involved may get fined and/or go to jail.
Check out this link for more information on that.
Better check with us (Schweiger & Partners Singapore) if you have any further question, we can also help you to do the registration with the Ministry of Education.