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Education

Education has always been one of the pillars of Singapore society. As a nation whose only resource is its people, Singapore takes education very seriously.

It is assuring to know that the quality of schooling here is among the best in the world – our system and textbooks have been adopted and adapted from by other countries.

Read more details on the Ministry of Education (MOE) website.

Public Schools

Singapore provides a well-structured education for all levels, from pre-school to post-graduate. English is the medium of education in Singapore but one of the unique competitive advantages of the nation’s education system is its bilingual policy. In addition to learning English, students study their mother tongue at school, such as Malay, Mandarin or Tamil. This reinforces Singapore’s cosmopolitan position in the heart of Asia and entrenches the students in their cultural heritage.

Singapore’s public schools welcome international students. MOE conducts an annual admissions exercise during September/October for new international students who wish to join public schools.

Over the years, Singapore’s education system has grown in diversity and depth. Today, there is a wide variety of educational pathways available, to meet individual needs and talents. These include the Singapore Sports School, School of the Arts and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

For more information on entry to public schools, click here.

The local school year (below tertiary level) consists of four 10-week terms beginning on 2 January each year. There is a one-week vacation after the first and third terms, a four-week vacation at mid-year, and a six-week vacation at year-end.

Singapore’s public schools maintain high standards of teaching and learning. According to IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2015, Singapore was ranked among top 3 in the world for its educational system. Singapore was also ranked 1st in both Math and Science across 140 countries in World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016.

Foreign-System and Private Schools

While Singapore’s public school system is comprehensive and upholds high standards, expatriates can also choose to send their children to private or foreign-system schools.

There are more than 30 foreign-system or international schools in Singapore. Such schools may offer an education pathway and curriculum that are similar to those in your home country. This is especially beneficial if your children have been educated in a language other than English. Each school has its own admission criteria and enrolment has to be done early as demand is high.

Comprehensive information for international students can be found on the Ministry of Education (MOE) website here. A list of the foreign -system schools in Singapore can be found here.

You may also consider enrolling your children at one of the three home-grown international schools - ACS International, Hwa Chong International and SJI International. The three schools offer secondary and post-secondary education, leading to the International Baccalaureate qualification which is recognised in Ivy League universities.

Institutes of Higher Learning

Singapore currently has five autonomous universities. They are the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Singapore Institute of Technology. A graduate medical school, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, was also created through a partnership between Duke University School of Medicine and NUS to increase Singapore’s capacity to develop a vibrant biomedical hub.

Specialised institutions have also sprung up, both local and international. For instance, well-known business schools INSEADLASALLE College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) provide specialised education in the arts, and the Digipen Institute of Technology focuses on world-class technology education.

In addition, polytechnics were also set up to train middle-level professionals, and the Institute of Technical Education was established as a post-secondary technical institution of excellence.

You may also choose to send your children to one of the over 300 private education institutions in Singapore. Private schools offer a large variety of courses, including language and professional programmes. When choosing a private school, do make sure it has proper accreditation. Established under the Private Education Act, the Council for Private Education (CPE) is a statutory board sanctioned with the legislative power to regulate the private education sector. In addition to its role as the sectoral regulator of private education institutions (PEIs), the CPE facilitates capability development efforts to uplift standards in the local private education industry.

For a list of the institutes of higher learning in Singapore, click here.

Pre-Schools and Kindergartens

Many parents in Singapore introduce their children to formal or partial education from a very young age. You will find a slew of centres catering to pre-school education, either by session or tied in with childcare services – often a necessity for households with two working parents. For a list of the preschools and kindergartens in Singapore, you may like to click here.