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Singapore’s Education System

Singapore is known for its world-class education system, consisting of top-notch schools that consistently rank among the best in the world. The city-state offers a diverse range of educational institutions, from international schools to local institutions, each offering unique programs that cater to the needs of students. With a focus on innovation, technology and academic excellence, Singapore’s education system has become one of the most sought-after in the world. In this blog, we will be exploring the top schools in Singapore and what makes them stand out. Whether you are a parent looking for the perfect school for your child or a student looking to further your education, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and information on the top primary schools in Singapore has to offer.

1. Singapore’s Education System

The education system in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and is consistently ranked among the highest in the world. The education spending makes up about 20% of the annual national budget, subsidizing state education and government-assisted private education for Singaporean citizens. Compulsory education for children of primary school age was codified in 2000 and made it a criminal offense for parents to fail to enroll their children. The main language of instruction is English, which is learned by half of children by preschool age and becomes the primary medium of instruction by primary school. The system includes six years of primary school followed by four to six years of secondary school and one to three years of post-secondary school.

2. Pathway from Primary to Post-Secondary Education

In Singapore, primary education is divided into preschool, primary school and secondary school. After primary school, students can choose between three types of secondary schools: normal, specialized or express. Normal schools cater to students who have difficulty keeping up academically, while specialized schools offer specialized courses. Express schools are for students who excel academically and who may go on to attend university. Singapore’s education system allows students to make an informed decision on their future career path based on their academic ability and interests. The government supports a child’s strengths and social skills, creating a well-rounded education system that produces excellent academic results.

3. Types of School Curricula in Singapore

Singapore offers a variety of school curricula in its education system. The most common curricula include British, American, CBSE, IB, IGCSE, UK, and EYFS. Each school offers different educational programs and extracurricular activities. The curriculum a family chooses may depend on their plans to settle in Singapore in the long-term or move back to their home country. Additionally, it may depend on the career path or further education a family desires for their children. Singapore’s education system is highly focused on academic excellence and students typically produce excellent academic results. The government strongly supports a child’s strengths and social skills, making Singapore’s education system highly sought after.

4. Best Schools in Singapore by Location

Singapore is home to many world-class schools located in different areas of the city. In Bishan, located in the central region, families can find several top schools including Raffles Institution, Catholic High School, and the Australian International School. For those living in the west, Bukit Batok boasts schools such as Dulwich College, Swiss School, and the St. Francis Methodist School. The Bukit Timah area, known for its affluent neighborhoods, is home to prestigious schools like the Hwa Chong Institution, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School, and the Singapore American School. In the Downtown Core and Robertson Quay areas, families can find the Stamford American International School and the Nexus International School. With such a variety of options, families can easily choose a school in Singapore that fits their location and educational needs.

5. International Education in Singapore

Singapore is home to over 50 international schools, highly sought after by expat families for their world-class education. Local schools are generally avoided due to rote learning methods and limited extracurricular activities. However, citizens and permanent residents take priority on waiting lists for local schools. The majority of international schools offer a curriculum taught in English, with options for dual language streams and mother tongue programs. The schools’ parent communities tend to be sociable and involved, with high-achieving professionals working for big corporates. Additionally, fees for international schools in Singapore are among the highest in the world, making education in Singapore a costly affair.

6. High Cost of Education in Singapore

Singapore is known for having one of the best education systems in the world. However, international schools in the country are amongst the most expensive in the world, making it difficult for some families to afford. The high cost of living in Singapore extends to education, with international school fees ranging from around SGD 30,000 to SGD 60,000 per year. While the standard of education in international schools is generally very high, the cost can be a barrier for some families looking to give their children the best education possible. It is important for families to consider the financial implications of sending their children to an international school in Singapore.

7. Standard of Education in International Schools

According to factual data, the standard of education in international schools in Singapore is considered among the highest in the world. These schools are well-established and have a reputation for producing high-achieving students who can compete with Ivy League graduates. The majority of international schools go beyond just teaching the curriculum and offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities, free transport, and meals, among other perks. However, due to their excellence, places in international schools are extremely limited, and competition is high. Therefore, parents are advised to apply as early as possible. Despite the high fees, the standard of education and added benefits make international schools a popular choice for many expat families in Singapore.

8. Limited Places in International Schools

Singapore’s international schools are renowned globally for producing high-achieving students. However, due to their reputation and the limited places available, competition to gain admission is extremely high. This is particularly true for those seeking entry into the most prestigious schools. Even in the public school system, competition is fierce, as citizens and permanent residents have priority over new arrivals. With a large expat community, Singapore offers a full spectrum of international schools and curricula, including European, American, Indian, Australian and Japanese systems. Those seeking a hybrid curriculum can select from schools teaching more than one curriculum from which to choose. Parents are advised to apply early to secure a place for their child.

9. Full Spectrum of International Schools in Singapore

Singapore offers a wide range of international schools catering to the needs of its diverse expat community. With 62 schools to choose from, parents have the luxury of picking a curriculum that suits their child’s requirements and preferences. From IB to British, American, French, German, Swiss and Japanese, the choices are plenty. Being home to more than 5.5 million people, Singapore has a reputation for providing high-quality education that is competitive worldwide. Majority of these schools go beyond the prescribed curriculum and provide additional benefits like transportation, meals, and extra curricular activities thus making the schools an environment ideal for students’ all-round development.

10. Hybrid Curricula in Singaporean Schools

Singaporean schools offer a unique educational experience for expat children with hybrid curricula. These curricula allow students to learn from multiple educational systems, giving them a well-rounded academic perspective. Singaporean schools offer multiple hybrid options, including both international and national curricula. These curricula can be taught in the same class or separately, depending on the school’s preference. For parents who want to keep their options open, hybrid curricula provide a flexible approach to education that can cater to different learning styles. With a range of hybrid options on offer, expat parents can find an educational approach that best suits their child’s needs.


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