Education System: What it’s Like to Study in Singapore?

A typical question of a parent intending to move to this country with his/her kids is to wonder about top international schools in Singapore. With those schools, your child is set to receive the quality education you have ever dreamt for him/her. However, if you are unfamiliar with the Singapore education system, it is fair to have a couple of queries. In this article, I shall strive to put those queries to rest by providing answers on what it’s like to study in Singapore.

Singapore Education System Background

The chief governing body overseeing educational aspects in Singapore is the Ministry of Education (MOE). The body’s mandate includes coming up with the school calendar, amongst other things. Speaking of which, the calendar runs from January to November. Strictly speaking, there is a variation in international school holidays. However, public schools have a system comprising 4 terms that observe breaks within them. Public holidays observed are Chinese New Year, Christian holidays of Good Friday and Christmas, Muslim festivals of Hari Raya Puasa and Har Raya Haji, Hindu festival of Diwali, and Buddhist festival of Vesak. 

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School Age System in Singapore

This aspect can be worrying for those who are moving from abroad to Singapore. The Singaporean system has the school years split by age. It is quite similar to the grading system used in the USA. 

Age                          School Type

3-4                               Nursery

5-7                               Kindergarten

7-11/12                        Primary School

12-17                           Secondary School

17-18                           Optional Junior College or Vocational qualifications

18+                              Optional Higher Education (University, Polytechnic,Arts Instituition etc.)

What is the Education System Like?

The country applies a streaming system of education. Here it is recognized that students have different academic abilities. So what happens is that children are split into “streams” or pathways based on how well they do academically. The first stream is the Normal Academic stream, which prepares the student for college. Normal Technical stream prepares the student for vocational qualifications.

Lastly, the Express stream is formulated for high achieving students who are expected to excel at university. Thus the child’s likely career path is sealed earlier. Express students must gain between 6 to 10 Singapore-Cambridge GCE O Levels to proceed to the next level. Regular stream students are required to take a ‘Normal-Level” exam before pursuing O Levels. On the other hand, Technical students are set to take vocational topics.

Key Facts About the Singapore School System

Primary school would last your child 6 years, while 4 years are set for secondary school. 2018 stats revealed the existence of 145 government primary schools and 41 non-government primary schools receiving government funding. Singapore has an estimated population of 97% over the age of 15 who are literate. Singapore is ranked above Japan in reading and science proficiency.

Differences Between Public and Private Schools

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To start with, private schools can set their qualifications and curriculum, whereas public schools in the country offer the country’s curriculum ( Singapore-GCE O-Levels and Normal O-Levels). In addition to this, public schools can have up to 32 pupils, while private ones can do up to 24. Thus lower the student-teacher ratio in private schools. Lastly, the public school offers more hours (08:00-18:00) while private ones go from 08:30 until 15:00. However, younger children get dismissed by 13:00 in public schools.

Final Verdict

There you have it, folks, which is roughly what the education system is like in Singapore. The country thus holds a decent education system. While deciding on whether to go public or private, it also keys to know the fee structure concerning the two. Private school fees are more expensive, and they vary because that specific institution sets them. However, your child’s future may outweigh any expense leading you to choose top international schools in Singapore.

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