As an expat, understanding the educational system of your new home is crucial for your children’s academic success. Singapore’s education system is renowned worldwide for its high standards and rigorous curriculum. It is designed to nurture every child and help all students discover their talents, realise their full potential, and develop a passion for life-long learning. This guide will provide you with an overview of the main stages of education in Singapore, the process of enrolling your child in school, language requirements, the availability of bilingual and private schools, and the options for homeschooling and online schooling.
What are the main stages of education in Singapore?
The main stages of education in Singapore are preschool, primary school, secondary school, post-secondary education, and tertiary education. Each stage is designed to cater to the learning needs of students at different ages and to prepare them for the next level of education.
Preschool education in Singapore is for children aged 18 months to 6 years. It includes nursery and kindergarten and focuses on holistic child development, including cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. The curriculum also introduces children to basic literacy and numeracy skills.
Primary School Education
Primary school education is for children aged 7 to 12 years. It consists of a four-year foundation stage and a two-year orientation stage. The curriculum focuses on English, Mother Tongue languages (Chinese, Malay, Tamil), Mathematics, and Science. Students also learn Social Studies, Music, Art & Crafts, and Physical Education.
Secondary School Education
Secondary school education is for students aged 13 to 16 or 17 years. It offers various tracks and streams to cater to the different abilities and interests of students. The curriculum includes core subjects, elective subjects, and co-curricular activities.
How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?
Newcomers can enroll their children in Singapore schools through the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS) or the Supplementary Admissions Exercise for International Students (S-AEIS). These exercises involve a centralised test on English and Mathematics, and successful students will be offered a place in a suitable school.
Can my children enroll in a public school if they are still learning English?
Yes, children who are still learning English can enroll in public schools in Singapore. They will be provided with additional support in English through the MOE’s English as a Second Language (ESL) programme.
Are there public bilingual schools in Singapore?
Yes, there are public bilingual schools in Singapore. All students in public schools are required to study English and one Mother Tongue language. There are also specialised schools such as the Singapore Chinese School (SCS) and the Singapore Malay School (SMS) that offer a bilingual curriculum.
What types of private schools are common in Singapore?
Common types of private schools in Singapore include international schools, religious schools, and independent schools. International schools follow various international curriculums, while religious schools offer education based on specific religious principles. Independent schools have more autonomy in their curriculum and admission policies.
Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?
Expats in Singapore typically send their children to international schools due to the language of instruction and the continuity of curriculum from their home countries. However, some expats also choose public schools for their high academic standards and lower fees.
How expensive are Private schools in Singapore?
Private schools in Singapore can be quite expensive, with fees ranging from SGD 20,000 to SGD 50,000 per year. The cost depends on the school, the grade level, and the curriculum.
Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Singapore?
Yes, you are allowed to homeschool your children while living in Singapore. However, you need to apply for exemption from compulsory school attendance from the MOE and meet certain requirements, including providing a conducive learning environment and a suitable homeschooling curriculum.
May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Singapore?
Yes, children can attend online school instead of a local school while living in Singapore. However, they need to apply for exemption from compulsory school attendance from the MOE. Parents should also ensure that the online school is accredited and that the curriculum meets the child’s learning needs.