Education in Singapore

School system in Singapore

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The standard of education is very high in Singapore, with a high rate of literacy among Singaporeans. The primary language of instruction is English, with second languages compulsory and third languages an option.

Children may attend private-sector pre-school (kindergarten) from the ages of three to six, where they will learn variety of subjects such as maths, music and English and their official mother tongue (Mandarin, Malay or Tamil). If a parent prefers their child to learn Mandarin as their second language, they may choose to send them to a religious or church-based school.

Primary education starts for children from the age of 6. They enter school at Primary 1, and go through to Primary 6, when they have to take the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) to ensure that they are ready to leave primary education and to allocate them a suitable secondary school.
Their PSLE results are key in determining which stream the children will enter:

  1. ‘Express' (the traditional four-year secondary education leading directly to the Singapore-Cambridge O-level);
  2. Normal (Academic), a four-year education leading to the N-level with the possibility of studying another year to attain the O-level;
  3. and Normal (Technical), which is similar to the Normal (Academic) apart from the fact that they take more technical-based subjects.

Secondary school pupils have to take a second language (usually mother tongue and, if they choose to and qualify, higher mother tongue), and have the option of taking a third (foreign) language (French, German & Japanese). Pupils usually take between six and ten subjects at O-level, with five compulsory subjects – mother tongue or higher mother tongue, maths, English, a humanities elective and a science elective.

After passing their O-levels, pupils then go to junior college to take their Singapore-Cambridge A-levels.

For more information on the schooling system in Singapore click here

Expats in Singapore who are on employment / professional visit passes wishing to send their children to a government or gorvernment-aided school are entitled to apply for admission through the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Among the benefits of this are:

  • Singapore schools have a very high standard of education.
  • The school fees are considerably lower than in the private international schools
  • Your children get to integrate into the local community

However, the process of getting accepted into a local school is rather more drawn out than that of entering an international school, so this is something to be taken into consideration.

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Singapore universities are achieving world renown, and are attracting increasing numbers of academics and students from both within Singapore and overseas. The main tertiary institutions are:



LASALLE College Of The Arts
Specialises in professional and academic training in the Fine, Theatre & Media. Accredited institution of the UK 's Open University
90 Goodman Road
Singapore 439053
Tel: (65) 63444300 and (65) 1800 4688866
Fax: (65) 63465708 / 64680779


Update 19/04/2008


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