My friend Michelle is moving in to Singapore to work. However, she is having second thoughts whether to bring her family because she is concerned about her children’s education. Her eldest will be in primary one and her youngest will be in nursery. She is asking about the educational system of Singapore, whether her children can cope with the standards here and what is the cost of sending her children to school. So, I shared with her some basic facts about Singapore education which I believe other expatriates might also be interested to know.
All you need to know about Singapore education
Singapore education is ranked as one of the best among the education systems in the world.
In fact, in 2010, Britain’s Education Minister Michael Gove commended it as one of the “world-leading” education systems. Moreover, Singapore’s primary school and secondary education curriculum has been used as models internationally. So, if your child is studying in a Singaporean school, you can be sure of the quality of education your child is getting.
Singapore education can be expensive for non-citizens.
International students pay school fees and miscellaneous fees which can range from S$181.00 to 256.00 for Primary, S$251.00 to 356.00 for Secondary and S$402.00 to 572.00 for Junior College and Centralised Institute every month. While residents and permanent residents pay lesser school fees. Aside from that, the Foreign Students Unit of the Ministry of Education will request the parents of international students to contribute to the education fund upon acceptance to a school. Malaysians contribute S$3,000 for primary, secondary and pre-university education while other nationalities give S$5,000.
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International students should take the Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS) in order to join Singaporean primary or secondary schools.
The AEIS is annually conducted by the Ministry of Education during September or October. It is designed for new international students who will enrol for Primary 2 to 5 and Secondary 1 to 3 for the next school year. It includes tests on English and Mathematics and will be the basis for the placement of the student in a specific school. However, you need to approach the school directly for any required tests.
Singapore education: The school year begins every January
Unlike in other countries which start their school year in June or September, the education system in Singapore starts on the first month of the year and ends in November. The schools have 2 semesters with 2 terms in each semester. The first semester is from January to May and the second is from June to November.
Singapore education: English is the medium of instruction in all Singapore schools
This is why you must prepare your child for school by making him or her acceptably proficient in the English language. Aside from English, other languages are spoken and recognized. Thus, mother tongue languages such as Chinese, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil are included in the curriculum.
Formal education begins with primary school through university.
A child at the age of six should start from Primary one. But if your child is below 6 years old, you can opt to make him or her study at a pre-school center to prepare your child for the academic challenges in Primary School. There are 3 programs which are Nursery, Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2. Primary school comprises of the foundation stage from Primary one to four as and the orientation stage from primary five to six. The next stage is the Secondary education which can take up to 4 to 5 years. Next to that is the Junior College, Polytechnic or Pre-university. Aft er taking the qualifying exams, students proceed to University.
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Primary 6 students need to take the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) before proceeding to secondary education.
Like all local students, international students take the PSLE at Primary 6 for placement in the secondary education. PSLE results will dictate your child’s number of years in secondary education as well as the school where he or she is going to study. This is what they call streaming the child according to his or her abilities. Without taking the PSLE, a student cannot be admitted to a secondary education school.
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The following information are just but a few of the many things you need to know about Singapore education. Once you have enroled your child in school, it is for you to find out more as your child continues to be educated in the country.