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Singapore education system

Singapore education system

Singapore, an island country, has a rather small area and population, but it inherits an advanced education system with a long history of development from the UK.

Singapore considers education as a significant factor in the development of its society. Public school system of Singapore has good reputation for its quality of teaching and training.

Pre-school education:

Pre-School education is offered by kindergartens and childcare centres, consisting of a structured three-year programme for children aged three to six.  Registered with the Ministry of Education, kindergartens and childcare centers are licensed by the Ministry of Community Development and Sports. The curriculum generally includes programs in English and a second language.

Primary Schools:

A child in Singapore undergoes six years of primary education, comprising a four-year foundation stage from Primary 1 to 4 and a two-year orientation stage from Primary 5 to 6. 

At the foundation stage, the core curriculum comprising English, the Mother Tongue and Mathematics is taught, with supplementary subjects such as Music, Art & Craft, Physical Education and Social Studies.  Science is included from Primary 3.  To maximize their potential, students are streamed according to their learning ability before advancing to the orientation stage.  At the end of Primary 6, students takes the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

Secondary schools:

There are 02 options for students who want to attend four or five years of secondary education:

- The Special and Express Course: it prepares students for the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education 'Ordinary' (GCE 'O') Level examination in four years.

- The Normal course: Students in the Normal Course can opt for the Academic or Technical stream, both of which prepare students for the SingaporeCambridge General  Certificate of Education 'Normal' (GCE 'N') Level examination after four years of study and upon satisfactory completion, the GCE 'O' Level examination in the fifth year.

- After passing the GCE 'O' Level examination, students may apply for entry to a junior college for a two-year course or a Polytechnic for a three-year course.

- Completing 2 year at junior college, student will be granted a GCE "A" level certificate.

- Completing 3 year at polytechnic, student will be granted a diploma. There are 5 polytechnics in Singapore: Nanyang, Ngee Ann, Republic, Singapore, Temaseak.

Besides, upon completing secondary school programs, students can also apply to study at institute of technical educations.

ITE is an alternative post-secondary institution for those who want to develop their technical skills and knowledge in various industry sectors.  Besides providing full-time institutional training and traineeship programs for secondary school leavers, ITE also provides continuing education programs for working adults.


The three local universities in Singapore :

  • National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
  • Singapore Management University (SMU)

These universities supply outstanding graduates with internationally recognized degrees. They also offer research and scholarship opportunities to post-graduate students.

In addition to local universities, many of the world's leading foreign universities have also established their presence in Singapore. These universities have either set up a physical campus (institutes of higher learning) or have joint collaborations/programs with local universities.

Besides, there are more than 300 private commercial, IT, fine arts and language schools in Singapore. These schools offer courses with strong demand from local and international students. Through partnerships with popular international universities from the US, UK, Australia, etc, private schools offer students the opportunity to achieve international certification in a comfortable and affordable environment.

To ensure that the private schools in Singapore protect students' interests and welfare through high quality and regulatory standards, and also sound business policies, 02 key certifications have been put into effect. They are namely the CaseTrust for Education and Singapore Quality Class for Private Education Organizations (SQC-PEO).

For further information about Singapore education, you can refer to:


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