An Overview of Singapore’s Educational System

Education in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education (MOE), which controls the development and administration of state schools receiving taxpayers’ funding, but also has an advisory and supervisory role in respect of private schools.

The education system in Singapore aims at excellence for its students, offering various choices in preschool, primary, secondary, and post-secondary education.

Singapore is known as the country with one of the top education systems in the world. If you are planning to study in Singapore, the country has a lot to offer. You will be able to choose from a variety of educational options that come at reasonable prices.

Public Schools
The school year is Singapore is divided into 4 terms, each 10 weeks long. The school year in the country begins on the 2nd of January. After the first and the third terms students in Singapore have week-long vacations. Also, there is a four-week vacation after the second term and six-week vacation after the fourth term.

Each school in Singapore maintains high standards of teaching and learning. The education system in the country follows bilingual policy. Singaporean students, besides studying their mother tongues such as Malay, Mandarin or Tamil, also learn English that is also considered to be an official language in the country.

Any international student who wants to study in one of mainstream schools in Singapore will have to go through admission exercise held by the Ministry of Education from September to October annually. The process of admission also depends on some other criteria, including the availability of school vacancies. Unless you hold a Dependant’s Pass or an Immigration Exemption Order, it is important to apply for a Student’s Pass.

Private Schools
There are over 300 private schools in Singapore. Private schools in Singapore are regulated by the Council for Private Education (CPE) under the Private Education Act.

Private schools in Singapore offer a great variety of different courses, including language and professional programs. So if you want to specify the area of your study, choosing a private school sector is a great option.

Foreign-System Schools

While private school sector in Singapore offers a plenty of choices, foreign-system schools are considered to be a great option as well. There are about 30 foreign-system schools in Singapore. Each international school in Singapore has its own admission criteria.

International schools become a great solution for people who are looking for a curriculum similar to their home country’s one. It is a great option for those students who have been educated in a language other than English.

There are three home-grown international schools in Singapore namely ACS International, Hwa Chong International, and SJI International that offer secondary and post-secondary education. These schools are leading to the International Baccalaureate qualification which is recognized in Ivy League universities.

Institutes for Higher Education
There are 5 universities in Singapore: the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Singapore Institute of Technology. All these universities welcome international students and provide internationally recognized diplomas.

Educational Cost for Foreigners and International Students
To calculate the cost of the study, it is important to understand the difference between two classes of foreigners. International students in Singapore are divided into two groups: ASEAN and non-ASEAN students. The ASEAN students are those who came to study in Singapore from South East Asia region. The non-Asian students are all those who came from countries that are situated anywhere apart from South East Asia.

In comparison to ASEAN students, non-ASEAN students will have to pay more for their education. For example, if an ASEAN student will have to pay $370 + misc. fees per year for primary education, a non-ASEAN one will have to pay $550 + misc. fees per year. To learn about the cost of education both for ASEAN and non-ASEAN, please visit the MOE’s official website at