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City Guides: Schooling options for expats in Singapore

by on May 18, 2010

If you have a family and you are considering taking a job with a law firm or company in Singapore, finding a school for your children may be the most important and difficult task that you face.  Not because Singapore lacks great schools, but precisely because there are numerous options for expats seeking quality education for their children.

The education system in Singapore is administered by The Ministry of Education.  It regulates both public and private schools, which educates a population that boasts a 95.4% literacy rate!

Kindergarten & Primary education

Children from ages three to six children may attend. kindergarten.  There are three  stages of the three-year program and all schools are private. Classes are usually five days for three or four hours each day.

Children then enter mandatory primary education at age six and generally continues for six years. Children may attend either public or private schools, although it is very rare that expats will attend public schools.  During this stage of school, students are prepared for the Primary School Leaving Examination which is used to place them in the appropriate secondary schools.

Secondary School

There are four tracks of secondary schooling:  Special, Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical). Each track ranges from four to five years, at the end of which, students will take tests  that measure proficiency in the student’s chosen academic field and are one of the main criteria for determining admissions success for those opting for university or other higher education.

College

Singapore’s public junior colleges generally require a monthly fee of about S$30 per student, which may be offset by scholarships and grants based on performance and family income. Many local students opt for this option to enhance their credentials and improve their odds of acceptance to university.  However, this option is realistically never chosen by expats who almost always attend university outside of Singapore.

Below are links to the Ministry of Education, an in depth expat focused summary of school rules, and a fairly comprehensive list of schools in Singapore.  These should provide a good starting point to find the resources you’ll need to find the right school for your family.

http://www.moe.gov.sg/

http://www.singaporeexpats.com/guides-for-expats/international-schools.htm#Expats_Children

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_schools_in_Singapore

For more information about living and working in Singapore, please visit us at Law Alliance or leave questions in the comments section and we’ll do our best to answer your queries.

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