Singapore Education System

5 minute read
Singapore Education System

Named amongst the best countries to study abroad, Singapore has always been an ideal study destination for those planning to pursue higher education in culturally vibrant  Asia. Multiple factors like high standards of teaching, top institutions and affordable costs have made the country rank higher when it comes to attaining overseas education and thus, more and more students are now opting to study in Singapore. Commonly known as the Garden City, the country is famous for its cleanest streets, lush gardens, and skyscrapers as well as top-ranked academic institutions imparting quality education! Through this blog, we will take you on an informational journey of exploring the Singapore Education System elucidating its unique characteristics and how the country has consistently strived towards inculcating a dynamic learning environment.

Singapore Education System 

Singapre education system

The Ministry of Education, Singapore aims to “help students discover and make the best of their own talents, to help them realise their full potential, and develop a passion for lifelong learning”. The country has opted for a one-of-its-kind approach towards education with the core focus on ensuring holistic personal and professional growth of every individual. Broadly, the Singapore education system is divided into 4 levels, namely, Pre-School, Primary, Secondary and Post-Secondary. 

Education Level Age Class Duration 
Pre-School4 to 6 Kindergarten 2 years 
Primary6 to 12Primary 1 to 6 6 years 
Secondary12 to 18Secondary 1 to 66 years 
Post-Secondary18 onwardsJunior College/University Education Depends on the chosen program 

Now that you are aware of the basic levels of the Singapore education system, let us now examine in detail what these above-mentioned levels of education entail. 

Singapore School System Structure

Singapore’s educational system consists of six years of primary school, four to five years of secondary school, and one to three years of post-secondary education.

Preschool, often known as nursery school or kindergarten, is a non-mandatory service provided by the Ministry of Education Singapore and private operators.

Pre-School Level 

As the initial level of the Singapore education system, the Preschool stage must be completed before the age of 7. Children admitted to this level of study are in either Play School or Kindergarten. They are familiarized with basic knowledge of colours, animals, and fruits as well as basic manners. 

Interesting Fact: The preschool level is often considered optional in Singapore. Parent generally send their kids to preschools operate by private organisations, community groups and charities.

Primary Level 

Singapore education system

Covering the beginning of formal schooling years, the primary education stage generally begins at the age of 6 and requires students to qualify for certain exams at the completion of this level of study. The major emphasis is put on imparting basic proficiency in languages (English and Native) along with mathematics. The primary education level is divided into two sub-levels which are explained in the following sections.

Foundation Stage 

The first 4 years are clubbed under the foundation stage of the Singapore Education System. During this phase, the students are familiarized with basic language skills as well as arithmetic. The curriculum at this level also includes general science as well as moral education. Along with this, additional time is devoted to extracurricular activities, physical education, arts, music etc. 

Orientation Stage 

The Orientation stage corresponds to the concluding two years of the primary level in the Singapore education system. The students are taught foundational subjects and at the end of this level, students will have to qualify for Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) after which they have to select a stream of study to continue towards the secondary level.

Interesting Fact: The education at the primary level is free and compulsory in Singapore.

Secondary Level 

Usually, the secondary level in Singapore Education System lasts for 6 years but the duration can vary as per the capabilities of the students. Completing the primary level, students pick the stream they are most interested in and receive official certification for qualifying for the PSLE exam. For students who have opted for Special and Express courses will be receiving the General Certificate of Education ‘Ordinary’ Level (GCE ‘O’ Level) whereas Normal course students can choose between Normal Academic and Normal Technical and will receive the GCE ‘N’ Level certificate. Both certificates will be given at the end of the 4th year of secondary school. 

Interesting Fact: There are four tracks or streams offered at the secondary level in Singapore Schools and these streams are Normal (Academic), Normal (Technical), Integrated Programme and Express.

Post-Secondary Levels 

In the Singapore Education system, formal education actually concludes at the secondary level typically at the age of 17. The next stage is the Post- Secondary level of study in which students can opt to study the course of their choice at any university. They can earn varying levels of study such as diplomaS, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, etc. in the field of their choice and then begin their professional journey accordingly.

Interesting Fact: Also referred to as University Preparation or Vocational Training, Post Secondary Education is optional in Singapore.

The Syllabus and Curriculum

The syllabus and curriculum for the PSLE, GCE O, N, and A-Levels are curated by the Ministry of Education Singapore, and it differs from the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum. The curriculum is curated by the Ministry of Education in Singapore to emphasise student participation and innovation. The curriculum is updated on a regular basis to provide instructors and students with fresh options.

Source: YouTube – SBS Dateline

Top Universities in Singapore 

Now that you are familiarized with the Singapore Education system, let’s take a look at the top universities in Singapore which are renowned for imparting world-class education in almost every field of study! 

Universities QS Rankings 2023 for Asia
National University of Singapore2
Nanyang Technological University5
Singapore Management University117


Is Singapore’s education system good?

It is counted among the world’s best education systems. Students from Singapore have consistently scored at the top in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Countries.

What is the education style in Singapore?

Singapore’s education system entails six years of primary school after which a student spends around four to six years in Secondary school followed by 3 years in postsecondary school. The syllabus in primary schools in Singapore is common from years one to four.

What is 12th grade called in Singapore?

The 12th grade in Singapore is called junior college. The junior college consists of grade 11 and grade 12.

We hope you liked this blog where we covered extensive information about the Singapore education system. Are you also looking for opportunities to study abroad? If the answer is yes, the experts at Leverage Edu can make your journey easier as they will be guiding you throughout the process. To take help from the experts simply register on our website or call us at 1800-572-000.

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