EDUCATION SYSTEMS IN SINGAPORE
Singapore is known for being one of the most competitive economies in the world and has achieved remarkable growth over the past 50 years. One of the reasons making Singapore has strong development is thanks to Government in focusing on investing and developing comprehensively in education system and skill training for labors. Singapore’s education and training system is regarded as the most advanced in the world today.
Education in Singapore is developed on the basis that each student has unique interests and abilities. The entire education system is built on a flexible approach method to help each student develop his or her abilities.
In Singapore, the Ministry of Education directly administers and sponsors the public school system, and serves as a consultancy and administration role for private schools. All public, private and international schools are required to register with the Ministry of Education. English is the first language and official language in schools and is taught in public schools, except for foreign language and mother tongue.
The school year in Singapore is divided into two semesters:
– Semester 1: From the beginning of January to the end of May
– Semester 2: From the beginning of July to the end of November
Elementary education is compulsory and free of charge for Singaporeans, including basic period of four year from Primary 1 to 4 (P1-4) and orientation period of two year from Primary 5 to 6 (P5- 6). The primary school system in Singapore consists of public school as administration unit, private schools and 20 special education schools. The goal of Primary Education is to help students develop their language and counting skills, practice their characteristic as well as have the foundation to become patriotic citizens, understanding and recognizing the meaning values of life
During period of primary school, students will be provided with basic knowledge of English, Mother tongue and Math. In addition, there are other subjects in the primary school such as Arts, Music, Civics Education, Social Science and Physical Education. Beginning in 3rd grade (P3), students will begin to learn Science.
To promote in maximum the potential of students, they are placed according to their abilities before entering the orientation stage in P5 and P6. During period of primary school, teachers will rely on the ability of students to design and give the tests; In particular, at P1 there will be no tests. Therefore, students can choose the learning progress that most suitable with them.
In addition, the school also has policies to support their learning through small tutoring group. The Government also advises parents to learn how to accompany their children in learning process, motivate and encourage their children, focus on their own children’s abilities and interests, avoid comparing and forcing their children.
Upon completion of P6, students will take the PSLE.
Singapore secondary schools are funded wholly or semi-finance by the Government or act independently. The system of basic education programs is divided into three types, based on their abilities and strengths as follows:
– Express Course: In 4 years to prepare for student to take GCE O-Level exam. Students learn English, Mother Tongue Language (Chinese, Malay, Tamil), Mathematics, Science and Humanities (including History, Geography and Economics).
– Normal (Academic) Course: This is a four-year course leading to the GCE N(A)-Level exam. Students learn subjects similar to those in the Express course. Those who do well at the N(A)-Level will qualify for an additional year to prepare for the O-Level exam, or progress to Higher Nitec courses at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Selected students may sit for the O-Level exam in some subjects at Secondary 4, or bypass the N(A)-Level exam and progress directly to Secondary 5 to take the O-Level exam. Since 2013, students who do well at the N(A)-Level have two “through-train” pathways to the polytechnics – (i) a one-year Polytechnic Foundation Program (PFP) and (ii) a two-year Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Program (DPP)
– Normal (Technical) Course: This is a four-year course leading to the GCE N(T)-Level exam. Students learn English and Mother Tongue Languages, Mathematics and subjects with technical or practical emphases. Schools also offer a wide range of subjects including Nursing, Hospitality, Digital Animation and Precision Engineering
The Singapore Foundation Program is internationally renowned in development of students’ deep thinking and intellectual skills. For students wishing to study at public schools in Singapore, students will take the AEIS exam. Admission of international students to the school will be based on the results of the AEIS and the available vacancy of the schools. Information about the AEIS exam has been introduced in a number of thematic writing by YOYO.
In addition to the core subjects, students also take classes in Music, Art, Physical Education and Career Orientation. Session usually starts at 8am and ends at 1pm. After that, they will eat lunch and study at home or at school.
After Secondary 4 or Secondary 5, most students proceed to one of the following post-secondary education institutions.
– Junior Colleges/Centralized Institute: Students can apply for pre-university education at the junior colleges (two-year course) or centralized institute (three year course) leading to the GCE A-Level exam. Students take at least one Natural Science subject (Mathematics or Science) and at least one Social Science (Humanities or Arts). A-Level certificate is considered to be a card to continue studying the Bachelor program at Singapore’s public universities or prestigious universities around the world. High A-level results will be an advantage for students when enrolling in prestigious, reputations universities
– Polytechnics: Students with O-level certificates, the National ITE Certificate (Nitec) or Higher National ITE Certificate (Higher Nitec) may apply for diploma courses at any of the five polytechnics. The polytechnics offer a wide range of reality courses so that students can work directly in fields such as Engineering, Biotechnology, Info-Communications, Health Sciences, Early Childhood Education, Business, Accountancy, Social Sciences or Digital Media. Polytechnic graduates who wish to further their studies can apply for admission to the universities.
– Institute of Technical Education (ITE): Students with O- or N-Level certificates can apply for full-time courses at ITE. These courses lead to the Nitec or Higher Nitec certificate. Apart from full-time institutional training, students can also attend traineeship programs conducted jointly by companies and ITE. After taking Nitec or Higer Nitec certificates, students who are interested in furthering their education can apply for admission to the Polytechnics.
– Arts Institutions: Students who are talent and interested in the creative arts can enrol in program offered by the LASALLE College or NAFA with a range of publicly-funded degree and diploma programs in the subjects of Music, Dance, Theatre, Interior Design and Fashion Design.
Singapore now has 6 publicly funded universities, so the input requirement is so high, students are required to have good academic result and attend the social activities as well as extra-curriculum activities. However, graduates from these universities will have opened opportunities in career with good salary. International students have many chances to settle easily and officially.
6 publicly funded universities of Singapore include:
– National University of Singapore (NUS) is a research-intensive university with 16 faculties and schools. The university has a wide range of undergraduate programs, include intensive programs offered by its Graduate School such as the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, and the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.
– Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is a comprehensive, research intensive university with a strong focus on Engineering, Science, and Technology. NTU also has the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, which was established in collaboration with Imperial College London in 2013. Besides, NTU collaborates with many overseas institutions to offer dual degree and other joint program and student exchange programs.
– Singapore Management University (SMU) is styled after the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (USA). SMU is known for its small class sizes and active learning method. In the class, students will make speech and exchange opinion like attending the seminar. The strength of SMU is the fields of Social Science.
– Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD): Collaborate with MIT student of USA and Zhejiang University (China). Its strengths are Design and Architect.
– Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT): Its strengths in the fields of Applied Sciences, Health Sciences, Design, and Digital Media. SIT also offers its Bachelor course in the fields of Information & Communications, Hospitality and Tourism, Accountancy.
– SIM University (UniSIM): Provides full-time degree programs in Accountancy, Marketing, Finance, and Human Resource Management.
PRIVATE EDUCATION INSTITUTION (PEI)
In order to assure that PEI in Singapore maintain their high quality standard and business activities given by Private Education Council, all PEI in Singapore have to act in Enhanced Registration Framework (RF) to register with the Council. It guarantees that PEI in Singapore meets a certain standard in registration and regulation of the Law in order to protect the advantages of students who enroll at their center. These schools also have to obtain EnduTrust if they recruit international students.
The below is described scheme of Singapore’s education system: