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Education in Singapore

Education in Singapore
Education in Singapore Educational oversight Ministry of Education Minister Ng Eng Hen National education budget Primary language(s) Curriculum system Competency-based curriculum Literacy (2006) • Men • Women Enrollment • Primary • Secondary • Post-secondary Attainment • Secondary diploma • Post-secondary diploma Education in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education (MOE), which controls the development and administration of state schools receiving government funding, but also has an advisory and supervisory role in respect of private schools. For both private and state schools, there are variations in the extent of autonomy in their curriculum, scope of government aid and funding, tuition burden on the students, and admission policy.[1] Children with disabilities attend special education (SPED) schools run by Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs), which are partially funded by the Ministry of Education. Education spending usually makes up about 20 per cent of the annual national budget, which subsidises state education and government-assisted private education for Singaporean citizens and funds the Edusave programme, the costs for which are significantly higher for non-citizens. In 2000 the Compulsory Education Act[2] codified compulsory education for children of primary school age, and made it a criminal 95.4% % % 532225 290261 213063 28901 S$6.966 billion (2006) English offence for parents to fail to enroll their children in school and ensure their regular attendance.[3] Exemptions are allowed for homeschooling or full-time religious institutions, but parents must apply for exemption from the Ministry of Education and meet a minimum benchmark.[4]. Special needs children are automatically exempted from compulsory education. In Singapore, English is the first language learned by half the children by the time they reach preschool age and becomes the primary medium of instruction by the time they reach primary school. English is the language of instruction for most subjects, especially mathematics and the natural sciences; the official Mother Tongue languages are generally not taught in English, although there is provision for the use of English at the initial stages. Certain schools, such as secondary schools under the Special Assistance Plan (SAP), which encourages a richer use of the mother tongue, may teach occasionally in English and another language. A few schools have been experimenting with curricula that integrate language subjects with mathematics and the sciences, using both English and a second language. Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew developed the idea of English as a common language in Singapore that both connected citizens of all ethnic-cultural backgrounds, so no ethnic group is forced to learn the language of another, and tied Singapore to the world economy.

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Education in Singapore
are taught throughout Primary 1 to 6. Science is taught from Primary 3 onwards.

Orientation stage
All pupils advance to the orientation stage after Primary 4, where English Language, Mother Tongue and Mathematics are taught at the appropriate level according to the pupil’s ability. Schools are given the flexibility to develop their own examinations to match pupils with the levels that suit them. The streaming system has been adjusted: previously, pupils were divided at Primary 5 to the EM1, EM2 and EM3 (English and Mother Tongue at 1st, 2nd and 3rd language respectively) streams, but since 2008 they are streamed according to subject. They can take their Mother Tongue at the higher, standard or foundation levels; Science and Maths can be taken at the standard or foundation levels.

Kindergartens in Singapore provide up to three years of pre-school for children ages three to six. The three years are commonly called Nursery, Kindergarten 1 (K1) and Kindergarten 2 (K2), respectively. Kindergartens provide an environment for children to learn how to interact with others, and to prepare them for formal education at primary school. Activities include learning language and numbers, development of personal and social skills, games, music, and outdoor play. Children learn two languages, English and their official mother tongue (Chinese, Malay, or Tamil). Many private or church-based kindergartens might not offer Malay or Tamil, so non-Chinese pupils might also learn some Chinese in these kindergartens. The kindergartens are run by the private sector, including community foundations, religious bodies, and civic or business groups. There are more than 200 kindergartens registered with the Ministry of Education. Kindergartens are also run by child care centres as well as international schools.

Primary School Leaving Examination
At the end of Primary 6, the national Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is held. The examination determines whether the student is ready to leave primary school by passing; places in secondary schools are allocated according to students’ performance in the examination.

Secondary education
Based on results of the PSLE, students are placed in different secondary education tracks or streams: "Special", "Express", "Normal (Academic)", or "Normal (Technical)"

Primary education
Primary education, normally starting at age six, is a four-year foundation stage (Primary 1 to 4) and a two-year orientation stage (Primary 5 to 6). Primary education is compulsory and free, though there is a fee of up to SGD 13 monthly per student to help cover miscellaneous costs.

Foundation stage
The foundation stage is the first stage of formal schooling. The four years, from primary 1 to 4, provide a foundation in English, mother tongue (which includes Chinese, Malay, Tamil or a Non-Tamil Indian Language (NTIL)) and Mathematics. Other subjects include Civics and Moral Education, arts and crafts, music, health education, social studies, and physical education, which

Students having assembly in the hall of a secondary school in Singapore.


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Education in Singapore

"Special" and Express are four-year an International Baccalaureate Diploma or to courses leading up to a Singapore-Cambridge an A-level exam, most students are streamed General Certificate of Education Ordinaryinto a wide range of course combinations at level (O-level) exam. The difference between the end of their second year, bringing the these two courses is that in the "Special" total number of subjects they have to sit at Ostream, students take ’Higher Mother level to between six to ten, with English, Tongue’ (available for Chinese, Malay and Mother Tongue or Higher Mother Tongue Tamil only) instead of ’Mother Tongue’. A Language, Mathematics, one Science and pass in the Higher Mother Tongue ’O’ Level one Humanities Elective being compulsory. Examination constitutes the fulfilment of the Several new subjects such as Computing and Mother Tongue requirement in Singapore, Theatre Studies and Drama are being introwhereas Normal Mother Tongue Students duced in tandem with the Ministry of Educawill have to go through one more year of tion’s revised curriculum. Subjects usually study in their Mother Tongue after their ’O’ taken at O-Level are: Levels to take the ’AS’ Level Mother Tongue Examinations and fulfil the MOE’s requirement. A foreign language, either French, German, or Japanese, can be taken in addition to the mother tongue or can replace it. This is especially popular with students who are struggling with their mother tongues, expatriates, or students returning from abroad. Non-Chinese students may also study Chinese and non-Malay students Malay as a third language. This programme is known as CSP (Chinese Special Programme) and MSP (Malay Special Programme). Mother Tongue teachers conduct these lessons in school The Ministry of Education Language Centre. after usual hours. Students of Higher Mother Tongue languages are allowed to have up to Languages group: two points taken off their O-level scoring,[5] a 1. English language scoring system discussed below where a lower value is considered better, if they meet 2. Mother tongue languages (Chinese language, Malay language and Tamil set benchmarks. The Ministry of Education language) Language Centre (MOELC) provides free lan3. Non-Tamil Indian Languages (Hindi, guage education for most additional lanGujarati, Punjabi, Urdu languages) guages that other schools may not cover, and provides the bulk of such education, admit- 4. Higher Mother Tongue Languages (Higher Chinese language, Higher Malay language ting several thousand students each year. and Higher Tamil language) Normal is a four-year course leading up to a Normal-level (N-level) exam, with the pos- 5. Foreign Languages (French, German, Japanese) sibility of a fifth year followed by an O-level. 6. Other Third Languages (Chinese language Normal is split into Normal (Academic) and and Malay language) Normal (Technical). In Normal (Technical), Humanities group: students take subjects of a more technical nature, such as Design and Technology, while 1. Humanities electives (History/geography/ literature electives and social studies) in Normal (Academic) students are prepared 2. History to take the O-level exam and normally take subjects such as Principles of Accounting. In 3. Geography 2004, the Ministry of Education announced 4. Literature in English that selected students in the Normal course 5. Chinese literature would have an opportunity to sit for the O- 6. Malay literature level exam directly without first taking the N- 7. Tamil literature 8. Higher art (Art Elective Programme) level exam. With the exception of schools offering the 9. Higher music (Music Elective Programme) Integrated Programme, which leads to either 10. Principles of Account


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Mathematics & Science Group: 1. Mathematics 2. Additional mathematics 3. Combined sciences (Physics & Chemistry) 4. Combined sciences (Chemistry & Biology) 5. Combined sciences (Biology & Physics) 6. Physics 7. Chemistry 8. Biology 9. Integrated Sciences Others: 1. General art 2. Design and technology 3. Music 4. Computer Applications 5. Elements of Office Administration (until 2008) 6. Elements of Business Skills (2009 onwards) 7. Food and nutrition 8. Religious studies (Confucian Ethics, Buddhist Studies, Islamic Religious Knowledge, Bible Studies, Sikh Studies, etc.) 9. O-Level School-Initiated Electives [OSIEs] (Economics, Computer Studies, etc.) The list above is not exhaustive, and does not include new subjects such as Computing and Theatre Studies and Drama, or less common subjects, such as Integrated Sciences. Compulsory Subjects for a GCE ’O’ Level candidate 1. English Language 2. Mother Tongue (Chinese, Tamil, Malay) 3. Mathematics (Elementary) 4. Combined Humanities (SS+GEOGE/HISE/ LITE/ECONSE) 5. Science (Either 1 combined science or 2 pure sciences) 6. One other subject (Art, POA, DnT, FnN etc) Candidates must take at least 6 subjects which must include the above core (EL, MT, MA, HUM, SCI) subjects. • • • •

Education in Singapore
A1/A2 (Distinction) B3/B4 (Merit) C5/C6 (Credit/Pass) D7 (Sub-Pass/fail, that is, passing at a lower standard in the exam or fail) • E8/F9 (Fail) A student’s overall academic performance is measured through several points scoring system (such as the L1R5, L1B5 and L1R4 scoring system) depending on which type of postsecondary institution a student is intending to apply for. Each grade has a point value respective to it, for example, with grade A1 being 1 point, A2 being 2 points, and B3 being 3 points. Thus, the fewer the points obtained, the better the score. For example, in the L1R5 scoring system, the student’s L1 or first language (either English or Higher Mother Tongue Language) and R5 or relevant 5 subjects (which must include at least one from the Science & Mathematics group, one from the Humanities group, and excluding subjects such as Religious Studies, Mother Tongue "B" and CCA). Consequently, an L1R5 score of 6 points is considered the best score attainable for entrance to a Junior College. A student requires an L1R5 score of below 20 points to be eligible for Junior College. On top of that, students must also pass English and Mother Tongue. For non-major examinations, several schools use a Mean Subject Grade (MSG) scoring system, while schools running the Integrated Programme (IP) may also use the Grade Point Assessment (GPA) scoring system.

Co-Curricular activities
"Co-Curricular Activities" (CCA) are compulsory at the secondary level, where all pupils must participate in at least one core activity, and participation is graded together with other achievements throughout the four years in a scoring system known as LEAPS ("Leadership, Enrichment, Achievement, Participation, Service"). There are many co-curricular activities offered at the secondary level, and each student is judged based in these areas. Competitions and performances are regularly organized. Co-curricular activities are often categorized under the following: Uniformed Groups, Performing Arts, Clubs & Societies and Sports & Games. Students may also participate in more than 1 CCA.

Grade and scoring systems
Most schools commonly follow the kind of grading system awarded at the SingaporeCambridge GCE "O" level examination, which a student sits at the end of four or five years of secondary education, taking at least 6 subjects. The level of achievement in each subject is indicated by the grade obtained, with A1 being the highest achievable grade and F9 the lowest:


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Education in Singapore
population. A second selection used to be conducted at Primary 6 for those who do well in the PSLE, but this was discontinued after it was found to be too difficult for these students to catch up with the programme. In the programme, pupils are offered special enrichment programmes to cater for their needs. However, not all students in GEP are successful. Some are not accustomed to the fast pace of study which affects their performance in the core subjects and may choose not to continue the programme at the secondary level. The Secondary School Gifted Education Programme was discontinued at the end of 2008 as more students take the Integrated Programme (IP).[6]

Uniformed Groups
The main uniform groups are NCC (National Cadet Corps), NPCC (National Police Cadet Corps), NCDCC (National Civil Defence Cadet Corps), St John Ambulance Brigade, Red Cross Youth, Singapore Scout Association, Girl Guides, the Boys Brigade and the Girls Brigade. Students are expected to learn drills and must wear the respective uniforms. This is to prepare male students for National Service (NS) when they reach the age of 18. Besides military drills, they also learn skills such as team-bonding and first-aid.

Performing Arts
Performing Arts CCAs vary from school to school, although most will include the Choir, Military/Concert/Symphonic Band, Dance groups for different ethnic cultures, Drama and Debate. Most are oriented towards performing and the musical arts.

Integrated Programme

Clubs and societies
There is a broad range of clubs and societies, ranging from Singapore Youth Flying Club to Robotics, Media and Infocomm Clubs and martial arts.

Gifted Education Programme
The Gifted Education Programme (GEP) was set up by the Ministry of Education in 1984 amid some public concern to cater to the intellectually gifted students. As of 2005, the schools participating consisted of 9 primary schools — Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), Catholic High School (Primary), Henry Park Primary School, Nan Hua Primary School, Nanyang Primary School, Rosyth School, Tao Nan School, St. Hilda’s Primary School, and Raffles Girls’ Primary School. Seven secondary schools originally started the programme, but with the introduction of the Integrated Programme, most have folded the GEP programmes into their IP curriculum. The two remaining secondary GEP schools are AngloChinese School (Independent), an independent all-boys IB School, and Dunman High School, a mixed autonomous government school; the autonomous all-boys Victoria School had to suspend GEP classes due to low enrolment, with GEP students preferring IP schools. Pupils enter the programme through a series of tests at Primary 3, which will identify the top 1 per cent of the student

Raffles Institution, founded in 1823, is one of the schools in Singapore that currently offers the Integrated Programme. The Integrated Programme, also known as the "Through-Train Programme" (???), is a scheme which allows the most able secondary students in Singapore to bypass "O" levels and take "A" levels, International Baccalaureate or an equivalent examination directly at the age of 18 after six years of secondary education. The programme allows for more time to be allocated to enrichment activities. By bypassing the GCE "O" level examinations, the students are supposedly given more time and flexibility to immerse themselves in a more broadly-based education. In addition, the students enjoy more freedom in the combination of subjects between Year 1 - 4 as compared to their non-IP counterparts. Generally, only the top performers (usually from Special, and sometimes Express, stream) are eligible to be


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part of the IP programme. This will ensure that the main body of the students pursue their secondary education at their own pace by first completing a 4-year "O" level course before going on to a 2-year "A" level education (as opposed to a 2-year "O" level and 4-year "A" level education). As a result, schools operating the IP programme allow their students to skip the "O" levels at Secondary 4 and go straight into junior colleges (JCs) in Year5/JC1. The Integrated Programme or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme has become an increasingly popular alternative to normal secondary education as it is seen to have moved away from the emphasis on the mere sciences, a side effect from the post-independence need for quick and basic education, to more refined subjects such as philosophy or political science, as well as the fact that scientific concepts are more heavily emphasised than before, as it is judged on the work of the student, rather than through an examination. The first batch of IP students sat for the revised GCE "A" Level or International Baccalaureate Diploma examinations in 2007. Some of the schools which offer the IP / IB programmes in Singapore are: • Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) (IP IB) • Dunman High School (IP + Bicultural Studies Programme) • National Junior College (IP) • NUS High School of Mathematics and Science (IP - NUS High School Diploma) • Nanyang Girls’ High School (IP + Bicultural Studies Programme) • River Valley High School (IP + Bicultural Studies Programme) • Temasek Junior College (IP + Chinese Language elective Programme) • Hwa Chong Institution (IP + Bicultural Studies Programme) • Raffles Junior College (IP) • Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) • Raffles Institution • Victoria Junior College (IP)

Education in Singapore
determine which pre-universities or post-secondary institutions they may apply for. Preuniversity centres include junior colleges for a two-year course leading up to GCE ’A’ Level, or the Millennia Institute for a threeyear course leading up to GCE ’A’ Level. Both junior colleges and the Millennia Institute accept students on merit, with a greater emphasis on academics than professional technical education. Students who wishes to pursue for a professional-centred diploma education go on instead to post-secondary institutions such as the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Admission to a two-year pre-university course at junior colleges after graduating from secondary school is determined by the L1R5 (first language + 5 relevant subjects) scoring system. This scoring system is based on the ’O’ Level subject grades, which range from A1 (best) to F9 (worst). The candidate adds the numerical grades for six different subjects: English (or another language taken at the ’first language’ level), a Humanities subject, a Science/Mathematics subject, a Humanities/Science/Mathematics subject, and two other subjects of any kind. The best L1R5 unmodified score is therefore 6, for a student with A1 grades in six subjects which meet the criteria. Students scoring 20 points and below may be admitted for either a Science or Arts Course. In addition, a student must also achieve at least a C6 grade, which is 50% or higher, in the GCE ’O’ Level English Language and Mathematics papers in order to qualify for junior college admission. Pre-university centres that are particularly associated with academic excellence, however, usually expect students to attain points in the single digits, in order to be admitted. This is because the system is merit-driven, with places given to those with lower scores first. For admission to a three-year pre-university course at the Millennia Institute, the L1R4 (first language + 4 relevant subjects) scoring system is used, and students are expected to score below 20 points to be admitted. Students may opt for any of the science, arts or commerce streams when pursuing a three-year pre-university course. For students seeking admission to diploma courses in polytechnics, the L1R2B2 (first language + 2 relevant subjects + 2 best subjects of any kind) scoring system is used. However, students will also be required to

Admission to post-secondary institutions
Upon completion of the 4- or 5-year secondary school education, students (excluding IP students) will participate in the annual Singaporean GCE ’O’ Level, the results of which


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meet specific prerequisites outlined by the different polytechnic schools they are applying for. Students applying for courses in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Colleges will also have an independent scoring system, depending on the course they are applying for. Bonus points can be deducted from a student’s raw score, thus lowering it. These bonus points may come from either scoring an ’A’ or ’B’ grade in CCA, taking Higher Mother Tongue Language and obtaining a minimum of ’D7’, or through affiliation (for feeder schools). Bonus points are capped at 4, except for those applying to schools offering Chinese Language Elective Programme (CLEP) or Malay Language Elective Programme (MLEP).

Education in Singapore
• Raffles Junior College (RJC, established 1982) • Saint Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC, established 1978) • Serangoon Junior College (SRJC, established 1988) • Tampines Junior College (TJC, established 1986) • Temasek Junior College (TJC, established 1977) • Victoria Junior College (VJC, established 1984) • Yishun Junior College (YJC, established 1986) Originally, junior colleges in Singapore were designed to offer an accelerated alternative to the traditional three-year programme, but the two-year programme they offer has become the norm for students pursuing university education. JCs have also become synonymous with prestigious education. The Public Service Commission and other coveted scholarships (such as the FireFly, A*STAR and the President’s Scholarship) are largely or exclusively reserved for these students. JCs accept students based on their GCE "O" Level results; an L1R5 score of 20 points or less must be attained for a student to gain admission. JCs provide a 2-year course leading up to the Singapore-Cambridge GCE Advanced Level ("A" level) examination. The CI accepts students based on their GCE "O" Level results; an L1R4 score of 20 points or less must be attained for a student to gain admission. The MI provides a 3-year course leading up to the Advanced Level (UK) ("A" level) examinations.

The pre-university centres of Singapore are designed for upper-stream students (roughly the top 20%-25% of the cohort) who wish to pursue a university degree after two to three years of pre-university education, rather than stopping after polytechnic post-secondary education. There are currently 18 Junior Colleges (JCs) and a Centralised Institute (CI), the Millennia Institute (MI, established 2004), with the National Junior College (NJC, established 1969) being the oldest and Innova Junior College (IJC, established 2005) the youngest. • Anderson Junior College (AJC, established 1984) • Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) (ACS(I)) • Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC, established 1977) • Catholic Junior College (CJC, established 1975) • Hwa Chong Junior College/Hwa Chong Institution (HCJC/HCI, established 1974) • Innova Junior College (IJC, established 2005) • Jurong Junior College (JJC, established 1981) • Meridian Junior College (MJC, establishe 2003) • National Junior College (NJC, established 1969) • Nanyang Junior College (NYJC, established 1977) • Pioneer Junior College (PJC, established 1999)

Funding and scholarships
Students in most junior colleges and centralised institute pay subsidised school fees of SGD 6 and up to SGD 22 per month for other miscellaneous equipment and special programme fees, depending on the status and programmes offered by the college. However, certain independent junior colleges, such as Hwa Chong Institution and Raffles Institution (Junior College), will require new students to pay fees of SGD 300 per month. Scholarships and bursaries are provided for students whose score falls within the 95th percentile from the O-levels, and for students requiring financial assistance. Under these schemes, they are only required to pay an amount equivalent to the school fees of a non-


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independent junior college. Bursary holders are required to pay a fraction of the full fees, based on their family income. A student whose household salary is SGD 2000 (75% of an average Singapore household income) is required to pay 75% of the full school fees, while another whose household income is less than SGD 1000 per month has only to pay 25%. There are also MOE pre-university scholarships awarded to academically able students who choose to pursue and specialise their education at a junior college, providing yearly scholarship allowance and remission of school fees. These scholarships include the Pre-University Scholarship, which provides a scholarship allowance of SGD 750 per annum, as well as specialised scholarships such as the Humanities Scholarship, Art Elective Programme Scholarship, Language Elective Programme (French, German & Japanese) Scholarship and Music Elective Programme Scholarship which provide scholarship allowances of SGD1000 per annum in addition to a remission of school fees as well as additional grants for overseas trips or programmes (ranging from SGD 1,000 to SGD 2,000).

Education in Singapore
on the basis of talent which can range from the academic to the cultural and performing arts to sports. Upon acceptance, students will be automatically admitted to the college irrespective of the year’s JAE cut-off score, although students will still have to meet the minimum criteria of scoring an L1R5 of below 20 points for entrance into a junior college (although most JCs tend to require a minimum score of 15 points and below to avoid the student struggling academically). In the JAE, students will have to compete nationally on the basis of their academic scores and credentials to gain admission to their college of choice. In the past, there used to be two intakes, namely the Provisional Admissions Exercise (PAE) and the Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE). However, from the 2009 academic year onwards, a single intake system is being implemented with the Singapore-Cambridge GCE ’O’ Examinations being brought forward to minimise movement and excessive administration work involved in the two-intake system.

Admissions and matriculation

A-level curriculum and examinations
From January 2006, the two-year and threeyear pre-university curriculum framework in pre-university centres was replaced with a new and revised curriculum with the first batch of students sitting for the GCE "A" Level examinations in 2007. In this newly enforced curriculum, the system of categorising subjects according to "Alternative Ordinary (AO)", "Advanced (A)" and "Special (S)" papers or levels has been scrapped and is replaced with the Higher One (H1), Higher 2 (H2) and Higher 3 (H3) categories. H1 subjects are worth 1 Academic Units (AU), H2 subjects 2 AUs, H3 subjects 1 AUs and students are expected to take a minimum of 10 AUs (viz. 3H2+1H1) and a maximum of 12 AUs (viz. 4H2) inclusive of Mother Tongue Language (MTL), Project Work and General Paper or Knowledge & Inquiry. Students who have taken Higher Mother Tongue language paper at the GCE "O" Level and have obtained a minimum grade of ’D7’ are exempted from taking formal MTL lessons and examinations, albeit still having to attend MTLrelated enrichment and not being allowed to replace the MTL unit with another subject as

The Provisional Admission Exercise is a transitional period of 3 months in junior colleges that allows students to have a ’feel’ of JC life. There are two ways to be admitted into a pre-university centre: either through the traditional Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) or through Direct School Admission (DSA). In the JAE, students apply for admission using their Singapore-Cambridge GCE ’O’ Examinations scores, while in DSA, which is conducted roughly half a year earlier, students apply directly to the various colleges for placement


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MTL is still regarded as an integral component of the curriculum. In tandem with the MOE’s aim of achieving more depth rather than mere breadth, the H1 and H2 categories complement each other; in general, a subject taken at H1 is half the breadth of that taken at H2, but is of the same depth and difficulty. For example, students studying Mathematics at H1 will study lesser Pure Mathematics topics (which are largely Physics-related) than those studying Mathematics at H2, but will still face the same depth and difficulty in similar topics (such as Statistics). As such, an H1 paper can theoretically be said to be half of the content of an H2 paper albeit being at equal depth and difficulty (as opposed to how "AO" level subjects were merely easier papers than the "A" level subjects previously). Subsequently, for certain subjects such as History, students taking the subject at H1 level will only sit for Paper 1 (International History from 1945-2000), while students taking the subject at H2 level will sit for the same Paper 1 (International History from 1945-2000) in addition to having to sit for Paper 2 (Southeast Asian History from 1900-1997) as well. Students taking Science subjects such as Physics, Chemistry or Biology at H1 will only sit for the Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ) and one written paper, and are not required to take the SPA or Practical examination as those taking the subjects at H2. Consequently, this new grouping system bears some resemblance to the International Baccalaureate Diploma A1/A2/SL/HL grouping system. The new curriculum framework gives students more choice of subjects to choose from and enables more permutations of subject combinations. However, unlike in the old curriculum which was criticised for being too specialised and unholistic, students are now required to take up at least one contrasting subject - i.e. Science students have to take up at least one Arts/Humanities subject, while Arts/Humanities students must take up at least one Science-based subject. For example, subjects previously not available to Arts/Humanities students such as Physics, Chemistry and Biology are now made possible at both H1 and H2 levels, while Science students now have more choice of doing an Arts/Humanities subject (such as Literature) at either H1 or H2 level. Alternatively, students can choose to take up a new subject,

Education in Singapore
Knowledge & Inquiry, in lieu of the General Paper (GP) as a contrasting subject, as Knowledge & Inquiry (KI) is designed to expose students to Epistemology as well as to the construction and nature of knowledge, thus calling for the need to learn across disciplines such as Mathematics, the Sciences and the Humanities. KI is said to be similar to the IB Diploma’s Theory of Knowledge paper, albeit more difficult, as students have to both sit an examination paper and write a 2500-3000-word Independent Study research paper. Due to its intensive nature, KI is classified as an H2 subject instead of an H1 subject like the General Paper (GP). The "highest" level subjects, the H3 subjects, are meant to be more pragmatic and promote critical thinking unlike the previous "S" Papers. Under the revised curriculum, H3 subjects are examined either in the form of Research Papers (be it by Cambridge, or by local Universities), Research work (such as the HSSRP and A*Star Research Programmes) or (advanced) University Modules offered by the various local Universities which are approved by the MOE. Consequently, students are able to gain extra credits and skip several modules in the University with the H3 paper done with their other GCE "A" Level subjects. However, in order to do an H3 subject, students must be offering the corresponding subject at H2 level. H3 subjects are not offered in Millennia Institute and SRJC. In general, the subjects offered under the new Singapore-Cambridge GCE "A" Level Examinations are (list is not exhaustive): Science & Mathematics Group: Offered at both H1 & H2 level: Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics Offered only at H2 Level: Computing Languages Group: Offered only at H1 Level: Chinese Language, Malay Language, Tamil Language Offered at both H1 & H2 Level: French, German, Japanese Note: Language Subjects taken at H1 do not qualify as contrasting subject(s) for Science students. Only Language Elective Programme (LEP) students are offered to study French, German or Japanese at H2 level. Humanities and the Arts Group: Offered at H1 level only: General Studies in Chinese (GSC) Offered at both H1 & H2 level: Economics, Geography, History, Literature in English,


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History in Chinese, China Studies in English, China Studies in Chinese Offered only at H2 Level: Chinese Language & Literature, Malay Language & Literature, Tamil Language & Literature, Theatre Studies & Drama, Art, Music (Higher Art and Higher Music is offered to Art Elective (AEP) and Music Elective Programme (MEP) students respectively) Commerce Group (for CI only) Offered at H2 level: Principles of Accounting, Management of Business Offered at H1 and H2 level: Economics Others: H3 Subjects: 1.Research Papers: Papers are offered by Cambridge for all core subjects including new "hybrid" subjects such as Proteomics, Pharmaceutical chemistry and Essentials of Modern Physics 2.Research Programmes: Humanities and Social Sciences Research Programme (HSSRP) by National University of Singapore, NUS Science Research Programme by NUS(NUS SRP), H3 STAR Science Research Programme (only offered to students of NJC), H3 NAV Science Research Programme (only offered to students of VJC). 3.University Modules: Modules such as "Geopolitics: Geographies of War and Peace" for Geography and History students and "Managerial Economics" for Economics students are offered and examined by the National University of Singapore. NTU will also be offering several modules in 2007. Other Subjects: Offered only at H1 level: Project Work, General Paper (for those who do not take KI) Offered only at H2 Level: Knowledge & Inquiry Previously, students take two subjects at "Alternative Ordinary" level ("AO" level), namely their General Paper (GP) and Mother Tongue, and three or four subjects at "A" level. "A" level subjects include Economics, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English Literature, History, Geography, Art, Art with Higher Art ("A" level) taken by students in the Art Elective Programme, Theatre Studies and Drama, Computing, Higher Chinese, Chinese ("A" level) Language Elective Programme, Music ("A" level), Music with Higher Music ("A" Level) taken by students in the Music

Education in Singapore
Elective Programme, General Studies in Chinese, French, German, Japanese ("A" level), Malay ("A’ level), Tamil ("A" level). Project Work was also made compulsory from 2003. To gain admittance to local universities, students must pass the General Paper (GP) or Knowledge & Inquiry (KI) and obtain a minimum grade of S for the "AO" or "H1" level Mother Tongue Language paper. The grade obtained for the Higher Mother Tongue paper taken at "O" level may be used in lieu of an "AO" or "H1" level Mother Tongue Language grade. From 2008 onwards, the scores of a student’s three H2 and one H1 subject will be computed inclusive of Project Work (PW) and either GP or KI for admittance into local universities (namely NUS, NTU, SMU and UniSIM).

Elective Programmes offered in Junior Colleges
Art, Music & Language Elective Programmes. Humanities Programme.

Centralised Institutes
The Centralised Institutes accept students based on their GCE "O" level results and their L1R4 score (which must be 20 points or below). A Centralised Institute provides a three-year course leading up to a GCE "A" level examination. There were originally four Centralized Institutes: Outram Institute, Townsville Institute, Jurong Institute and Seletar Institute. Townsville Institute and Seletar Institute stopped accepting new students after the 1995 school year and closed down after the last batch of students graduated in 1997. There currently remains only one Centralised Institute in Singapore, the Millennia Institute, which was formed following the merger of Jurong and Outram Institutes. Additionally, only Centralised Institutes offer the Commerce Stream offering subjects such as Principles of Accounting and Management of Business. The standard of teaching and curriculum is identical to that of the Junior Colleges.

Diploma and vocational education

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Education in Singapore
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Producing for graduates of the School’s Film and Media Studies department. Nanyang Polytechnic, likewise, has tied up with the University of Stirling in Scotland to provide a course in Retail Marketing.

Institute of Technical Education
The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) accepts students based on their GCE "O" level or GCE "N" level results and they provide 2-year courses leading to a locally recognised "National ITE Certificate." There are 10 ITE Colleges in Singapore. A few ITE graduates continue their education at polytechnics and universities. ITE students are sometimes seen as being less capable and possibly less successful than polytechnic or JC students. Recent speeches by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister of Education Tharman Shanmugaratnam have pointed out that there can be different definitions and types of success, in a bid to work towards a more inclusive society. However, this has mostly been lip service, with little concrete action being taken to give ITE students greater recognition or address the stigmatisation that exists. This is admittedly a difficult job as such views have been ingrained in society for many years. ITE provides three main levels of certification: • Master National ITE Certificate (Master Nitec) • Higher National ITE Certificate (Higher Nitec) • National ITE Certificate (Nitec) There are also other skills certification through part-time apprenticeship courses conducted jointly by ITE and industrial companies.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic is one of the five polytechnics in Singapore.

Polytechnics in Singapore provide 3-year diploma courses and, they accept students based on their GCE "O" level, GCE "A" level or Institute of Technical Education (ITE) results. Polytechnics offer a wide range of courses in various fields, including engineering, business studies, accountancy, tourism and hospitality management, mass communications, digital media and biotechnology. There are also specialised courses such as marine engineering, nautical studies, nursing, and optometry. They provide a more industry-oriented education as an alternative to junior colleges for post-secondary studies. About 40% of each Primary 1 cohort would enrol in Polytechnics.[7] There are five polytechnics in Singapore, namely: • Nanyang Polytechnic • Ngee Ann Polytechnic • Republic Polytechnic • Singapore Polytechnic • Temasek Polytechnic Graduates of polytechnics with good grades can continue to pursue further tertiary education at the universities, and many overseas universities, notably those in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, give exemptions for modules completed in Polytechnic. Polytechnics have also been actively working with many foreign universities to provide their graduates a chance to study niche University Courses locally. For example, Ngee Ann Polytechnic has engaged with Chapman University in the U.S. to provide a

A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education. Singapore currently has two fully-fledged public universities (National University of Singapore & Nanyang Technological University), and two fully-fledged private universities (SMU & UniSIM). However, UniSIM accepts only adult learners in general, so A-


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
level students may apply only to SMU, NUS, NTU, several foreign university offshore campuses, and more than ten other private tertiary institutions offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The Nanyang Technological University and National University of Singapore each have more than 20,000 students and provide a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes including doctoral degrees. Both are also established research universities with thousands of research staff and graduate students. A third university, Singapore Management University (SMU), opened in 2000 focusing on business and management courses. Although it is a private university, it is funded by the government. The forth university, privately-run SIM University (UniSIM), opened in 2006. The University of New Brunswick, Queen Margaret University, The City University of New York, Baruch College, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Aventis School of Management, Curtin University of Technology & University of Wales Institute, Cardiff have established offshore campuses in Singapore to provide local and foreign (in particular, Asian) students the opportunity to obtain a Western university education at a fraction of the cost it would take to study in Canada, the UK, the U.S.A. or Australia. University of New Brunswick College, Singapore, Queen Margaret University, Asia Campus, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Asia began operations in Singapore between 2007 and 2008, with the Curtin University of Technology Singapore Campus & University of Wales Institute, Cardiff: Asia Campus due to join them in December 2008. The government has announced plans to set up a fourth public university to meet the rising demand for university education. This is expected to begin operations in Changi by 2011.[8] See also: List of universities in Singapore

Education in Singapore

Building of ACS (International), one of the newest international schools. Singapore pay part or all of their employees’ children’s school fees. International and private schools in Singapore generally do not admit Singapore students without permission from the Ministry of Education. However, on 29 April 2004 the Ministry of Education permitted two new international schools to be set up without permission being needed to admit Singapore students. These school must follow the compulsory policies set by the Ministry such as playing the national anthem and taking the pledge every morning, as well as following the nation’s policies on bilingualism. Both of these schools are private school arms of two renowned schools -- Anglo-Chinese School (International) and Hwa Chong International. The school fees are around 15 to 20 percent lower than those of foreign international schools. Their intake is mainly Singaporeans, with nationalities from various countries including Malaysia, India, People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Netherlands, Indonesia and the United Kingdom.

Education policies
Meritocracy is a basic political ideology in Singapore and a fundamental principle in the education system which aims to identify and groom bright young students for positions of leadership. The system places a great emphasis on academic performance in grading students and granting their admission to special programmes and universities, though this has raised concerns about breeding

International and private schools
Due to its large expatriate community, Singapore is host to many international schools, one of which, the Singapore American School has one of the largest intakes of international students in the world. Most employers in


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
elitism.[9] Academic grades are considered as objective measures of the students’ ability and effort, irrespective of their social background.[10] Having good academic credentials is seen as the most important factor for the students’ career prospects in the job market, and their future economic status.[11] Curricula are therefore closely tied to examinable topics, and the competitiveness of the system led to a proliferation of ten-year series, which are compilation books of past examination papers that students use to prepare for examinations.

Education in Singapore

Financial assistance
Education policy in Singapore is designed to ensure that no child is left behind in education even if they do not have the financial capacity to pay school fees. Therefore, school fees in public schools are heavily subsidized, so that students pay as little as SGD 13 for fees.[16] In addition, there are many possible assistance schemes from either the government or welfare organisations to help students cope with finances during their studies. Some of these are listed below.

Bilingualism (Mother Tongue)
Bilingualism, or mother tongue policy, is a cornerstone of the Singapore education system. While English is the first language and the medium of instruction in schools, most students are required to take a "Mother Tongue" subject, which could be one of the three official languages: Chinese, Malay or Tamil. A non-Tamil Indian may choose to offer Tamil or a non-official language such as Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi or Urdu. Mother Tongue is a compulsory examinable subject at the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and the GCE "N", "O" and "A" level examinations. Students are required to achieve a certain level of proficiency in their mother tongue as a pre-requisite for admission to local universities. Students returning from overseas may be exempted from this policy.[12] The bilingual policy was first adopted in 1966.[13] One of its primary objectives is to promote English as the common (and neutral) language among the diverse ethnic groups in Singapore. The designation of English as the first language is also intended to facilitate Singapore’s integration into the world economy.[14] In recognition of Singapore’s linguistic and cultural pluralism, another stated objective of the bilingual policy is to educate students with their "mother tongues" so that they can learn about their culture, identify with their ethnic roots, and to preserve cultural traits and Asian values.[13] Within the Chinese population, Mandarin is promoted as a common language and other Chinese dialects are discouraged, to better integrate the community. In 1979, the Speak Mandarin Campaign was launched to further advance this goal.[15]

Financial Assistance Scheme
The Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) is an MOE programme to provide financial assistance for education to low income families with monthly household income of less than SGD 1,500 or SGD 1,800, depending on the number of children in the household.[17] Students eligible for FAS receive a full waiver of miscellaneous fees, and partial subsidy on national examination fees. They may also enjoy full or partial fee subsidy if they are in Independent Schools. In 2005, there were 15,000 recipients of FAS; MOE is expecting this number to increase to 33,500 following an enhancement of the FAS in 2006.[17]

Edusave Merit Bursary
Each year, the Edusave Merit Bursary (EMB) is given out to about 40,000 students, who are from lower-middle and low-income families and have good academic performance in their schools.[17]

Development and future plans
Student exchange programmes
About 120 of the 353 primary and secondary schools in Singapore have some form of exchange programmes which allow students to visit overseas schools. In 2005, the Ministry of Education set up a SGD 4.5 million School Twinning Fund to facilitate 9,000 primary and secondary school students to participate in these exchange programmes, particularly in ASEAN countries, China and India.[18]


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Government budget for education

Education in Singapore
SGD 5.2bn (2005)[20] at 19.3% of total budget, 3.1000053453467 of GDP 22.6 pupils (2006)[21] 18.4 pupils (2006)[21] 87.4% (2004)[19] 94.6% (2004)[19] 8.8 years (2004)[19]

Ratio of teaching staffs to student (Primary) Ratio of teaching staffs to student (Secondary) Enrolment ratio, aged 6-20 years Literacy rate (aged 15 years and above) Mean years of schooling (aged 25 years and above)

Resident non-students aged 15 years and over by highest qualification attained Highest qualification attained Total No qualification Primary - PSLE Lower secondary - Sec 1-3 Secondary - ’N’ & ’O’ levels Population (2000)[22] 2,277,401 445,444 276,542 248,598 560,570 Percentage (2000)[22] 100.0% 19.6% 12.1% 10.9% 24.6% 9.9% 6.2% 4.9% 11.7% Angle Sector (2000)[22] 360.0° 70.6° 43.6° 39.2° 88.6° 35.6° 22.3° 17.6° 42.1°

Upper secondary - ’A’ level, Nitec & 226,275 Higher Nitec Polytechnic - Diploma Other Diploma University - Degree, Masters & Ph. D 140,970 112,371 266,631

Key statistics
Sources: • Yearbook of Statistics Singapore, 2004[19] • Singapore Budget 2006[20] • Education Statistics Digest 2007[21]

International comparisons
International educational scores (1997)
(13-year-old’s average score, TIMSS Third International Math and Science Study, 1997)

Education qualification of population
Source: Census 2000.[22]

Countries: Global Maths Science (sample) rank Score Rank Score Rank Singapore Japan South Korea Czech Republic England Thailand Germany France 1 2 3 4 18 20 22 23 643 605 607 564 506 522 509 538 1 3 2 6 25 20 23 13 607 571 565 574 552 525 531 498 1 3 4 2 10 21 19 28

Schools and Enrollment
Source: Singapore Education Statistics Digest[23] 1. This category includes Full School, 6th Form School and JC Plus. 1. This Category include Full School, 6th Forms School and JC Plus.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Type of School Kindergarten Primary Secondary Government Government-aided Government Government-aided Autonomous Independent Mixed Level1 Government Autonomous Independent Junior College Centralised Institute Government Government-Aided Independent Type of School Primary Secondary Mixed Level1 Junior College Centralised Institute United States

Education in Singapore
Number of schools (2006)[23] 200+ (2004) 132 41 110 20 21 5 3 4 5 9 4 1 Number of teachers (2006)[23] 12,022 10,751 1,678 1,931

Enrollment (2006)[23] 282,793 200,358 26,888 22,186






Source: 1997 TIMSS, in The Economist, March 29th

Singapore students took first place in the 1995, 1999 and 2003 TIMSS Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. They used Singapore Math Primary Mathematics series. The national textbooks have been adapted into a series which has been successfully marketed in North America as a rival to Saxon math and an alternative to controversial standards-based mathematics curricula, which many parents complained moved too far away from the sort of traditional basic skills instruction exemplified by Singapore’s national curriculum.

Critics of the education system, including some parents, state that the education system is too specialised, rigid, and elitist. Often, these criticisms state that there is little emphasis on creative thinking, unlike education systems in other societies, such as

those in the United States. Those defending the current education system point out that Singaporean students have regularly ranked top when competing in international science and mathematics competitions and assessments. Detractors believe this is more an indication of students’ skills in using rote to prepare for a certain style of competition or examination than of their ability to think critically. In response to such concerns the Ministry of Education has recently introduced a greater focus on creative and critical thinking, and on learning for life-long skills rather than simply learning to excel in examinations. There have also been complaints about excessive educational streaming at a young age. A popular local film, I Not Stupid, highlights the competitiveness of the system and the social stigma that students struggling with studies have to face. Supporters of the system assert that the provision of differentiated curricula according to streams since the late 1970s has allowed students with different abilities and learning styles to develop and sustain an interest in their studies. This ability-driven


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
education has since been a key feature behind Singapore’s success in education, and was responsible for bringing drop-out rates down sharply. In recent years, while streaming still exists, various refinements to the policy have been made. There is now greater flexibility for students to cross over different streams or take subjects in other streams, which alleviates somewhat the stigma attached to being in any single stream. Furthermore, the government is now starting to experiment with ability-banding in other ways - such as subject-based banding in Primary Schools instead of banding by overall academic performance. By contrast, standards-based education reform in the United States seeks to eliminate tracking by setting one high standard and expectation for all. The principle of continuous improvement is thought to enable success for all students, although in most states, all groups still achieve at different levels in the current and foreseeable future. Mathematics reform in North America was driven by the NCTM standards in a direction away from mastery of basic skills.

Education in Singapore







[7] The Desired Outcomes of Education, speech by Education Minister Teo Chee Hean, 14 February 1998. [8] Forss, Pearl (2007-08-19). "Singapore looking into setting up fourth university". Channel NewsAsia. singaporelocalnews/view/294891/1/.html. Retrieved on 2007-08-23. [9] "Update on the University Sector". Ministry of Education, Singapore. 2004. yearbook/2006/higher/ more_flexibility_and_choice.html. [10] Mika Yamashita (2002). "Singapore Education Sector Analysis". Education Resources Information Center. Home.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=RecordDetail [11] Goh Chok Tong (2000). "National Day Rally Speech". [12] "Returning Singaporeans - Mother Tongue Policy". Ministry of Education, Singapore. 2006-08-25. mt.htm. [13] ^ "Interview: Chinese Language education in Singapore faces new opportunities". People’s Daily Online. 2005-05-13. "Singapore: Organisation and control of education system". eng20050513_184878.html.[14] Anne Pakir (1999). "Bilingual education organisation-mainstream.html. Retrieved with English as an official language: on 2006-05-01. Sociocultural implications" (pdf). "Statute". Ministry of Education, Georgetown University Press. Singapore. statute.htm. gurt_1999_25.pdf. "Compulsory Education Act (Chapter [15] "Speak Mandarin Campaign - History 51)". Singapore Statutes Online. 2000. and Background". Promote Mandarin Council. 2004. cgi-bin/ history.html?pg=8&mlid=8. "Singapore: Compulsory education". [16] Education Overview, Ministry of Education, Singapore Retrieved on 2006-05-01. [17] ^ More Financial Help for Children, "Benefits of studying a third language". Press Release, 22 February 2006, Ministry of Education. Ministry of Education, Singapore [18] Forss, Pearl (2005-10-13). "Education benefits.htm. Retrieved on May 8 2006. Ministry sets up $4.5m fund to facilitate "Gifted kids to take ’integrated’ path". student exchange programmes". Channel Channel NewsAsia Singapore. NewsAsia. 2006-09-21. singaporelocalnews/view/294891/1/ singaporelocalnews/view/231715/1/ .html. .html.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[19] ^ Yearbook of Statistics Singapore, 2004Link Dead [20] ^ Singapore Budget 2006, Ministry of Finance. [21] ^ Education Statistics Digest 2007, Ministry of Education [22] ^ Singapore Census 2000Link Dead

Education in Singapore
[23] ^ Education Statistics Digest 2006 Ministry of Education, Singapore.

External links
• Ministry of Education, Singapore • Pakstudy (Education in Singapore Section)

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