While most expatriates choose to enroll their children in international schools, the public school system in Singapore is excellent. Academic pressure is generally very high, however, and the teaching style is a stricter and more rigid than in many Western countries. Singapore’s public education system is particularly well known for producing students that are strong in maths and sciences. Full details of their curriculum can be found on the Singapore Education website. Parents of expatriate children should be aware that there is a very low international population in Singapore’s public schools, making the experience potentially difficult for a non-Singaporean child. Nevertheless, it’s arguable that Singapore schools offer the best Mandarin language programs and an excellent value for a good education.
While the Ministry of Education (MOE) no longer provides a ranked listing of schools, Nanyang Primary School, Raffles Girls’ Primary School, Nan Hua Primary, Tao Nan School, Rosyth School, Methodist Girls’ School, St. Hilda’s Primary School, and Henry Park Primary School are considered some of the best primary schools in Singapore.
Some of the secondary schools with excellent reputations include Anderson Secondary School, Anglo-Chinese School, Cedar Girls’ Secondary School, Crescent Girls’ School, Dunman High School, Nanyang Girls’ High School, Ngee Ann Secondary School, Raffles Girls’ School, Raffles Institution, River Valley High School, Tanjong Katong Secondary School, Xinmin Secondary School, Raffles Junior College, Temasek Junior College, and Victoria Junior College.
Public School Admissions
Expatriates on Employment or Entrepasses can apply for admissions to public government or government-aided schools through the Ministry of Education (MOE). If there are vacancies, students must obtain a Student Pass from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), unless they already hold Dependent Passes. School fees in such schools are vastly lower than in private schools, running from $6 to $150 per month depending on age level and type of public school, plus a biennial donation of $1000.
Applications for school admission of foreign students must be made using the prescribed form obtainable from the foreign student information website at http://www.moe.gov.sg/esp/foreign or directly from the schools of interest.
- Apply at School of Choice: The parent submits the application form together with supporting documents directly to the school of choice.
- Placement Testing and Acceptance Notification: The school will conduct a placement test for the applicant if there is a vacancy. If the applicant passes and the school accepts him/her, the school will issue a Letter of Acceptance (LOA). The LOA will indicate in-principle acceptance of the applicant to the school. The applicant can proceed to ICA to apply for a Student Pass. Acceptance to the school is subject to the applicant obtaining and returning with a student’s pass from Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) within 2 weeks from date of issue of the LOA. Applicants who are holding a Dependent Pass (DP) or an Immigration Exemption Order (IEO) are not required to apply for a Student Pass from ICA. He/She can be admitted by the school immediately upon passing the placement test (go to Step 5).
- Apply for Student Pass at ICA: The LOA is valid for 2 weeks from date of issue. Upon receiving the LOA, the applicant should proceed to ICA immediately to apply for a Student Pass. Applicant must produce the original LOA endorsed by the School to ICA.
- Return within 2 weeks with Student Pass: The applicant must return to school with a valid student’s pass within 2 weeks. The applicant will forfeit his/her admission to the school if he/she does not return within 2 weeks.
- Donation to the Education Fund: After the applicant has been successfully admitted to the school, the Ministry of Education will send a letter to him/her requesting for the biennial donation to the Education Fund, i.e $1,000 for every 2 years.
For further clarifications regarding the public school application process, contact the MOE Customer Service Centre at (65) 6872 2220 or via email at email@example.com.