Education in Singapore

Singapore is one of Asia’s success stories. The country has transformed itself from an underdeveloped country to a modern industrial economy. During this revolution, the education system of the country was also not left behind. The high quality of university education and international schools in Singapore is a point of pride, with public and private schools offering a huge range of qualifications.


Today, the school system of Singapore is considered the best worldwide. And this is not only restricted to high schools but also at the university levels, with the National University of Singapore being the highest ranking in Asia and outperforming renowned institutions worldwide.


If you are looking for an international schooling system that will push academic children, you have found the right country.

Education Facts about
the Singapore School System

* Primary school lasts for 6 years and secondary school lasts for 4 years, preparing children to move to a junior college (in preparation for university) or a polytechnic (for vocational training and adult learning).


* In 2018, there were 145 government primary schools and 41 primary schools receiving government funding in the country.


* Thanks to the emphasis on education, almost all (around 97%) of Singapore’s population over the age of 15 is literate.


* Singapore is a global leader for reading and science proficiency, ranking above Japan.

Why study in Singapore?


The City

As a multicultural nation, Singapore provides a wide range of opportunities for international students who are looking to experience a truly cosmopolitan lifestyle. Not only is Singapore a very clean city, it also has very low crime rates and the streets and public transportations are safe and secure for commuters.


​Top Notch Education System

Singapore is a popular study abroad destination because of its many education and career opportunities. Education is a priority in Singapore, and the nation is recognised as a ‘global schoolhouse’. Constantly ranked highly in the QS Best Student Cities Ranking, Singapore is the most desirable educational destinations in Asia and the world. With the city’s rapid development, Singapore’s education system has drastically evolved to adopt the western ideologies and methodologies.


Multicultural Society and English Language

There are 4 official languages in Singapore  – English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil – but the working language for government and business is English. The current population of Singapore is about 6.0 million people, with Chinese, Malay, Indian and other ethnic groups, and different religions, cultures and languages, all living together harmoniously.

Differences Between Public and Private Schools

There are many differences between public and private schools in Singapore, including the qualifications granted. Private schools are able to set their own qualifications and curriculum, whereas Singapore public schools offer the Singapore curriculum with GCE O-levels and Normal-level exams.


Another big difference is in the class sizes; public schools have a class size of 32 children on average, whereas private schools average out at 24 pupils per class. School hours also vary. A public school day lasts around 08:00 to 13:30 for younger children and up to 18:00 for older children. At private schools, the day lasts from around 08:30 until 15:00.


Perhaps the biggest difference is cost. Public schools in Singapore have fixed fees that mean educational costs are often under 30 SGD a month. Private school fees are fixed by that educational institution and are more expensive.


How Much Does It Cost to Study in Singapore for International Students?

University tuition fees  are high  in Singapore.  Prospective  international  students should expect  to pay fees based on their country of origin, chosen field of study, and degree level.

The costs below are related to tuition fees. On top of this, students should expect the cost of living per month to be between 750 SGD to 2,000 SGD depending on the area they live in, their lifestyle, and so on.


When calculating fees, it is important to check whether the university charges per semester, and how many semesters are in the university year.

Undergraduate Fees

A bachelor  degree in Singapore lasts for three or four years, depending on the course.  Non-Singaporean residents studying at a public university should expect to pay around 10,000 SGD a year in tuition fees.

International institution fees will vary. It is best to check directly with the  university you wish to attend.

Postgraduate Fees

Masters courses in Singapore last between one to two years. The average fees for these courses  in a public institution is  35,000 SGD.

MBA Fees

MBA programs take between twelve and eighteen months to finish.  The cost for these masters varies between 40,000 SGD to over 130,000 SGD. depending on the institution.


International students have access to scholarships in Singapore. These vary based on your degree level, field of study, and country of origin.

The MOE offers international students subsidized tuition at Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore. To qualify, you must sign a  Service Obligation (SO)  agreeing to work in a Singapore-based company for three years after you graduate.


Educational Approach

Daycares and kindergartens in Singapore are not just childcare facilities. Each has their own educational curriculum and focuses on preparing children for Singapore’s education system.


Daycare and Kindergarten School  Costs and Fees

  • Anchor Operator Scheme Infant Daycare  : SGD$1,270

  • ​Anchor Operator Scheme Full-day Child Care : SGD$720

  • Anchor Operator Scheme Kindergarten : SGD$160

  • ​Ministry of Education Kindergarten Half-Day  Program : SGD$300

  • ​International Preschool : SGD$1,000


International schools

Thanks to its diverse population, Singapore is home to a huge range of international schools.  Such  institutions are incredibly popular and are the first choice of schools for international students and their parents. This means that they often have long waiting lists. They  are  also  some of the most expensive schools in the world.


International School Requirements and Admission

Students who hold a foreign passport and are not on a long-term visitor  or student pass  are eligible for admission to international schools in Singapore. Exceptions can be made for Singaporean citizens, for example, if you are an alumnus of a certain school or transferring from abroad. These cases need approval from  the Ministry of Education.