Singapore is one of the top countries in Asia for education with several highly-regarded schools for foreigners to place their child in. There are three main categories of schools:
- Local Schools
- International Schools
- Privately-Funded Schools (PFS)
Local schools are referred as public schools. These schools follow the Ministry of Education (MOE) curriculum which uses English as the medium of instruction. A second language (Mandarin, Malay or Tamil) is also taught and this depends on the official Mother Tongue of each student.
The number of spaces reserved for foreigners in local schools is subjected to the performance of admissions exam, available vacancies and the residential area they lived in. Higher priority is given to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents. Typically, one-third of foreign students are accepted into the local schools.
An admission test is required for Primary 2-5 and Secondary 1-3. For admission in the following academic year, foreigners are required to participate in an admission exam – Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS). For admission in the current academic year, foreigners are required to take the Supplementary Admissions Exercise for International Students (S-AEIS).
International schools are officially known as Foreign System Schools. They are required to be registered with the MOE. These schools adhere to MOE guidelines and offer a range of education curriculum including International Baccalaureate (IB), International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGSCE) curriculum, International Primary Curriculum (IPC) as well as a curriculum similar to their home country.
International schools are primarily catered to foreigners and only grant admission to foreign students and permanent residents. Hence, Singapore citizens are not allowed to attend these schools unless it is granted by MOE.
Popular schools include:
- United World College of South East Asia
- Singapore American School
- Canadian International School
- Australian International School
The third category is Privately-Funded Schools and they are international schools set up by well-established local schools. These schools are managed by MOE and have the freedom to set their own curriculum and fees. They combined MOE syllables and international curriculum such as the IB.
They act as a hybrid between the international and local schools by offering admission to both local and foreign students. Typically, at least half of the student cohort are Singapore Citizens.