The government has often spoken of Singapore’s population as the country’s only natural resource. More than a fifth of the state’s expenditure goes to education, with the stated aim of strengthening the country’s competitiveness.
The teaching is largely tailored to the needs of the business community. The vast majority attend both primary and secondary schools. The teaching is in English, but everyone also reads a native language, ie Malay, Tamil or Chinese.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Singapore, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Since 2003 there has been a six-year compulsory schooling, but already almost all children in the free school from six years of age attended. Most also spend at least a couple of years in preschool. Already after four years in primary school, the children are grouped according to the study results. At the end of sixth grade, all children undergo a test that decides which program to follow for four or five years at the high school.
Secondary school’s two- or three-year courses then prepare students for further study or professional life. Nine out of ten students complete upper secondary school.
Some critics have claimed in recent years that the school in Singapore is too focused on measuring knowledge and does not sufficiently stimulate the creativity needed in a modern economy. The government is therefore investing in the renewal of teaching in this direction and also wants to give aesthetic and practical subjects more importance.
In Singapore there are six universities with a total of just over 100,000 students. Largest and oldest is the National University of Singapore (NUS), which has extensive cooperation with universities abroad. In addition, there are about 10 colleges.
- Educationvv: Provides school and education information in Singapore, covering middle school, high school and college education.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
99.5 percent (2016)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
97.0 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
20.0 percent (2013)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
20.0 percent (2013)