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EDUCATION SYSTEM OF SINGAPORE

Identifying talents of students to realize their potential, develop desire and quest for knowledge throughout life is one of the main objectives of the Ministry of Education of Singapore.

The education system is built on the principle that Education - is not preparation for life, it is life.

The school year in local schools is divided into two semesters. The first semester starts in January and ends in June, the second begins in July and ends in December.

Holidays and semesters in international schools differ from local schools. Education in them usually begins in mid-August or the first of January. In these types of schools, there are 4 semesters, with short vacation in the middle of autumn and spring and a longer vacation in summer (2 months) and winter Christmas (about a month).

Below you can see the table “STAGES OF EDUCATION IN SINGAPORE” (starting with the most basic):

Pre-school

Nursery

1.6 - 3 year old (optional)

Games Group

3-4 year old

Kindergarten

4-6 year old

Elementary School

Beginner class 1 (Primary 1)

6-7 year old

Beginner class 2 (Primary 2)

7-8 year old

Beginner class 3 (Primary 3)

8-9 year old

Beginner class 4 (Primary 4)

9-10 year old

Beginner class 5 (Primary 5)

10-11 year old

Beginner class 6 (Primary 6)

11–12 year old

Upon completion of the beginner class 6 before entering the high school there is graduation examination conducted (PSLE), which determines the readiness of student to go to the middle tier.

Secondary School

Middle Class 1  (Secondary 1)

12-13 year old

Middle Class 2  (Secondary 2)

13–14 year old

Middle Class 3  (Secondary 3)

14-15 year old

Middle Class 4  (Secondary 4)

15–16 year old

Middle Class 5  (Secondary 5)

16-17 year old

At the end of the 4th or 5th years of secondary school students (except those who continue training on the international program IB) pass the state exam GCE 'O' Level, at least in 6 subjects.

Pre-University and Diploma

The results of the exam GCE ‘O’ Level will define which pre-university school a student can apply to:

  • Junior Colleges

These are golleges with 2-year pre-university course after which students pass the exam GCE ‘A’ Level. These colleges focus on academic programm similar to school subjects. Those students who would like to continue their education and get a degree in one of national or private universities of Singapore apply to such colleges. 

  • Polytechnics

These are polytechnical colleges with 3-year course. Once graduated students will be issued a Diploma about specialized secondary education. Education in such colleges is suitable for those studends who is intended to get a Professional Diploma of specialized secondary education. Specialities which can be obtained by students upon graduation include: ingeneering, business, finance, accounting, tourism and hospitality, mass communications, mass media, biotechnologies. Education here is oriented to further professional career unlike Junior College. Upon graduation from Polytechnics students can apply for a job according to their specialization, or continue their education in a university. 

  • Private Universities

Private Universities offer a big variety of professional programms of Diploma Level. Upon graduation from Diploma Programms students can continue their education to Bachelor's Degree and then Mater's Degree. Private Universities offer Foundation Program and English Language Program for foreign students, who need to improve their language skills or attend a pre-study course for adjustment and further successful studying in Singapre.

 

Professional and Higher Education in Singapore:

The steps of the education of a foreign student in Singapore are next: 

English Program

(Certificate)

2-10 months

This program is developed especially for foreign students (16 years old and above) who require to improve their English before their professional studies (there are 5 level of English language from Beginner to Advanced) 

Foundation Studies

(Certificate)

months

This program is available for foreign students (16 years old and above), who need to prepare before entering Diploma programs. This program includes 5 subjects and provides all the nesessary knowledge to the students to continue their education. 

Diploma

6-8 months

(equivalent of 1 year of Bachelor's Degree)

Professional, specialized programms for local and foreign students (18 years and older). Upon graduation students are issued Diploma (equivalent to Diploma of secondary professional education.

Advanced Diploma

6-8 months

(equivalent of 2 years of Bachelor's Degree)

Advanced stage of the professional education which can be entered after Diploma level. Upon graduation from the program Advanced Diploma a student can continue education and enter the next level of higher education - Bachelor's Degree.

Bachelor’s Degree

16-36 months

First level of higher education.

Students who graduated from Advanced Diploma can be admitted to this program. Bachelors'd Degree allows to continue education on Master's Degree.

Master’s Degree

12-16 months

Second Level of Higher Education followig Bachelor's Degree.

The requierements to enter Master's Degree are strict, Bachelor's Degree is compulsory (it is not nesessary to be the same specialization), and work experience (as required).

 

Grade System in Singapore:

Most of the schools in Singapore follow Cambridge Grade System GCE ‘O’ Level, which students pass on year 4 or 5 of secondary school.

There are next geades: 

  • A1/A2 (distinction) = 5
  • B3/B4 (good) = 4
  • C5/C6 (passed) = 3
  • D7 (half-passed / failed: depends on the decision of examination board – passed on a minimal standard or failed) = 3-/2
  • E8/F9 (failed) = 0

 

 

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