Overview of Singapore Education System: What is Kindergarten and Primary Education like in SG? [Part 1]

With Singapore’s unusual habit of using abbreviation in just about anything, it can be confusing to understand some stuff when you have just moved over. As natural as it is for Singaporean citizen, terms like ‘MRT’, ‘ERP’, and ‘SLE’ is hard to fathom for one that is new to the sunny city-state.

One thing that parents worry about, and rightly so, is their child’s education. It is the utmost priority for most parents to understand more about Singapore’s education system in order to assess if they would be comfortable bringing their child up here.

Today, we will be providing you with a brief overview of the Singapore Education System to help you out here! In part 1 of the series, we will be sharing with some key facts of the Singapore Education System before diving into the first two education your child will go through — Kindergarten and Primary Education.

Brief Facts of Singapore Education System

Highly regarded worldwide, the Singapore’s education system is among the best in the world— especially when it comes to creating top scholars and talents. Relentlessly forward-looking, it adopts bilingualism with English in addition to mother tongue of Mandarin, Malay or Tamil. The teaching system practices pedagogy where teachers leads the class. Teaching methods is uniform across all levels and subjects.

Kindergarten (Pre-schools)

Run by either private sectors, child care centres or international schools, the kindergarten is for children between the age of 4 to 6. The Singapore preschool is very much like the U.K. and Australia where children are taught to interact with each other in a cohesive environment while preparing them for formal education in their later years.

Primary Education

Your children will then go through primary school which is usually between the ages of 7-12 (Primary 1-6). Consisting of a four-year foundation course and a two-year orientation stage, children will be taught the full-set of academic subjects in Singapore— English, Mother Tongue, Mathematics & Science. Additionally, there are extracurricular activities offered which seeks to aid children’s holistic development.  During the final year of primary school (P6), children will go through an annual national examination called the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). The results of the PSLE will then dictate the if your child will be placed in Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) stream.

Cost of Kindergarten and Primary Education

It is significant cheaper to undergo kindergarten and primary education for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who attends public schools. Prices are often at least 3x cheaper than that for a foreigner due to government subsidies.

On the other hand, private schools are much costlier, with the averaging ranging between SGD$10,000 to SGD$15,000 per semester.

Over time, the difference in education cost does adds up which explains why the Singapore Permanent Resident status is so coveted. Stay tune for part 2 of this series where we will be sharing about the later stages of education in Singapore.