Singapore is an island located in Southeast Asia between Malaysia and Indonesia with a population of 4,450,000 people. Founded as a British trading colony in 1819, Singapore joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963, but separated in 1965. It is one of the world`s most prosperous countries with strong international trading links. The main religions are Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism and Confucianisism. The official languages are English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. English is the official language of instruction. Documents are issued in English by the institutions and the Education Council. At the primary, secondary and higher education levels, the school year runs from July to April. Education in the country is overseen by the Ministry of Education.
Elementary education is six years in length, from age six to twelve. The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is awarded upon completion.
Lower secondary education is four years in length, from age twelve to sixteen. The General Certificate of Education (GCE) Normal “N” Level Examination is awarded after the 9th year of study. After the 10th year, students sit for the Singapore / Cambridge GCE Ordinary Level Examinations (O-Levels).
Higher secondary education is two to three years in length, from age sixteen to eighteen or nineteen. At the end of their studies, students sit for the Singapore/Cambridge GCE Advanced Level Examinations (A-Levels).
Higher education is provided by universities, polytechnics and other schools for public and private training. One to three year Diploma programs are offered in design, business, computer, engineering, maritime studies, mass communication, nursing, radiology, and in technological subjects. Bachelor's degrees require three to five years of study; with admission being based on the GCE A-Level results, bachelor's degrees require a minimum of sixteen years of education.
Second and Third Cycle
The second stage at the university level is the master's degree, requiring one to three years of postgraduate study following the bachelor's degree. The third stage at the university level is the doctoral degree, requiring a minimum of two years following the master's degree.
The National Institute of Education provides both pre-and in-service teacher education courses at all levels of teacher education. Pre-service courses include a two year Diploma in Education or Physical Education or a four year Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science with a Diploma in Education or Physical Education for non-graduates. There is also a one year Postgraduate Diploma in Education (primary and secondary) or a two year Postgraduate Diploma in Physical Education for graduates. Further education is provided for practice teaching.
Accreditation and administration of education is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Higher Education Branch.