Education System in Singapore


 EducationSchool/LevelGrade FromGrade ToAge FromAge ToYearsNotes
PrimaryPrimary Education167136 
SecondaryGCE 'O' Level71014174Four to five year program up to the GCE 'O' Level examination. Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) tracks available.
SecondaryNormal-level (N-level)71014174Normal is a four-year course leading up to a Normal-level (N-level) exam, with the possibility of a fifth year followed by an O-level.
SecondaryGCE 'A' Level1013  2 
VocationalVocational      
TertiaryBachelor1217  3 
TertiaryMaster1718  1 
TertiaryDoctoral (PhD)1722  2 

Primary Education

School Education is a priority in well regulated Singapore and follows the core western model. The first 4 years of primary education form a foundation stage with a common curriculum. During the 2 year orientation phase that follows though, pupils are streamed per subject according to their learning abilities, or difficulties.

Secondary Education

Students are streamed at secondary schools too, but this time in terms of their primary school leaving examinations. The special and express tracks are 4-year programs leading to Cambridge GCE O Levels. The normal stream may take a student on a 5 year journey to the same destination but via N Levels, with choices of following academic or technical curriculae. In all cases, the values of the outcomes are the same. The main difference is the time taken to qualify.

Vocational Education

Vocational training is provided by the institute of technical training. The government has pledged the equivalent of 1.6 billion US dollars to staff it up with more competent teachers, so that 1 in 4 of its students enter a polytechnic, instead of the current 1 in 5.

Tertiary Education

Singapore EducationStudents who completed their GCE O Levels may proceed directly to polytechnics. To enter university though, they must first pass their A Levels after studying for 2 years more at a pre-university. There are 5 polytechnics in Singapore, and 3 autonomous universities responsible for their own curricula.


Of the latter, the National University of Singapore illustrated here is the oldest, having been established in 1960 on the foundations of the Singapore Division of Kuala Lumpur University.


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