"Igniting young minds to pursue their purpose in life"
Just December last year, Pisa tests have determined Singapore as top in education rankings, coming in first in Maths, Science, and Reading. As a young country of merely 52 years in existence and once a nation of unskilled, low-cost labor, this is a huge leap of achievement, having surpassed its older and wealthier counterparts in Europe and America.
So how did a tiny new nation achieve such great results in such a short time? We looked into the foundational building blocks behind Singaporeâs education system.
When Singapore first gained independence, it desperately needed to boost the economy. The government recognized that it had to start from investing in education and thereby, introduced a major education reform.
Education became compulsory up to high school, with streaming exams put into place to separate students of varying learning pace. Different curriculums are then taught according to the stream. If students fail to qualify for the next year of studies during primary and secondary school, they are required to retake the year until they successfully attain the qualifying results.
At this level of education, the government heavily subsidizes the tuition fees and sufficiently funds public schools. Teachers are recruited from the top 5% in academics and put through rigorous training and screening processes to ensure that the best educators are moulding the minds of the young ones.
After high school, students are placed in Junior Colleges, Polytechnics or Institutes of Technical Education to study the course of their choice. Nowadays, tertiary institutions have great facilities to provide a conducive studying environment. From studying corners to huge libraries, students get to enjoy studying in comfort with an abundance of resources readily available.
While Singapore is highly focused on academics, schools also pride in extracurricular achievements. Schools are funded for facilities required to develop students in sports, arts and recreational clubs. There are many regional and national inter-school competitions each year where students get to showcase their skills and achieve accreditation thatâs useful for their future resume.
Universities offer even higher quality facilities to professionally train students in their skills outside the classroom. Students learn leadership skills, problem-solving skills, teamwork and creativity through camps and extracurricular activities.
Singapore has caught the attention of top universities in the world. The top ranking National University of Singapore (NUS) has collaborated with the likes of Duke and Yale University to provide students with the best education from both schools.
Yale-NUS offers summer camps to students overseas to embark on a student travel program in order to experience life as a student in Singapore before applying for admission. If the student decides to stay for one of the full four-year liberal arts and sciences courses offered at Yale-NUS, he or she should expect an annual tuition fee of S$15,000 and boarding and lodging within the schoolâs residential colleges for S$3,500 a year. Students can also apply for the scholarships available to attain its top-notch education, faculty, and facilities.
Studying in a country with strong meritocratic values has its payoffs. The highly competitive academia culture pushes students to break boundaries and set themselves up to compete on a global level. Many have opted for student travel programs offered by different institutions to get an idea of what itâs like to be a student in Singapore. If you would like to experience it for yourself before moving to the country, try out a student travel program and have a taste of the best education system in the world.