Singapore: Leader Of The Global Academic Realm
Education in Singapore is in a league of its own, just like many other aspects that make the nation Asia's biggest success story. Having risen from a developing nation to a modern industrial economy, Singapore now stands as a force to reckon with.
While the country's education system is on par with global standards, its students consistently score high in OCED PISA rankings. According to a survey by PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), Singapore ranks among the top-rated countries for Mathematics, Reading, and Science.
The country's education system is a resounding success and a major driving factor behind the burgeoning economy and flourishing businesses. Guided and monitored by the Ministry of Education, Singapore's education system (in schools, colleges, and universities) is designed to be an omnipotent tool. The system equips students with the competent skills to face the digitally-driven global economy.
To understand why Singapore's education system leads in the global academic realm, you need to understand how this system works. So, let's sort out the details.
Singapore's Education System: A Quick Glimpse
Singapore's education system is categorised into three levels:
Primary education lasts for six years and is compulsory for all citizens and residents of Singapore. Primary school education (from Primary 1 to 6) works on a "streaming process" involving regular exams to determine how students progress every year. The streaming process helps sort students into various academic programmes based on their academic abilities. At the end of primary school, all Primary 6 students appear for the first "big" exam of their academic lives- the PSLE or Primary School Leaving Exam. PSLE is the first milestone that determines a student's career path.
The PSLE scores allow students to choose three streams in the secondary school levels:
- Express Stream (for fast and high-scoring students)
- Normal Academic (for average scorers wishing to specialise in a technical field)
After a four or five year span, secondary school students take their O-Level exams. These exam scores determine whether students will go to Junior College or Polytechnic for further education. What they choose largely depends on their career aspirations and academic achievements.
Other major exam milestones in Singapore's education system include:
- GCE-O Level (General Certificate of Education-Ordinary Level)
- GCE-N Level ( General Certificate Of Education-Normal Level)
- GCE-A Level ( General Certificate of Education-Advanced Level)
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6 Winning Attributes Of Singapore's Education Formula
1. Diverse Learning Pathways
Singapore's education system is based on the belief that every student is different and each has their different strengths. Right from primary school, the system offers diverse choices, thereby enabling students to choose areas that align with their abilities. The system also teaches students that it is alright to be a late-bloomer by allowing every student to progress at their own pace. The prime objective is to prepare every student to be self-employable and self-supporting later on in their lives.
2. Competent Teachers & Leaders
Singapore believes that all schools should be backed by good leadership and a competent team of teaching and non-teaching staff. All teachers must undergo mandatory training from the National Institute of Education. Incidentally, NIE is the only institute that prepares all the teachers working in Singapore schools. The training imparted in NIE empowers teachers to live up to the standards of the 21st-century students.
3. Adaptive, Holistic Approach
Singapore's government has adopted a robust and flexible approach to building a world-class education system. Every education policy undergoes thorough research and scrutiny by the Ministry of Education (MoE) before it is implemented in the system. The MoE does intensive groundwork to analyse:
- Parents' demands
- Students' wellbeing
- Teachers' requirements
- Students' learning needs
Singapore is blessed to have a positive synergy between schools, students, parents, and authorities on the value of good education. It is one of the major contributors that make Singapore unparalleled in the education sector.
Also Read : The Complete Guide to PSLE Exam Preparation
4. Practical & Precise Curriculum
The curriculum focuses mainly on Science, Maths, Technology and Language. It explains why many Singapore students are known for their exceptional proficiency in STEM subjects. The curriculum is also spaced out with plenty of exposure to co-curricular activities so that children are not academically overwhelmed. There are plenty of avenues for hands-on, practical learning, which students will need for their future.
5. Rigorous Teaching Regime
Singapore follows a hierarchal, top-down approach where teachers enjoy autonomy in class. This autonomy gives them the freedom to choose the teaching methods they deem best for their students. Parental involvement is another major contributing aspect in the rigorous learning-teaching process. Every parent takes their ward's academic success seriously because it is a highly prioritised merit of honour. The system also imbues students with a sense of responsibility to carve their own educational journey.
6. Socio-Economic Drivers
When Singapore gained independence in 1965, it was an underdeveloped country with no natural resources to fall back on. Undeterred, the nation banked on education to fortify its economic strategies. This resulted in a fully-funded, regulated school system for all children up to the age of 18. All Singapore citizens understand and value the integral role education plays in driving the country's booming economy. When it comes to education, Singapore does not compromise on quality. That's why it is world-class.
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