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Higher Education in Singapore

Higher Education in Singapore

How would it feel like to study in a country where 1 out of 20 people is a multimillionaire? Sounds fascinating indeed! Singapore is the land of opportunities, and an individual can fulfill all the dreams that he or she had ever seen. Its a land where business, science and technology are flourishing like never before. Thus a person who wishes to succeed in life, Singapore is the place to be.

Singapore is a hub for international students seeking a vibrant study experience. This Southeast Asian nation is known as a “Global Schoolhouse” for a reason. Universities in Singapore focus on cutting-edge teaching methods, making them attractive for students aiming for success in a globalized world.

The Singaporean government prioritizes education and provides excellent facilities for international students. This makes Singapore an ideal destination for those who want to pursue their academic dreams. 





  • Duration: Six years, from ages 7 to 12.
  • Focus: Strong emphasis on English language, mathematics, and a “Mother Tongue” language (Mandarin, Malay, or Tamil).
  • First Four Years: Common curriculum for all students, focusing on foundational skills and building a strong base in core subjects.
  • Last Two Years: Some subject options are offered at two levels: standard and foundation. This allows for differentiation based on student learning pace.
  • Assessment: No exams or grades in the first two years. Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) at the end of Primary 6 determines the type of secondary school a student attends.
  • Shifting Focus: The Ministry of Education is moving away from a purely exam-oriented approach and placing more emphasis on holistic development and learning for its own sake.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Singapore’s primary education system is known for its high academic standards.
  • Competition for entry into popular primary schools can be high.
  • There are a variety of government and private schools available.


Secondary School:

  • Age: Students typically enter secondary school at around 12-13 years old.
  • Duration: Four to five years.
  • Tracks: Students are streamed into different tracks based on their performance in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). These tracks offer varying levels of academic rigor.
    • Express Stream: More academically demanding curriculum, preparing students for university entrance exams.
    • Normal (Academic) Stream: Balances academic and vocational education, preparing students for polytechnics or the workforce.
    • Normal (Technical) Stream: Focuses on vocational skills and practical training, preparing students for Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs) or the workforce.
  • Curriculum: Tailored to the chosen stream, with a focus on core subjects like English, mathematics, science, and humanities. Students may also choose elective subjects based on their interests.
  • Assessment: Regular examinations throughout the course, culminating in national GCE ‘O’ Level examinations at the end of Secondary 4 (or ‘N’ Level exams after Secondary 3 for the Normal [Technical] Stream). These exams determine students’ next educational pathways.


Beyond Secondary School:

Depending on their academic performance and interests, students have various options after secondary school:

  • Junior Colleges (JCs): Two-year pre-university program preparing students for university entrance exams (GCE ‘A’ Levels).
  • Polytechnics: Three-year program offering diploma courses in various technical and vocational fields.
  • Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs): Two-year program providing certificates in practical skills and trades.

The Singapore education system offers multiple pathways to success, catering to students with diverse talents and aspirations.


The application process can vary slightly depending on the university you choose. Most universities in Singapore offer online applications, making it a convenient and streamlined process in 2024. However, some might also accept paper applications.

Gear Up for Success: Essential Application Documents

To ensure your application shines, be sure to gather the necessary documents. Here’s a checklist of some common requirements:


MS in Singapore

Cost of Living in Singapore for Indian Students

Living in Singapore can range from roughly ₹6.75 lakhs to ₹12 lakhs per year (based on an exchange rate of ₹1 = $0.014 as of April 2024). This covers your accommodation, food, transportation, and other essentials.

Earning While You Learn: Part-Time Work Options

The good news is that international students in Singapore can ease the financial burden by working part-time. You can legally work up to 16 hours per week during the semester, and conveniently, you won’t need a work permit! This allows you to gain valuable work experience while managing your study schedule.

Full-Time Work During Breaks

Even better, during semester breaks, you can switch to full-time work without a work permit. This flexibility can help you save up for future expenses or even send money back home.

Remember: Double-check current regulations and talk to your university’s student support services for the latest information on part-time work options for international students.



Once you’ve received your university acceptance letter, it’s time to apply for your student visa. The visa allows you to stay in Singapore for the duration of your academic program.

Streamlined Application Process:

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) has a straightforward application process. Here’s what you’ll typically need to submit:

  • Completed Forms: Two sets of forms – Form 16 (V103), Form V39S, and Form V39Q (one set original, one set photocopied). These forms can be downloaded from the ICA website.
  • Passport Photos: Two recent passport-sized photographs (color or black & white).
  • Birth Certificate: The original and a photocopy of your official birth certificate.
  • Travel Documents: A photocopy of your passport’s identification page and validity page (if you’re not already in Singapore).
  • Sponsor’s ID: A photocopy of your local sponsor’s identity card (if applicable).
  • University Acceptance Letter: An original acceptance letter from your Singaporean university addressed to the ICA, issued within the past month.

Important Note: As of April 2024, Delhi is currently the only city in India that processes student visa applications for Singapore.

Double-Check and Stay Informed:

Before submitting your application, double-check the ICA website for the latest requirements and fees. You can also contact your university’s student support services for additional guidance.

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