Singapore is a well-known and established education hub in the Asia-Pacific region. Every year, many international students left their homelands and start a new life chapter here. Besides understanding the education system and the hospitable investment schemes, it would also be useful to know the country from her brief history and simple economic indicators.
According to legend, Singapore earned its name ‘Singa Pura’ when a Sumatran prince saw a beast that looked like a lion when he first set foot on the island in the 14th century.
In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles established Singapore as a British trading station. The free trade policy attracted merchants from all over the world including Asia, United States and the Middle East.
Singapore gained independence on 9 August 1965. In the same year, she was admitted as a member of the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Nations.
Singapore has a total land area of 716.1 sq km, comprising one main island and a number of islets scattered off its north-east and south.
Singapore is an equatorial country with relatively uniform temperature from 25 to 31 degrees Celsius, high humidity and abundant rainfall especially during the northeast monsoon season from November to January.
5.31 million including 3.8 million Singapore residents (Singapore citizens and permanent residents). It has an open door policy, welcoming foreign talents to live and work in the vibrant city.
Singapore is a multi-racial country comprising approximately 74.2% Chinese, 13.3% Malay, 9.2% Indians, and 3.3% other races.
There are four official languages – Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil. English is the common working language.
Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism.
Singapore is a Republic with a parliamentary system of government based on the Westminster model. Singapore’s Head of State is Madam President Halimah Yacob. The Cabinet is led by Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Hsien Long (since 12 August 2004).
Singapore enjoys a successful free market economy in an open and corruption-free environment. The economy depends mainly on exports, particularly in electronics and high-value manufacturing. With a per capita income of about $68,541, Singapore also has one if the highest saving rates in the world.
Labour Force: 3,493,800
Unemployment rate as at Dec 2013: 1.8%
Singapore is a food paradise with a variety of cuisines ranging from local Chinese, Malay, Indian, Peranakan food to international cuisines such as Japanese, Thai, Italian and French. Its famous specialties include Chilli Crab, Hainanese Chicken Rice, and Laksa (rice noodles on coconut gravy with chicken, shrimp and egg as garnishing).
One is spoilt for choice in Singapore. You can choose from a variety of fine dining venues, casual restaurants or the most ubiquitous of all institutions in Singapore – the humble hawker food centre.
Singapore is also a shopper’s paradise with a world-famous shopping belt at Orchard Road, as well as specialty malls as computer-centric Sim Lim Square. Some of the main Shopping centres are Centrepoint, Far East Plaza, Ngee Ann City, The Paragon, Parkway Parade, Tanglin Shopping Centre and many more.
Three super-malls, which have opened in 2009, are injecting more excitement into the Orchard Road area. They are Orchard Central, 313@Somerset and ION Orchard. International luxury brands such as Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Cartier are establishing a stronger presence in Singapore.
With Singapore’s reputation as a safe city and its numerous attractions, the country is a favourite place for tourists from the East and West.
With the opening of the Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands, new events such as the Youth Olympic Games and returning signature events such as the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, the tourism experience will be enhanced, drawing both new and repeat visitors.
For more information on tourist attraction, log on to www.visitsingapore.com.
Permanent Residency and Investment Schemes
Singapore pursues foreign investments as part of its overall economic strategy and strongly welcomes foreign talents and high net-worth individuals to the country.
Its legal framework and public policies are favourable towards foreign investors. Foreign investors are not required to enter into joint ventures with local institutions, and they are subject to the same basic laws as a local company. There are no restrictions on reinvestments or repatriation of earnings or capital.
Singapore has a low tax regime that is attractive to investors and high net-worth individuals. Since February 2008, the Inheritance Tax has been abolished, making Singapore an attractive place to build wealth.
The Government of Singapore provides various incentives schemes for foreign investors:
- The Global Investor Programme (GIP) is an initiative by Economic Development Board (EDB) to assist foreign investors and entrepreneurs to set up business in Singapore. It provides links to local business networks and a range of immigration facilitation. More information is available at www.edb.gov.sg.
- Contact Singapore, an alliance of EDB and the Ministry of Manpower, serves as a one-stop centre for global talents who wish to work, invest and live in Singapore. With offices worldwide, it actively links Singapore-based employers with global talents and provides updates on career opportunities in Singapore. Contact Singapore also works with private sector partners to facilitate the flow of potential investors to Singapore. More information is available at www.contactsingapore.sg.
Education in Singapore
A Global Schoolhouse
- Singapore has more than 66,000 international students of 60 different nationalities. Foreign nationals have the choice of either studying in international schools which follow various international education systems or in government schools under the Singapore education system. The country’s bilingual policy has attracted many international students keen to sharpen their English or Chinese proficiency.
Some of the reasons Singapore is a popular education hub:
- Its education has won accolades from around the world.
- Students benefit from the best of East and West.
- Its multicultural environment is conducive for improving English and Chinese proficiency.
- Singapore is a safe city and is only a few hours away from major Asian cities.
- Singapore has a high quality living environment with a good healthcare, thriving arts and cultural scene, bustling nightlife and a wide array of international cuisine.
- More than 14,000 multinational companies operating in Singapore offer good job and networking opportunities.
- The excellent public transport system is a draw for international students.
The Singapore Education System
The Singapore education system comprises these main types of institutions:
- Primary and secondary education: Government, government-aided and independent schools & private schools
- Junior colleges/ Centralised institutes
- Institute of Technical Education
Singapore has a good number of international schools and it is common for foreigners to send their children to the schools which adopt the education system and models similar to their parent country. Some of the international schools in Singapore are:
- Australian International School
- Canadian International School
- Dover Court Preparatory School
- German European School
- ISS International School
- Japanese School of Singapore
- Lycee Francais de Singapour
- Overseas Family School
- Singapore American School
- Singapore Korean School
- Swiss School Singapore
- United World College of South East Asia
- Waseda Shibuya Senior High School
For more information on Singapore education, please log on to www.moe.gov.sg.
To apply for admission to mainstream primary and secondary schools, international students need to take the Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS) test. For more information on the AEIS test and application process, please log on to www.moe.gov.sg/admissions/international-students.
For visa and student’s pass information, please check with Immigration and Checkpoints Authority at www.ica.gov.sg.