There are many reasons a family might choose to return home after living overseas, but one of the most common is providing their children with a high-quality education. Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) offers various opportunities to returning Singaporeans who desire to pursue a good education that will help them excel in their careers. Here are some tips on how to successfully navigate the enrolment process in a Singapore education system.
Singapore citizens or Singapore permanent residents who have resided abroad and are returning to live and study in Singapore are referred to as “returning Singaporeans”. There are plenty of programs and initiatives available to returning Singaporeans that aim to help them adjust to life in Singapore and make the most of their education.
Who are Returning Singaporeans?
The following are referred to as returning Singaporeans:
- Going to reside and study overseas
- Currently residing and studying abroad
- Lived and studied overseas and are returning home
Returning Singaporeans are children who were born in Singapore but have been away from their country for quite a few years due to their parents’ work posting, career opportunities or studies.
To be able to receive a high-quality education from notable institutions, these returning Singaporeans must first go through the School Placement Exercise for Returning Singaporeans (SPERS) set up by the Ministry of Education.
School Options for Returning Singaporeans
There are various schools for returning Singaporeans to join, depending on students’ ages, needs, and parents’ requirements and preferences.
The options are:
- Primary School
- Secondary School
- Post-Secondary Education Institutions
- Special Education School (SPED)
- Private Education Institution
Private Education Institutions
Returning Singaporeans who may not prefer a local education system can apply to private education institutions in Singapore.
In order to apply to a private school, it is important to narrow down the list of schools, as there are over 300 PEIs in Singapore. Thus, it is essential to research and figure out which institution provides certain courses or opportunities that the applicant is seeking. Once a few schools are decided, the next step is to approach the institutions and fill out the application forms if required.
Some private schools may require supporting documents, such as transcripts and/ or diplomas from previous institutions, or any other information related to the returning Singaporean’s parents. Once the application is completed, the next step will be an entrance examination, leading to an interview with a representative from the school. Be prepared to answer questions about your motivations for attending their school as well as your long-term goals.
Foreigners who are accepted and offered a placement to pursue full-time study at a private institution will need to submit an application for a Student’s Pass three months before their course starts. For foreigners, it is also mandatory that they only apply to private schools that are EduTrust-certified and registered with the Committee for Private Education (CPE). The Student’s Pass application will be only approved by the Ministry of Education if the institution has EduTrust certification.
Here are some alternative options for private school admission for returning Singaporeans to consider:
Privately-funded schools are administered by the Ministry of Education (MOE). They provide secondary and junior college education and adhere to bilingualism and National Education policies. These institutions offer international curricula and standards, which may be appealing to returning Singaporeans who wish on pursuing their studies in a setting that encourages a Singaporean spirit and character.
Privately-funded schools may offer specialized programs or be affiliated with international education organizations. However, they must still comply with national regulations on student-teacher ratios and building specifications.
Private Education Institutions and Foreign System Schools
To cater to the needs and interests of children who have been studying abroad and wish to return home and study overseas curricula, Singapore offers a curriculum geared towards foreign nationals. Returning Singaporeans may apply to Foreign System Schools (FSS), which is particularly for expatriates’ children. Anyone who wishes to apply would require approval from the Ministry of Education. The approval is also required for any Singaporean citizen’s application to Private Education Institutions (PEI).
Any returning Singaporean who wishes to apply to a private school needs to submit all the necessary documents directly to the school or institution. If the institution approves the applicant, they will forward the application to the Ministry of Education. They will evaluate each application and let the institution know if the applicant is eligible.
The processing time for an application generally takes anywhere from two to eight weeks, depending on the complexity of the medical case of a student. In order to avoid any delays, be sure to include all relevant documents with your initial application.
EduTrust-certified Private Education Institution for Returning Singaporeans
Parents of Returning Singaporean may prefer to send their children to private institutions. Some private schools may offer curricula and extra-curricular activities that are important for children who want to pursue specific interests or talents. Private schools often have a smaller teacher-to-student ratio, which can provide students with a more personalized learning experience.
Moreover, for private education systems offering foreign curricula, it is mandatory that they are registered with the CPE and must have EduTrust certification in order to enrol foreigners. The Singapore government has put in place the EduTrust certification framework to ensure that PEI in Singapore meet a set of minimum standards, ensuring that students receive a quality education that is internationally benchmarked.
Therefore, TLS Academy, an Edutrust-certified private school, is an ideal option for returning Singaporeans wishing to study in Singapore. The education programs are of high quality, meeting the international standards to help students achieve their full potential and reach their personal goals. We believe that education should be holistic, preparing our students not just for exams but also for life. Our curriculum is designed to develop independent thinking, problem-solving and communication skills. TLS Academy is, therefore, a great choice for private education in Singapore.