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How Much Do You Have To Pay For School Fees In Singapore

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For a country scarce in natural resources, we prioritise nurturing our human talent to take on higher-skilled jobs by raising our productivity levels within our predominately knowledge-based economy. Central to achieving this goal is our robust education system, which plays a pivotal role in ensuring that our population is not only highly educated but also well-equipped with the soft and hard skills necessary to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving workforce.

This commitment to education excellence was recently underscored by the 2022 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, which ranked Singapore’s education system top in Reading, Mathematics, and Science among 81 participating systems around the world.

On top of the education system, students in Singapore are also taught by well-trained Ministry of Education (MOE) teachers in highly conducive and well-equipped learning institutions. Despite the high costs required to sustain such operations, local students pay little to no fees during the primary to pre-university levels. Unsurprisingly, our education system also draws in international students in pursuit of quality education.

The Singapore Education System

A cornerstone of our education system is the bilingual policy, which requires students to gain proficiency in two languages: English Language and an official Mother Tongue Language. This has enabled us as a population to not only connect with people from different backgrounds in a multi-cultural environment but also thrive in a diverse globalised world.

Furthermore, with the government’s “Teach Less, Learn More” initiative in 2004, the education system, which initially focused on rote memorisation and repetitive tasks, moved towards deeper conceptual understanding and problem-based learning. It was intended to allow the adoption of teaching methods that better engage students and prepare them for the real world.

Additionally, educators transitioned from funnelling students in secondary schools based on ability-based tracks to three different subject-based “bands” or SBB based on their ultimate educational goals starting from 2024. This is meant to give students a choice to take classes in other bands depending on their aptitude and interest in a given subject. As such the previous separate banding of Express, N(A), and N(T) streams will no longer be used. Instead, students will be in mixed-form classes, as they will be able to freely mix and match classes from different bands and interact with peers of different strengths and interests.

School Fees At Various Educational Stages

The monthly school fees in Singapore are dependent on the child’s nationality and the type of school that they attend.

Primary School

Students who are Singapore citizens and permanent residents have to go through a compulsory six-year course at the primary school level to give them a strong educational foundation. In addition to developing their literacy and numeracy skills, they will also get to build their character, nurture sound values, and develop good habits.

Aside from the core curriculum modules such as English language, Mathematics, and Mother Tongue Language, students also have to take subjects like Art, Music, Character and Citizenship Education, Social Studies, and Physical Education. From Primary 3 onwards, students will also start learning Science.

There are no school fees charged at the primary school level for Singapore citizen students, though they have to pay a monthly miscellaneous fee of $13. On the other hand, the school fees will be raised over the next three years for non-citizen students, with the least subsidy given to non-ASEAN international students.

Nationality Primary School Fees (Per Month) Miscellaneous Fees
2024 2025 2026
Singapore Citizens Nil Nil Nil $13
Permanent Residents $280 $305 $330 $13
ASEAN International students $545 $570 $595 $13
Non-ASEAN International students $935 $985 $1,035 $13

 

At the end of Primary 6, students have to take the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), which assesses their suitability for secondary school education.

Read Also: Singapore Parents’ Guide To Understanding (And Maximising) Their Child’s Edusave and PSEA

Secondary School

At the secondary level, students can enter one of three courses that match their academic progress and interests.

Previously, the first grouping was known as the Express stream, where students take a four-year course that leads to taking the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE) O-Level exam. The second is the Normal (Academic) [NA] Course, where students also undergo a four-year programme learning similar subjects as those offered in the Express course leading to the GCE N(A)-Level exam. Students that do well at the NA-Level will progress to Secondary 5 and take the O-level exam. Lastly, students may also enter the Normal (Technical) [NT]-Level Course, a similar four-year course that leads to the GCE NT-Level course. Unlike the other subjects in the other two courses, students in the NT course will be offered subjects with technical or practical emphases to enhance experiential and practical-oriented learning.

However, from 2024 on, with full subject-based banding (SBB), there will no longer be separate Express, NA, and NT streams. Instead, students will be banded into three Posting Groups – 1, 2, and 3, similar to the initial Express, NA, and NT standards. They will then be able to freely mix and match classes from different bands – G1, G2, and G3, which also fosters interaction with peers of different strengths and interests.

Singapore citizen students have to pay a $5 monthly school fee on top of the $20 monthly miscellaneous fee. Similarly, the school fees will be raised over the next three years for non-citizen students, with the least subsidy given to non-ASEAN international students.

Secondary School Fees (Per Month)
Nationality 2024 2025 2026 Miscellaneous Fees
Singapore Citizens $5 $5 $5 $20
Permanent Residents $560 $620 $680 $20
ASEAN International students $970 $1,030 $1,090 $20
Non-ASEAN International students $1,770 $1,910 $2,050 $20

 

From 2027, the Singapore-Cambridge GCE NT-, NA-, and O-Level examination certificates will be replaced by the common Singapore-Cambridge Secondary Education Certificate.

Post Secondary

After Secondary 4 or Secondary 5, students will proceed to one of the following post-secondary education institutions based on their academic results and preference:

Junior Colleges And Millennia Institute 

Students can apply for pre-university education at Junior Colleges (two-year course) or centralised institute (three-year course), which allows them to take the GCE A-Level examinations. These institutions offer a wide range of elective programmes and subjects.

Additionally, students can develop their social and emotional competencies and life skills by participating in Values-In-Action programmes that help nurture qualities like initiative, leadership, and social responsibility.

Singapore citizen students have to pay a $6 monthly school fee on top of the $27 monthly miscellaneous fee. Similarly, the school fees will be raised over the next three years for non-citizen students, with the least subsidy given to non-ASEAN international students.

Pre-University School Fees (Per Month)
Nationality 2024 2025 2026 Miscellaneous Fees
Singapore Citizens $6 $6 $6 $27
Permanent Residents $640 $700 $760 $27
ASEAN International students $1,170 $1,230 $1,290 $27
Non-ASEAN International students $2,260 $2,400 $2,540 $27

 

Read Also: NUS, NTU, SMU, SUTD, SIT & SUSS: Complete Guide For Local University Courses Fees And How Much Starting Salary You Will Earn As A Fresh Graduate

Polytechnic

Instead of the GCE A-Level route, students with O-Level or ITE’s Nitec and Higher Nitec qualifications can pursue a more practice-oriented pathway by applying for a full-time diploma at the Polytechnics. As part of the curriculum, students have to undergo work attachments with industry partners, which can vary from six weeks to six months or longer for selected courses.

Polytechnic (Tuition Fee Per Academic Year)
Singapore Citizens $3,000
Permanent Residents $6,200
International students $12,000

 

Polytechnics also offer part-time diplomas and post-diploma courses for adult learners who wish to deepen or broaden their knowledge and skills across a range of disciplines.

Read Also: How Much Do Polytechnic & ITE Graduates Earn – And How Much Less Do They Get Compared To University Graduates

Institute of Technical Education (ITE)

Another option that students may apply to is ITE to pursue technical or vocational education, either through full-time Nitec or Higher Nitec courses. Typically, ITE admits N-Level holders into Nitec courses and O-Level holders into Higher Nitec courses.

ITE (Tuition Fee Per Academic Year) – 2024
Programme Singapore Citizens Permanent Residents International students
Nitec $215 $3,225 $9,225
2-Year Higher Nitec $295 $3,880 $10,370.28

 

ITE graduates who wish to pursue their education can also apply to polytechnics as well as ITE’s Technical Diploma programmes based on their Nitec or Higher Nitec qualifications.

Education Is The Best Gift

Education is the best gift that one can give or receive. It not only unlocks the door to limitless possibilities but also hones our cognitive skills, enabling us to perform higher-level tasks.

In Singapore, where a culture of continuous learning has been encouraged throughout our working lives through initiatives like the SkillsFuture credits, we are given a strong foundation early on. As Singapore citizens, we are privileged to have access to high-quality education at an affordable cost. The responsibility is now in our hands to make the best use of this opportunity.

Read Also: Complete Guide To Using Your CPF To Pay For University And Polytechnic Fees Under The CPF Education Loan Scheme



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