NON-STATE ACTORS IN EDUCATION

1. Terminology

2. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision 

2.2 Non-state education provision 

2.3 Other types of schools 

3. Governance and regulations

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

3.2 Multi-level regulations 

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring 

 

  1. Terminology

The 2009 Private Education Act (last amended in 2019), which applies to non-state educational institutions from primary to tertiary level in Singapore, refers to a “body corporate”, “unincorporated association”, and “sole proprietor” as non-state actors “responsible for the management of private education institutions”. A private education institution is defined as “any person that offers to provide or provides private education whether in Singapore or elsewhere, whether or not the person offers to provide or provides the private education for profit, together with other education, by itself or in association or collaboration with or by affiliation with any other person; and such school...which receives a grant-in-aid”.

The 2017 Early Childhood Development Centres Act (as amended in 2018), which governs non-state early childhood care and education, similarly refers to a “person”, “company”, “limited liability partnership” or other “body corporate” who has “general management or supervision of the business of the early childhood development centre”.

The 1965 Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (last amended in 2019) additionally refers to “religious groups” which have the “right to establish and maintain educational institutions”. 

 

  1. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision

State schools

Most education (70% of schools and enrolments) at primary (6 years, starting at age 6) and secondary level (4 – 5 years, starting at age 13) is provided by the state in Singapore. Primary education is compulsory according to the 2000 Compulsory Education Act (as enacted in 2003) and provided almost exclusively in government and government-aided schools (with some exemptions available), both of which are heavily subsidized by the state (with different fees for Singapore residents, permanent residents, and international students, and various financial assistance schemes and bursaries available). Secondary education is also subsidized by the state, with certain government schools granted autonomous status (offering a wider range of programs) and some others providing Special Assistance Plans (catering to bilingual and bicultural students immersed in the Chinese culture).

Non-state managed, state schools

No information was found.

Non-state funded, state schools

No information was found.

2.2 Non-state education provision

Independent, non-state schools

Private (or independent) schools are independent non-state schools that are managed by private individuals, corporations, or associations (for-profit or non-profit) and funded through student fees. These schools operate exclusively at secondary education level and have the flexibility to develop foreign academic programs (with most following international curricula and examination systems such as GCE O-Level, A-Level, and International Baccalaureate). Some private schools (known as specialized independent schools) cater to students who have a strong interest and talent in applied learning, Mathematics and Science, the Arts, and Sports. In 2019, there were only 3 private schools in Singapore.

State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools

The most prominent type of non-state schools in Singapore are government-aided schools (covering 23% of all schools and enrolments and over 85% of non-state schools), which are non-state educational institutions established by community organizations that receive regular grants from the state to assist in teacher salaries, infrastructure costs, maintenance costs, and operational expenses. These schools follow the national curriculum and maintain similar education standards to government schools.

Islamic religious schools (madrasahs) are non-state schools established, operated, and funded (through student fees) by Islamic religious groups that receive state grants through the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Majlis Ugama Islam). Whereas each madrasah has its own identity and focus, all of them share a common education philosophy which is “rooted in the Islamis tradition and values with a forward-looking and progressive modern outlook” and have a strong grounding in both religious and secular subjects. Madrasahs are funded through member donations, Muslim endowments, and the government (through financial support and grants). These schools are governed by separate education laws and provide religious instruction in Qur’anic recitation and literacy, tajwid (rules of recitation) or fardh ‘ain (basic knowledge of Islamic creed and practice). Students who attend full-time Islamic religious schools are granted exemption from compulsory education at government or government-aided schools. In 2019, there were 6 madrasahs in Singapore, two of which only enroll girls. Four out of six madrasahs operate on government-acquired land, with the other two remaining built on wakaf land.

 

Special education schools are 19 non-state schools established and managed by Social Service Agencies that provide education for children and youth with disabilities. These schools receive regular grants and operational assistance from the Ministry of Education (MoE) and folllow a customized curriculum.  

Contracted, non-state schools

No information was found.

2.3 Other types of schools

Homeschooling

Homeschooling is legal in Singapore, with parents or guardians given the option to apply to the MoE for exemption from compulsory education in order to homeschool their children (which is subject to certain criteria).

In April 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the MoE directed the closure of all schools in Singapore, which were required to shift to Home-Based Learning (HBL) for a specified period. During this period, students were provided with both online and hardcopy HBL materials.  

Market contracted (Voucher schools)

No information was found.

Unregistered/Unrecognized schools

The government of Singapore keeps a list of all unregistered private education institutions, including information on the reason for their deregistration status and effective date of deregistration (and issues press releases when a private institution’s registration has been cancelled). During the period 2010-21, there were 217 deregistered institutions listed that are no longer covered under the 2009 Private Education Act. Deregistration may occur due to voluntary closure, unsuccessful renewal of registration, or regulatory cancellation of registration.  Since the establishment of the Committee for Private Education in 2009, minimum regulatory standards were put in place, and schools unable to meet the standards “weeded out”. Once identified, schools may be issued warnings before officially being unregistered. According to the Director of the Committee for Private Education, “a small but growing number of private education institutions as well as non-registered entities (are) engaging in practices that could mislead students and the public". There may also be ongoing investigations of unregistered schools. For example, in 2021, the police were investigating an unregistered Muslim school in accordance with a report submitted by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUI).

 

  1. Governance and regulations

Singapore has a centralized education structure, with separate agencies responsible for each type of non-state education provision at different levels. The Early Childhood Development Agency (overseen by the MoE and the Ministry of Social and Family Development) is responsible for the regulation and supervision of non-state early childhood education, while the Committee for Private Education (operating under the SkillsFuture Singapore Agency) is responsible for the administration of the 2009 Private Education Act (last amended in 2019) and the regulation of the private education sector from primary to tertiary level. The SkillsFuture Singapore Agency is a body corporate (independent from the MoE) which has been established under the 2016 SkillsFuture Singapore Agency Act (last amended in 2020). Government-aided schools are regulated by the MoE, while Islamic religious education is supervised and regulated by the Majlis Ugama Islam (MUI) (the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore).

Besides being supervised by different bodies, each type of non-state educational institution in Singapore is governed by separate regulations, which include the 2009 Private Education Act for private education institutions, the 1983 Education (Grant-in-Aid) Regulations (last amended in 2013) for government-aided schools, and the 2016 Administration of Muslim Law (Muslim Religious Schools) Rules for Islamic religious schools. 

Vision: According to the 2009 Private Education Act, the main function of the SkillsFuture Singapore Agency it to “promote and facilitate the development of the private education sector in Singapore”. In 2017, the Committee for Private Education introduced “new measures to strengthen the protection of students in the private education sector and increase information transparency for prospective students”, which included a quality assurance scheme aiming to “recognize private education institutions that are able to consistently maintain high standards in key areas of management and in the provision of education services”. According to the Director-General (Private Education), SkillsFuture Singapore, “private education institutions should focus more attention on the outcomes of their graduates and see what needs to be done to improve them”.

 

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education
 

Almost all (99% of services, 97% of enrolments) of early childhood care and education (ECCE) services in Singapore (which cover the provision of education and care below the age of 7) are provided by non-state actors, including companies, corporations, or individuals. ECCE services can mainly be categorized into infant classes (for children 2 – 18 months), playgroups (for children 18 months – 3 years old), nurseries (ages 3 – 4), and kindergartens (ages 5 – 6).

The government provides ECCE in a few (36) MoE kindergartens (Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2 programs for children aged 5 – 6) which are mainly located within primary schools. Moreover, selected non-state ECCE operators are provided funding support by the MoE based on the MK – Early Years Centre pilot model, which provides ECCE services for children aged 2 months to 4 years, guaranteeing the child’s placement in a MoE kindergarten at the age of 5.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: Individuals, corporate bodies, or companies can establish a non-state ECCE centre in Singapore, but they are required to be registered under the 2017 Early Childhood Development Centres Act (as amended in 2018) and comply with the 2018 Early Childhood Development Centres Regulations  (as amended in 2020). Applications must be made electronically to the Chief (or Assistant Chief) Licensing Officer of the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) based on a specified form and accompanied by the required registration fee and documents. To be considered for registration, all applicants must adhere to the minimum standards set out in the regulations in regard to staff-child ratios (according to service), and specific space, equipment, and bath facility requirements.

 

Licence: If all minimum standards are met, premises are deemed fit, and the Chief/Assistant Chief Licensing Officer is satisfied that the applicant is of appropriate character and has not been convicted of an offence, the provider is granted a Class A (for infant classes) or Class B (for playgroups, nurseries, and/or kindergartens) licence. 

Financial operation

Profit-makingECCE providers in Singapore may operate for reward or profit according to the 2017 Early Childhood Development Centres Act.

Taxes and subsidiesNon-state ECCE services in Singapore can apply to the ECDA to receive monthly per-child subsidies by the government to cover tuition fee costs.  Besides tuition-fee subsidies, the government additionally provides funding support to selected non-state ECCE operators under the Anchor Operator and Partner Operator Schemes to increase access to affordable ECCE (particularly for children of lower-income and disadvantaged backgrounds). Under these schemes, operators are provided funding for tuition fee caps and investing in the development of quality ECCE services.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: While non-state ECCE services are free to develop their own curriculum, providers may be guided by the ECDA Early Years Development Framework for children aged 2 months to 3 years and the MoE Nurturing Early Learners Framework for children aged 4 – 6 years. The 2018 Early Childhood Development Centres Regulations state that any curriculum developed must be holistic, stimulating, and supportive of the learning, development, and well-being of the children.

Teaching professionCaregivers or teachers employed in ECCE services must have the relevant qualifications, training, and skills as set out in the 2017 Early Childhood Development Centres Act, while they must all be approved by the Chief/Assistant Chief Licensing Officer of the ECDA. If the ECDA finds any caregiver or teacher to not comply with the minimum requirements, the Chief/Assistant Chief Licensing Officer has the authority to terminate their employment.

Equitable access

Fee-settingWhile non-state ECCE centres are given the freedom to charge fees for registration, tuition, and additional services such as uniforms and transportation, all fees levied (and changes in fee structure) must be approved by the ECDA. Moreover, fees for additional services must not be compulsory, with centers required to give parents the option to opt out of these services. ECCE services under the Anchor Operator and Partner Operator Schemes have their fees capped at minimum rates set by the ECDA.

Admission selection and processes: According to the 2017 Early Childhood Development Centres Act, the ECDA may regulate the admission process in any ECCE centre in terms of the enrolment capacity and maximum children to be admitted.

Policies for vulnerable groupsThe ECDA provides various subsidies and grants to low and middle-income families to attend ECCE programs in Singapore at more affordable or tuition-free rates such as the Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme, the Child Care Financial Assistance and Start-Up Grant, while additional government subsidies are provided for infant care.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: All ECCE providers are required to keep up-to-date records of children attendance, medical information, monthly fees, staff details, and financial records (including bank statements) that must be submitted to the Chief Licensing Officer when requested.  

Inspection: The Chief/Assistant Chief Licensing Officer (or officer appointed by the ECDA) may enter and inspect a non-state ECCE center at any time to monitor and evaluate whether the service being provided complies with minimum standards. All providers are required to keep records of their activities and finances, which must be presented to the inspector at any request. Centers are additionally monitored under the Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework, where they can apply for voluntary accreditation and be formally endorsed for their quality programs.

 

Child assessment: While all ECCE centers are required to keep a 3-month record of the growth rate of any child that is 18 months old or younger, there were no specific assessments found for children above that age.

 

Sanctions: Any person who obstructs or hinders an investigation will be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 6 months. According to the 2018 Early Childhood Development Centres Regulations, if any provider is found to be accepting a subsidy for a child not enrolled in the center, they shall be liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 (7,580 USD) and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months. If a non-state ECCE center is found to not comply with the regulations or the provider is deemed unsuitable to manage the center, the licence may be revoked by the Chief/Assistance Chief Licensing Officer and the center may be closed. In cases where a licence is revoked and/or a center is closed, the provider must refund the parents or guardians and provide assistance in alternative care arrangements. Finally, if any provider is found to be operating without a valid licence, the owner will be liable to a fine not exceeding  $10,000 (7,580 USD) and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months.

 

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: See Multi-level regulations.

Licence: See Multi-level regulations.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)While no regulation on WASH standards was found regarding private education institutions or Islamic religious schools, government-aided schools are required to comply with the minimum standards listed in the 1958 Education (Schools) Regulations, which include providing an adequate number of water-closets and lavatories (separated by sex) and a wholesome water supply.

Financial operation

Profit-making: See Multi-level regulations.

Taxes and subsidies: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: See Multi-level regulations.

Textbooks and learning materialsTextbooks were only found to be regulated in government-aided schools, where the MoE has the authority to prohibit the use of any textbook. Moreover, employees are prohibited from deriving any profits from selling books or other learning material to students.

Teaching profession: See Multi-level regulations.

Corporal punishmentCorporal punishment is lawful for male pupils in government-aided schools under the 1958 Education (Schools) Regulations (last amended in 2013), which gives the principal or teacher the authority to administer corporal punishment “with a light cane on the palms of the hands or on the buttocks over the clothing”. The act is prohibited for female pupils in government-aided schools, while no mention was found regarding corporal punishment in private education institutions or Islamic religious schools.

Other safety measures and COVID-19: No information was found.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: See Multi-level regulations.

Admission selection and processes: See Multi-level regulations.

Policies for vulnerable groupsEach year, high-achieving students and students of lower-income backgrounds (that are citizens of Singapore) in government-aided schools and private education institutions are provided with various government financial assistance schemes and bursaries such as the MoE Financial Assistance Scheme, Edusave scholarships, the MoE Independent Bursary Scheme, and the UPLIFT Scholarship, as stated in the 2008 Education Endowment and Savings Schemes (Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards) Regulations (last amended in 2020). Moreover, all Singaporean students aged 7 – 16 in government-aided schools, private education institutions, and Islamic religious schools are given an Educase account and receive annual government contributions. Finally, the Progress Fund Madrasah Assistance Scheme provides financial assistance to students from less privileged families who are studying in any of the 6 full-time madrasahs. Families with a per capita income of less than 500 SDG (372 USD) are eligible for fee subsidies of at least 540 SDG (402 USD). Other, non-fee assistance may also be provided for books, uniforms, meals, and transport expenses of up 1,170 SDG (871 USD) depending on family needs.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

School board: See Multi-level regulations.

Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.

School inspection: See Multi-level regulations.

Student assessment: See Multi-level regulations.

Diplomas and degrees: See Multi-level regulations.

Sanctions: See Multi-level regulations.

 

Tertiary education is provided in junior colleges, local polytechnics, institutes of technical education, arts institutions, foreign or local tertiary institutions, and universities. 63% of tertiary institutions are owned by non-state providers which register under the 2009 Private Education Act, while the six state universities in Singapore have been established through separate acts, such as the National University of Singapore (Corporatisation) Act and the Nanyang Technological University (Corporatisation) Act.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: See Multi-level regulations.

Licence: See Multi-level regulations.

Financial operation

Profit-making: See Multi-level regulations.

Taxes and subsidies: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: See Multi-level regulations.

Teaching profession: See Multi-level regulations.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: See Multi-level regulations.

Admission selection and processes: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Board: See Multi-level regulations.

Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.

Inspection: See Multi-level regulations.

Assessment: See Multi-level regulations.

Diplomas and degrees: See Multi-level regulations.

Sanctions: See Multi-level regulations.

 

3.2 Multi-level regulations

This section covers regulations of non-state actors operating from primary to tertiary education, which are all covered under the 2009 Private Education Act (last amended in 2019) and the 2009 Private Education Regulations (last amended in 2019).

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: All private education institutions in Singapore from primary to post-secondary level are required to be registered under the 2009 Private Education Act (last amended in 2019) by making an electronic application to the Committee for Private Education, accompanied by the registration fee and all necessary documents. Applicants must be companies (established under the Companies Act with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) or registered societies (established under the Societies Act with the Registry of Societies), except in cases where the institution offers “specialization courses” (which are exempt from this requirement) as stipulated in the 2013 Private Education (Exemption) Order (last amended in 2017). All independent private education institutions must comply with the Enhanced Registration Framework and the minimum infrastructure standards set out in the 2009 Private Education Regulations (last amended in 2019), which regulate classroom size. Finally, managers (directors of the company of members of the society’s management committee) must meet the fit and proper persons criteria.

Government-aided schools, which are regulated under the 1983 Education (Grant-in-Aid) Regulations (last amended in 2013) are required to comply with the infrastructure standards applicable to government schools, which include minimum standards on buildings, playgrounds, equipment, class size, and health and safety arrangements listed in the 1958 Education (Schools) Regulations (last amended in 2013).

Islamic religious schools must be registered by the MUI under the 1968 Administration of Muslim Law Act  (as amended in 2017) and comply with the minimum standards set out in the 2016 Administration of Muslim Law (Muslim Religious Schools) Rules

Licence: If all the minimum criteria are met, the private education institution is granted a registration licence by the Committee for Private Education, while Islamic religious schools are licensed by the MUI.
 

Financial operation

Profit-makingThe 2009 Private Education Act explicitly allows private education institutions to be established on a for-profit basis, while no mention of profit-making was found regarding Islamic religious schools. In the case of government-aided schools, profit-making is prohibited in the sale of books, stationary or any other learning material to students, while any profits collected from fees are required to be used exclusively for school expenses.

 

Taxes and subsidiesPrivate education institutions can apply to the Permanent Secretary of Education for grant in aid (gaining the status of a “government-aided” institution), in which they are granted annual aid by the state to assist in teacher salaries, maintenance costs, operational expenses, and infrastructure costs (1983 Regulations). Government-aided institutions are regulated by the MoE and are required to maintain minimum standards comparable to government schools in terms of school buildings, curriculum, staff, fees, and admission, and comply with the relevant regulations in the 1957 Education Act (last amended in 2019), which does not apply to private education institutions. If these standards are not complied with, the Permanent Secretary may withdraw the aid provided.

Islamic religious schools are provided with grants by the MUI in accordance with rules made by the MUI and approved by the Minister responsible for education. The government and MUI support madrasahs, students, and teachers through financial support and grants. The Government-MUI Assistance Grant (1.5 million SGD/1.1 million USD) to strengthen secular subjects consists of 3 schemes, the (1) Madrasah Student Award, (2) financial incentives for madrasah teachers, and the (3) teacher training support grant. Prior to 2017, a teacher development grant of 15,000 SDG (1,100 USD) was given to all madrasahs. Since 2017, the MUI provides an annual capitation grant of 1,000 SDG (744 USD) for every eligible full-time teacher to help madrasah teachers feel “more empowered to undertake relevant and beneficial courses and programs”.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standardsPrivate education institutions in Singapore are free to follow a foreign or international curriculum, provided that all courses are approved by the Committee for Private Education and comply with certain terms and conditions. Courses that have been approved by the Committee must only be provided in Singapore, with separate permission required to offer or provide a course overseas (whether by itself or in collaboration or association with another person or education institution). Government-aided schools are required to follow the national curriculum as one of the conditions for receiving aid but are free to provide additional (non-compulsory) religious instruction if they are run by religious organizations. Finally, the curriculum provided in Islamic religious schools must be approved by the MUI and meet the minimum requirements set in the 2016 Administration of Muslim Law (Muslim Religious Schools) Rules.  Islamic religious schools are grounded in both religious and secular subjects.

Teaching professionWhile private education institutions are free to hire their own teachers, the Committee for Private Education must be notified of any teacher deployment, and all teachers employed must possess the minimum qualifications and experience listed in the 2009 Private Education Regulations (according to level they teach). The Committee is responsible for ensuring that all teacher qualifications are obtained from institutions which are recognized by the relevant authority in the country or territory in which they are established. All teachers deployed must additionally be fit and proper according to criteria published by the Committee. Teachers employed in government-aided schools must be registered and approved by the Permanent Secretary of Education, which regulates teacher salaries, allowances, leave, and qualifications based on a similar scale to government schoolteachers.  In the case of Islamic religious schools, the MUI must be notified of any deployment, while all teachers are required to be recognized Islamic or Qur’anic teachers and adhere to the Code of Ethics for the Provision of Islamic Instruction. Financial incentives aim to improve the salaries of teachers in madrasahs, which recognize and reward eligible madrasah teachers that possess a recognized teaching certification. From 2004-14, nearly all madrasah teachers had received training (increasing from 16% to 94%). In all three cases, the bodies responsible have the authority to terminate the employment of any teacher if they are not satisfied that the minimum criteria have been met.
 

Equitable access

Fee-settingAny fees charged by private education institutions must not exceed the amount calculated based on a specific formula in the 2009 Private Education Regulations (with exemptions given to institutions which are part of the certification or accreditation scheme). The Committee for Private Education protects student fees in the form of fee protection schemes and fee collection caps with the aim to protect the unconsumed course fees paid by students in the event that a private education institution ceases to operate. Fee collection caps limit the amount of course fees a private institution can collect at one time, minimizing the impact to students if an institution stops operating. The type and amount of fees collected in government-aided schools is regulated by the MoE on similar grounds to government schools, with all fees required to be approved by the Director-General of Education and used exclusively for school expenses.

 

Admission selection and processesWhile the admission process is regulated in government and government-aided schools (by prohibiting the schools from refusing admission to students solely on the grounds of religion or race), private education institutions and Islamic religious schools are allowed to admit pupils on their own grounds. 

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Board:  All private education institutions are required to establish Academic Boards of no less than 3 members which meet the conditions detailed in the 2009 Act. Members of the Academic Board can be the same as those on the Examination Board, with each institution free to appoint its managers and staff members as long as there is no conflict of interest. The MoE establishes Governing Boards in government-aided schools (similar to government schools) according to the 1990 School Boards (Incorporation) Act (last amended in 2013). There were no regulations found regarding the member composition of these boards though. Islamic religious schools have Management Committees which are registered under the Education Act, with members registered by the MoE every 2 years (following a consultation with the MUI).

 

Reporting requirements: All private education institutions are required to submit annual reports of their activities, accounts, and financial statements to the Committee for Private Education for purposes of monitoring and inspection. Institutions are additionally required to keep up-to-date records of information on course administration (including timetabling and learning outcomes), student attendance, teacher deployment, and administrative and governance arrangements. Government-aided schools must submit direct annual estimates of fees to be collected, salary amounts, allowances, and any contributions to the Permanent Secretary of the MoE, while Islamic religious schools are required to submit any information that may be periodically required by the MUI.

Inspection: The Committee for Private Education may appoint an inspector to enter and inspect the premises of any private education institution from time to time (within reasonable hours) for the purpose of investigating whether the minimum criteria and regulations are being complied with. Government-aided schools are inspected once a year by an inspector appointed by the MoE, while the MUI may authorize a public officer to inspect any Islamic religious school to evaluate whether the minimum standards are being complied with.

 

For private education institutions, the EduTrust Certification Scheme administered by the Committee for Private Education is an additional quality assurance scheme that aims to distinguish private schools that are able to consistently maintain a high standard of overall quality and make continuous improvements that lead to positive student outcomes (evaluated and renewed based on 7 criteria and specific terms and conditions). Institutions may qualify for awards based on how well EduTrust requirements are met. Criteria that are evaluated include academic processes, corporate governance and administration, quality management and the protection and welfare of students (but no assessment on the quality of a course).

 

Assessment: Private education institutions follow their own assessments and examination systems and are required to establish an Examination Board to conduct and moderate all examinations and assessments of their self-developed courses, which must be approved by the Committee for Private Education. Externally developed courses must be examined or assessed according to the procedures specified by the external course developer or proprietor. Government-aided schools are required to take part in national examinations (similar to government schools), while students attending Islamic religious schools (which are exempt from compulsory education) must sit for the Primary School Leaving Examinations as one of the criteria for being granted exemption.

 

Diplomas and degreesPrivate education institutions may award their students their own certificates, degrees, or diplomas (provided the school is registered and approved by the Committee for Private Education), while government-aided schools provide similar certificates to government schools. There was no information found regarding certificates or diplomas in Islamic religious schools.  The acceptance of qualifications lies with each higher education institution or employer, as there is no central authority in Singapore that accords recognition to qualifications and/or certificates.

 

Sanctions: The Committee for Private Education has the authority to suspend or cancel a private education institution’s registration if during an inspection the premises and staff are found to be unsuitable and not in compliance with regulations. All unregistered institutions are subject to closure (if necessary, by force by the Committee, with schools required to refund all the students. Private institutions may also close for other reasons which are not controlled by the Committee, as they are commercial businesses. The Committee has put in place various fee protection schemes to protect students unconsumed fees in the event that an institution closes, otherwise the school is required to make necessary arrangements to place students in other similar institutions to complete their studies. The Director-General of Education may cancel the registration of a government-aided school if the school is not complying with the minimum standards (following a period of written warning), while the MUI has the authority to close any Islamic religious school that does not adhere to regulations. If any private education institution is found to not be registered, the owner will be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 (7,526 USD) and/or to imprisonment for up to 12 months. In the case of unregistered Islamic religious schools, the provider will be liable to a fine not exceeding $2,000 (1,505 USD) and/or to imprisonment for up to 12 months. The Committee for Private Education additionally collects and analyzes complaints made towards private institutions, with administrative issues (23%) and fees (11%) recorded as the top grievances for 2018. However, the Committee warns students that as private institutions are commercial businesses, they may close down for various reasons.

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring

Supplementary private tuition in Singapore can mainly be categorized into home-based or center-based tutoring, provided by teachers or private tuition centers. Teachers providing private tutoring services are regulated by the MoE, while private tuition centers are registered as private education institutions and regulated by the Committee for Private Education.

Entry/Establishment

Private tuition centers that teach subjects similar to mainstream schools are required to apply for registration with the Committee for Private Education (similar to private schools) if they offer services to over 10 pupils.  

Financial operation and quality

Teachers employed in private tutoring centers must meet the minimum standards set by the Committee and be registered according to the 2009 Private Education Regulations.

Teaching profession

Teachers in Singapore (both state and non-state) are permitted to provide private tutoring services, but the work should not exceed 6 hours per week or detract from their school duties. School principals are given the authority to manage requests from teachers to undertake any outside part-time employment.

 

 

Last modified:

Mon, 29/11/2021 - 21:56