Singapore is the most developed country in Southeast Asia and one of the most developed countries in all of Asia. Its education system is an accurate reflection of that development as Singaporean students consistently rank as some of the best scoring students on international assessments.
In the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an annual global study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Singapore ranked second in mathematics, third in reading, third in science and second overall for student performance.
And the students excel in more than just test scores.
Singaporean students won numerous international science and mathematics competitions in 2014. At the 27th International Young Physicists’ Tournament, for example, the Singapore team took first place. At the 25th International Biology Olympiad, the 46th International Chemistry Olympiad, the 55th International Mathematics Olympiad, the 26th International Olympiad in Informatics and the 45th International Physics Olympiad, the Singapore team consistently won multiple gold and silver medals.
Singapore undoubtedly has high quality education and exceptional student performance due to the structure of its education system. For children between the ages of 6 and 15 years old, education is compulsory, but there is also a social norm to proceed on to tertiary education and to succeed.
Singapore currently has four universities and five polytechnic institutions that focus on practical degree programs in disciplines like tourism, biotechnology, engineering, business, communications and hospitality management. The quality of Singapore’s primary, secondary and tertiary institutions is so high that 86,0oo international students come to Singapore to study.
Findings from the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey by the OECD explain how and why Singapore succeeds in providing quality education. According to the survey, teachers receive not only extensive training before they reach the classroom, but also professional development throughout their careers as instructors. School culture is reported to be collaborative and teachers are highly respected in Singapore.
Ho Peng, Director-General of Education, says the quality of education in Singapore starts with creating quality teachers. “Ensuring that our teachers are competent and professional is critical, to bring out the best in every student and prepare him or her to meet future challenges,” Peng said. “We will continue to look for ways to support our teaching force to enable them to do their best for our students.”
Singapore’s education model is successfully rooted in core ideologies, pragmatic approaches and societal norms. Students have for many years performed unparalleled in academic competitions and test scores, and the country will continue to see successful development because of its superlative approach to education.
– Joseph McAdams
Photo: The Real Singapore