Having metamorphosed from a poor, third-world economy to a global financial hub in a matter of just a couple of decades, Singapore – Southeast Asia’s small island nation - has been grabbing the headlines since over a decade now for topping international league tables that measure children’s ability in reading, maths and science. In 2015, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked Singapore’s system of education as the best in the world. What makes Singapore school system so successful? Generous government funding and cultural factors aside, here are some unique features of Singapore’s school system that contribute to its success.
1. Experiential Education: Schools in Singapore focus on experiential education, i.e. students learn how to apply the theoretical/conceptual knowledge imparted in the classroom to real-world examples or complex issues that require critical thinking.
2. Top talent: The teacher recruitment process is highly selective, attracting only the top talent. Teachers are highly skilled and fully committed to nurturing critical thinkers with a global outlook. They receive ample professional development opportunities.
3. Supplementary Education: Schools in Singapore offer a rich supplementary education menu which includes Citizenship & Character Education (CCE), Sexual Education and Third Languages (French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Arabic), among others.
4. Tracking: Students who lag behind their peers in the class are tracked lower and learn at their own pace. The bright students are constantly challenged. They are offered ample opportunities to stretch themselves further and compete for academic prizes.
5. Use of IT: From ICT tools to high-tech learning aids, schools in Singapore strongly promote the integration of IT in the teaching-learning process. Teachers often encourage students to do internet research on a a particular issue and present their findings in the classroom.
6. Parental Engagement: As directed by Singapore’s Ministry of Education, every parent is made an ‘Engaged Partner’ in the country’s school education ecosystem. The two main platforms that facilitate interaction between schools and parents are a Parent Support Group (PSG) that includes parent volunteers in every school and annual meetings between the teachers and parents where the progress of students is discussed.
7. Avenues for Differentiated Learning: Singapore’s education system is designed to cater to children with varied learning preferences, abilities and dispositions. Different learning pathways are provided for students with different learning needs so as to ensure equal opportunities for all and equip every student with the skills required to navigate the increasingly dynamic 21st century landscape.
The globally acclaimed Singapore curriculum is now being offered for the first time in India by Vijaybhoomi International School. Sited in Karjat - a picturesque hill town sited almost equi-distant from Mumbai and Pune - the wholly residential Vijaybhoomi International School is a collaborative venture of Jaspal Sidhu, founder of the Singapore International School/Singapore Global School Group, and the Bangalore based IFIM Group of Institutions.