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Updated: September 14, 2009 17:26 IST

Singapore: the best of East and West

B. S. Warrier
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POPULAR DESTINATION: Singapore offers a broad range of programmes, at the certificate, diploma, bachelor, and postgraduate levels. Photo: AP
AP POPULAR DESTINATION: Singapore offers a broad range of programmes, at the certificate, diploma, bachelor, and postgraduate levels. Photo: AP

The place is a significant finance, business and education hub that promotes excellence in every segment of its activities.

Singapore is a sovereign republic of remarkable distinction, and the education there is no exception. There are fine systems that are followed with precision. Justice and fair play are of prime concern in every organisation. The country is small. Its area is below 700 sq km and the population below five million.

Singapore is a popular destination for education. It is refreshingly different from other countries. It is often said that Singapore happily merges the best of East and West. The place is a significant finance, business and education hub, a country that maintains discipline and promotes excellence in every segment of its activities. Though the country is multicultural and multilingual in structure, English language is widely used. Secondary schools in Singapore may be government-funded, government-aided, or independent.

Students attend four or five years of secondary education under the special, express, or normal course. The special and express courses prepare students for the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education ‘Ordinary’ (GCE ’O’) Level examination in four years. Students in the normal course can opt for the academic or technical stream, both of which prepare students for the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education ‘Normal’ (GCE ’N’) level examination after four years of study and upon satisfactory completion, the GCE ‘O’ level examination in the fifth year.

Junior Colleges

Upon completion of the GCE ‘O’ level examination, students may apply for entry to a junior college for a two-year pre-university course or a centralised institute for a three-year pre-university course. Junior colleges and centralised institutes prepare students for their entry to the university and lay the foundation for tertiary education.

At the end of the pre-university course, students sit for the GCE ’A’ level examination. Indian students can apply for admission to junior colleges and pre-universities

Polytechnics

Polytechnics offer students practice-oriented studies at the diploma level.

There are five polytechnics in Singapore: Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic

These offer a wide range of courses such as engineering, business studies, mass communication, design and info-communications, optometry, marine engineering, nautical studies, nursing, early childhood education, and film universities

There are three local universities in Singapore:

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Singapore Management University (SMU)

NUS offers courses in major disciplines such as the sciences, engineering, technology, law, arts and social sciences, and medicine. NTU offers tertiary education and research in engineering and technology.

It also covers teacher education, accountancy, business and communication studies.

SMU focuses on business and management programmes.

Further, a number of the world’s leading foreign universities have established their units in Singapore, either with their own campuses or with a local tie-up.

Private arts institutions

There are two private arts institutions receiving public funds, providing post-secondary education in the arts.

Lasalle College of the Arts

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts

There are other private arts schools as well. Details in respect of any kind of schools and courses can be obtained by following the link “Studying in Singapore” in the site www.singaporeedu.gov.sg

Private schools

There are hundreds of private schools offering a broad range of programmes, at the certificate, diploma, bachelor, and postgraduate levels.

Often they have partnerships with popular international universities from the U.S., U.K. and Australia enabling them to offer opportunities to attain international certification.

Mechanisms have been evolved to ensure the quality of teaching in the private schools.

Exchange programmes

International students can join exchange programmes in Singapore’s public universities—NUS, NTU, and SMU. As an example, let us look at the scheme in NTU. The Nanyang Technological University is a research-intensive top class university with strengths in business, science, and engineering. Nearly 25 per cent of the 30,000 students are from foreign countries.

There are three types of exchange: course work, research project and work experience programme.

We can pursue the programme of our choice at the undergraduate or postgraduate level for one or two semesters.

Nominated students going to NTU on exchange must be a full-time student in one of NTU exchange partner institutions and must have completed two semesters of study at home university, with proof of results.

Further details can be obtained directly from the university.

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