A total budget of £5.3 billion has been allocated to the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) in FY2012.
Education & Training Sector in Singapore
Singapore places a heavy emphasis on knowledge intensive work as it looks to develop deeper
skill sets and capabilities, so as to sustain growth and create better jobs for citizens in high value-
Singapore’s education system is internationally recognised for its strengths and it is able to
achieve good outcomes through judicious investments in key areas that matter, such as through
the building of a quality teaching force and infrastructure that supports holistic learning.
Nevertheless, Singapore is constantly improving its education system to deliver the best
education to prepare its young well for an ever-changing future.
A total budget of £5.3 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of Education (MOE) in FY2012.
MOE will subsidise the operations of schools and tertiary institutions as follows:
ξ £2.65 billion for the operations of primary schools, special education schools, secondary
schools, independent schools, centralised institute and junior colleges;
ξ £1.3 billion for the operations of the four autonomous universities, i.e. National University
of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management
University (SMU) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), UniSIM,
and Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT);
ξ £0.65 billion for the operations of the five polytechnics and two tertiary arts institutions;
ξ £0.25 billion for the operations of Institute of Technical Education (ITE).
Faced with a significantly tighter labour market, Singapore recognises the importance of
sustaining its economic growth through higher skills and innovation with productivity as the
basis for higher incomes for Singaporeans. Effective and relevant training will be of utmost
importance to ensure that the workforce is able to re-skill and up-skill. To this end, Singapore set
up the National Productivity and Continuing Education Council (NPCEC) in April 2010 with a
focus on upgrading the skills and competencies of employees across industries such as financial
services, process construction and social services. The NPCEC aims to achieve productivity
growth of two to three per cent per annum over the next 10 years, or 30 per cent cumulatively
over the same period. By 2030, the real median wage is targeted to grow to approximately
Expand Opportunities in the Higher Education Sector. MOE will continue to invest in its
Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs) to sustain a quality and vibrant Higher Education sector to
provide Singaporeans access to an education that will equip them with the skills and disposition
to stay relevant in a fast-changing world.
Today, more than 60% of the cohort receives a quality education at its five Polytechnics and the
ITE. MOE will continue to step up investments in these two sectors to ensure that they are viable
and attractive pathways for preparing students for the future economy. MOE will invest £3.5
billion and £1 billion in these two sectors respectively over the next five years.
With the recent announcement that UniSIM and SIT will be the fifth and sixth universities
respectively, MOE is studying how to provide more opportunities for Singaporeans to access
university-level education, and to develop and shape its local talent pool to be ready to meet
challenges in the future. The Committee on University Education Pathways (CUEP) will present
its findings in end-2012.
Continuing Education and Training. MOE will invest £175 million on Continuing Education
and Training (CET) over five years from 2012, to enable its workforce to remain relevant amidst
global uncertainty. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will also enhance training support for
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by further raising course fee and other subsidies to
encourage greater training participation. This will be applicable for all courses certified by the
Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), and for academic CET programmes at the
polytechnics and the ITE. Course fee subsidies will be enhanced to 90%, while the absentee
payroll cap will be increased from £2.25 an hour to £3.75 an hour. This scheme will run for three
Strengthening Support for Effective Delivery of Citizenship and Character Education
(CCE). MOE will spearhead, coordinate and enhance efforts for whole-school approaches
towards CCE. MOE will focus on the expression and learning of values through meaningful
interactions with the community instead of quantitative measurement, and encourage schools to
develop coherent and sustainable service learning programmes.
Working with Stakeholders to improve Special Education (SPED). SPED is another area that
has benefitted from enhanced partnerships with the community. By 2013, there will be an
additional 450 places to two SPED schools. In addition, MOE will develop training opportunities
for SPED professionals. MOE will also be working with SPED schools to develop their
curriculum based on the MOE Curriculum Framework that defines Education Outcomes and
Learning Standards. MOE aims to release the final framework by the end of 2012.
Revamp of pre-school education. To ensure that pre-schools provide a holistic education for
children through play, arts, creativity and innovation, Singapore has set aside £5 million over the
next two years to attract more teachers to the childcare sector through scholarships and teaching
awards. With the recent initiative to add about 200 more childcare centres by 2017, the pre-
school sector is slated to offer 3,000 more jobs in the next five years even as childcare centres
ramp up operations. The sector currently hires approximately 11,000 people across 1,400
kindergartens and childcare centres.
The Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework (SPARK) was established in 2011 to
provide quality benchmarks for the wide range of centres. Strong leadership skills are a key
requirement for clearing the SPARK checks. MOE has not ruled out making SPARK
certification mandatory, although pre-schools that secure certification by March 2013 will
receive £1,500 each from MOE.
Latest export opportunities – Education & Training
Latest export opportunities – Singapore
Getting into the market
The Council for Private Education (CPE) is the local regulatory body in charge of private
education institutions (PEIs). UK companies who are interested to offer its programmes / courses
via a PEI are advised to check that the PEI is registered with CPE. PEIs have to follow the PE
Act to protect student interests and the relevant information and the legislation can be found on
the Council for Private Education website. For those who intend to offer its web-based
programmes / courses directly, they would not be required to register with CPE. UK companies
could also explore opportunities to work with local PEIs in third markets since many PEIs have
links to, or have branches set up in South-East Asia and other parts of Asia.
WDA has appointed approved training organisations (ATOs) and Continuing Education and
Training (CET) centres to deliver the nationally recognised Workforce Skills Qualifications
(WSQ) training. WSQ is based on national standards developed by WDA in collaboration with
various industries comprising industry sectoral frameworks. Foreign companies could work with
potential local partners to explore joint development and delivery of courses and continuing
professional development programmes.
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
ξ Elsie Yim, British High Commission Singapore. Tel: +65 6424 4325 or email:
ξ Malcolm Yiong, British High Commission Singapore. Tel: +65 6424 4324 or email:
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows
Latest events – Education & Training
HR Summit 2013
Date: 24 – 25 April 2013
Singapore Human Capital Summit 2013
Date: 11-12 September 2013
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters