The increasing number of international schools in Singapore – Kevin Long Noll, Germany

Only second to the United States of America, Singapore has one of the largest numbers of international schools around the whole world. When compared with the country’s unremarkable size and population, the number of international schools in Singapore is surprising.

During the last few years, both the numbers of international schools and the demand for enrolment in these schools has increased rapidly. Interestingly, international schools in Singapore are getting more and more publicity from expatriates, therefore increasing interest from local families as well. Prior to 2007, it was difficult for students to get acceptance to international schools due to the limited availability, high admission, tuition and tax fees. However, there are now over thirty international schools in Singapore, and space for enrolment is rapidly expanding.

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With the increasing number of foreigners employed in Singapore, the number of families with small children has increased as well, which is why primary schools are in high demand.
Even the German European School in Singapore (GESS), the Lycée Francais de Singapore, and the Overseas Family school are planning to open new campuses within the next two years, and the Tanglin Trust School will add 4 new buildings over the next 8 years, it is expected that the demand for international schools in Singapore will increase significantly during the next thirty years, and the enrolment of expats will continuously get easier.

Today, it is much harder for Singaporean citizens to go to an international school, as the Singaporean government wants the students to have a local education with a future of living in Singapore. It is known that most international students will end up studying abroad and will not work in Singapore. That is another reason that the Singaporean government thinks it is necessary to fight against the decreasing population by preventing them from attending international schools. Only with special consent from the government may Singaporean citizens attend international schools.

On the other hand, there are expatriate families who decide to enrol their children in local schools to avoid long waiting lists and high costs, or to get a different education system for the children with more focus on learning science, maths and Mandarin.

Most of the international schools have a great offer of activities, services and outdoor education. This affects Singapore in various ways. Students can help disabled, ill or old people in hospitals and retirement homes, clean the streets of Singapore, raise money, plant trees or support children in learning for academics or sports. International schools offer a lot of opportunities to integrate into local society even though the children come from all over the world.

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