General Information on Studying in Singapore

Information on Schools

MOE’s School Information Service (SIS) provides detailed information of our mainstream schools and their academic and non-academic achievements. You can narrow your search based on a range of criteria. Do visit our SIS website to learn more about our schools.

School Term

You may refer to the Singapore School Terms and Holidays to plan your child’s school admission.

School Fees

For more information on the monthly school and miscellaneous fees, click here.

Mother Tongue Language Policy

The learning of Mother Tongue Language (MTL) is a lifelong endeavour. The MTL policy seeks to nurture our students to become effective communicators in MTL and supports our students to study MTL to as high a level as possible. Having an appreciation of MTL cultures enhances Singapore’s multicultural identity and fosters social cohesion in our daily lives. In addition, it gives our students a competitive edge when tapping into global or regional opportunities in the future.

Our students are required to offer an official MTL (Chinese, Malay or Tamil) in school. Students of Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicity offer their respective MTLs. Eurasian students, students of mixed parentage and students whose mother tongue is not one of the three official MTLs can choose to offer any of the three official MTLs. Non-Tamil speaking students of Indian ethnicity can apply to offer a non-Tamil Indian language (Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi or Urdu).

Students will sit for their respective MTL examination at the PSLE and the GCE examinations.

Pre-departure Preparations

Helping your child upkeep his learning of MTL while overseas is the first step in preparing your child to be ready for his reintegration into our education system.

Parents who have applied for the Leave of Absence (LOA) scheme can approach their child’s school to obtain the LOA package. The LOA package contains a useful guide on ways to support your child in continuing his learning of MTL while residing overseas.

In choosing a suitable school for your child overseas, you may want to consider the school’s language offering. Together with home support in language learning, enrolling your child into a school that offers his MTL will enable continuity in his MTL learning and allow your child to deepen his MTL proficiency over time.

Keeping Up with MTL Learning Overseas

It is important for students residing overseas to get continued access to quality MTL learning resources. To help bridge your child’s learning gap, you can access MOE’s online curriculum resources and learning tools that are designed to support students with different learning needs and MTL proficiency levels via the ‘Collated Resources for LOA Students’. This can be obtained from your child’s school.

Chinese Language –
Malay Language –
Tamil Language –

Returning to Join an MOE School

Your child is highly encouraged to continue pursuing his learning of MTL upon joining an MOE school. There may be an initial adjustment period as he familiarises himself with MOE’s curriculum and teaching and learning demands. Do seek regular support from your child’s school teachers as they can partner you in adopting support measures to ease his transition to our schools.

Foundation MTL and MTL ‘B’ Syllabuses

Should your child face persistent difficulties in coping with the standard MTL curriculum, you may wish to discuss with his school teachers the option of letting him offer the Foundation MTL curriculum (available from Primary 5) or the MTL ‘B’ syllabus (available from secondary level). To better cater to the different learning needs of our students, the focus of the Foundation MTL and MTL ‘B’ syllabuses is on developing students’ oral and listening skills, with a reduced demand on writing skills. Schools will tailor appropriate teaching and learning support for these students.

Offering Other Approved Languages in lieu of an Official MTL

Students who have been away from Singapore’s school system for a prolonged period of time and had no opportunities to keep up with the learning of an official MTL can apply to offer an MOE-approved MTL-in-lieu such as French, German, Japanese, Arabic, Burmese or Thai, if they had formal learning in these languages overseas. As MOE does not provide instruction for these languages in the formal school setting, you are required to make private study arrangements in preparation for your child to offer the language at the GCE examinations. Similar to students offering an official MTL, your child is required to fulfil the MTL requirement for admission into a junior college or centralised institute (D7 or above for GCE O Level), or a local publicly-funded undergraduate programme (S grade or above for GCE A Level H1) by attaining the required grade for the respective MTL-in-lieu examination.

Exemption from Offering MTL

Where possible, all students should continue learning an official MTL so as to reap the benefits of being bilingual. Hence, before applying for MTL exemption, we strongly encourage your child to try taking an official MTL for at least one semester, to allow him some time to adjust to the curriculum. Our teachers will also be there to provide support and guide your child along in his learning journey.

An application for exemption from offering MTL can be made through the school. All applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors such as the duration and location of your child’s stay overseas, prior language learning and MTL curriculum demand upon admission. These considerations are evaluated holistically when assessing if exemption is in the best educational interest of your child as individual circumstances and learning abilities vary.

Children with Special Educational Needs

For information on support for children with Special Educational Needs, click here