Exemptions from Compulsory Education

(Note: The following applies to children born on or before 1st January 2012. For children born after 1st January 2012, more details will be made available at a later date.)

A child of compulsory school age born after 1st January 1996, and who is Singaporean citizen residing in Singapore, has to regularly attend a national primary school as a pupil, unless he/she has been exempted from compulsory education (CE).

The following categories of children may be exempted from CE:

  • Designated Schools

    Children who wish to attend Designated Schools, namely the madrasahs1 currently offering full-time religious education for children of primary school-going age and San Yu Adventist School, are required to seek exemption from CE.

    (NOTE: San Yu Adventist School will not admit Primary 1 Singapore Citizens from 2016 – 2018)

    These Designated Schools have to meet a certain PSLE benchmark for the “Designated School” status, which allows them to continue admitting children exempted from CE at Primary 1.

    Parents will have to apply to the Compulsory Education Unit (CEU), Ministry of Education (MOE) for their child to be exempted from CE. Applications for exemption from CE are to be made through the respective Designated Schools.

  • Home-schooling

    Children will only be granted exemption from CE to be home-schooled provided the parents are able to satisfy MOE that the two key objectives of CE can be achieved for their children. Parents will have to apply to MOE for their child to be exempted from CE for home-schooling.

    In seeking CE exemption for their child to receive home-schooling, parents are required to furnish information on the curriculum and educational outcomes of the home-schooling programme, including instruction in National Education.

    A child granted exemption from CE to be home-schooled has to sit the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in four subjects (English, Mother Tongue, Mathematics, Science) at Standard Level.

    A home-schooled child has to meet the same PSLE benchmark as children attending the San Yu Adventist School2, and sit for the National Education Quiz before PSLE.

  • Special Educational Needs

    Children who are not unable to attend national schools because of physical/intellectual disabilities are exempted from CE in national schools. Parents of children with special needs born on or before 1st January 2012 do not have to obtain certificates confirming exemption from CE.


  1. The 4 full-time primary Madrasahs are Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah, Madrasah Al-Ma’arif Al-Islamiah, Madrasah Alsagoff Al-Arabiah and Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah.
  2. The PSLE benchmark for San Yu Adventist School is pegged at the 33rd percentile aggregate score of pupils who take the 4 subjects at Standard level in national schools in that same year.