Language Programmes in Secondary School

Tamil Language (TL)

A total of 90 schools provide TL lessons within curriculum time. This allows over 92% of secondary school TL pupils to take TL during curriculum time. Pupils choosing to study at other secondary schools will be able to take TL in the afternoons at Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre (UPTLC) and 11 other school-based TL centres distributed around the island. Please refer to the list of secondary schools offering Tamil (1.2mb .pdf).

HMTLs (HMTL)

Pupils who offer Mother Tongue Language (MTL)(i.e. Chinese/ Malay/ Tamil) or HMTL (i.e. Higher Chinese/ Higher Malay/ Higher Tamil) at the PSLE and

  • are ranked among the top 10% of the PSLE; or
  • are in the top 11% - 30% band who meet the language criteria (i.e. an A* grade in the MTL or at least a Merit in the HMTL)

may opt to study HMTL at secondary schools. They may offer English Language and HMTL in the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination at the end of Secondary Four.

Schools will also have the flexibility to allow pupils who do not meet the above criteria to offer HMTL, if they are assessed to have exceptional ability in MTL and are able to do HMTL without affecting their performance in other subjects.

Pupils eligible for HMTL will be invited to apply for these programmes immediately after the release of the PSLE results. If selected, pupils offering HMTL will attend classes in their secondary schools if such courses are offered in these schools. If the schools do not offer such courses, the pupils will have to study HMTL in designated centres outside curriculum time. Higher Malay classes are conducted at MOE Language Centre (Bishan) and Higher Tamil classes are conducted at the Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre (UPTLC), Jurong West Secondary School, Marsiling Secondary School and Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School outside curriculum time. Please refer to the list of schools / designated centres and Language Centres offering Higher Chinese, Higher Malay and Higher Tamil (3.1mb .pdf).

Pupils taking HMTL are eligible for the following incentives. These measures are put in place to give pupils more flexibility in the study of two languages and thus help to produce a greater number of effectively bilingual pupils in the future.

  1. A pupil who passes both English and HMTL at the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination and who qualifies for admission to a Junior College (JC)/Millennia Institute (MI) will be given a concession of two points in his application to the JC/MI of his choice. Priority for admission to a JC/MI will be given to a pupil with English and HMTL who scores the same number of points as one with English and MTL.
  2. For entry to a JC/MI, a grade of E8 in HMTL is considered to be equivalent to a grade of D7 in MTL. Therefore, a pupil who scores at least C6 in English Language and E8 in HMTL will be considered to have satisfied the language requirements for admission to a JC/MI.
  3. A pupil, who obtains at least a grade of D7 in HMTL at the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination, will be considered to have satisfied the MTL requirement for admission to the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University.
  4. At the end of Secondary Three, a pupil studying HMTL will be allowed to sit for the GCE ‘O’ Level MTL paper. If the pupil is unable to cope with both English and HMTL, he will be allowed to switch to English and MTL.

Elective Programme in Malay Language for Secondary Schools (EMAS)

An Elective Programme in Malay Language for Secondary Schools (EMAS) has been introduced in Anderson Secondary School, Bukit Panjang Government High School and Tanjong Katong Secondary School as a niche area. The four-year programme will be offered to pupils who take up Higher Malay (HML), and aims to deepen their understanding and appreciation of Malay language, history and culture.

Third Languages

A total of eight Third Languages are offered. They are the Malay (Special Programme), Chinese (Special Programme), Bahasa Indonesia, Arabic, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. Eligible pupils who are successfully admitted via the DSA-Sec Exercise must also apply for Third Language(s) during the S1 Option Exercise if they wish to take up a Third Language.

Malay (Special Programme) / Chinese (Special Programme)

Malay (Special Programme)[MSP] is offered to all S1 pupils from Express and Normal (Academic) courses as long as they have the interest and inclination and have not offered Higher Malay/ Malay as their MTL at PSLE.

Chinese (Special Programme)[CSP] is offered to all S1 pupils from Express and Normal (Academic) courses as long as they have the interest and inclination and have not offered Higher Chinese/ Chinese as their MTL at PSLE.

The programme will prepare pupils for the MSP/CSP examination at GCE ‘O’ Level.

Pupils offering MSP/CSP will attend lessons twice a week, two hours per session outside school curriculum time either in their own secondary school (if the school offers it) or at the nearest MSP/CSP centre. Please refer to the list of schools offering MSP/CSP and zonal centres (3.1mb .pdf).

Pupils can apply for MSP/CSP online upon the release of their PSLE results. In the event that the number of applicants exceeds that of vacancies at the MSP/CSP centres, selection will be based on their PSLE results.

Pupils taking MSP/CSP are eligible for the following incentives. These measures are put in place to encourage more pupils to offer these official mother tongues as Third Languages in schools.

  1. A pupil who passes MSP/CSP at the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination and who qualifies for admission to a JC/MI will be given a concession of two points in his application to the JC/MI of his choice.
  2. A pupil who offers MSP/CSP in the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination will be allowed to use the MSP/CSP grade in lieu of a Humanities subject grade for admission to the JC/MI.

Bahasa Indonesia and Arabic

Bahasa Indonesia and Arabic as Third Languages are offered to all S1 pupils from Express and Normal (Academic) courses. Pupils with the interest and inclination may apply to study either subject. To be eligible for Bahasa Indonesia/ Arabic, an applicant OR his father OR his mother must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident. Applicants for Bahasa Indonesia must not have offered Higher Malay/ Malay as their MTL at PSLE.

Bahasa Indonesia/ Arabic as a Third Language is a four-year course leading to the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination.

Pupils offering Bahasa Indonesia/ Arabic will attend lessons twice a week, two hours per session outside school curriculum time at the MOE Language Centre (MOELC) at Bishan. Please refer to the map of the Language Centre at Bishan (120kb .pdf).

Pupils can apply for Bahasa Indonesia/ Arabic online upon the release of their PSLE results. In the event that the number of applicants exceeds that of vacancies, selection will be based on their PSLE results.

Pupils taking Bahasa Indonesia are eligible for the following incentives:

  1. A pupil who passes Bahasa Indonesia at the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination and who qualifies for admission to a JC/MI will be given a concession of two points in his application to the JC/MI of his choice.
  2. A pupil who offers Bahasa Indonesia in the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination will be allowed to use the Bahasa Indonesia grade in lieu of a Humanities subject grade for admission to the JC/MI.

Bicultural Studies Programme (Chinese) [BSP(C)]

The Bicultural Studies Programme (Chinese) [BSP(C)] is a four-year programme offered in four schools starting from Secondary Three. These schools are Hwa Chong Institution, Dunman High School, Nanyang Girls’ High School and River Valley High School. All pupils in the BSP(C) will learn about contemporary China, and be able to relate to the West over the four years. BSP(C) pupils are encouraged to offer H1 or H2 China Studies in Chinese (CSC) at the GCE ‘A’ Level, whilst scholars will offer either (a) H2 CSC or (b) H2 Chinese Language and Literature and H1 CSC. In addition, BSP(C) pupils can look forward up to six months of immersion in China and up to two weeks in a Western country. Pupils who are successfully enrolled in the BSP(C) will be considered for the Special Assistance Plan Scholarships (SAP) for BSP(C).

Regional Studies Programme (RSP)

The Regional Studies Programme (RSP) is offered in Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Cedar Girls’ Secondary School, Raffles Institution, Raffles Girls’ (Secondary) and Victoria School. Pupils in the RSP will offer MSP or Bahasa Indonesia as a third language and learn about Southeast Asian culture and contemporary society. Pupils who are successfully enrolled in the RSP will be considered for the RSP Scholarships.

Foreign Language Programmes

Pupils who are ranked among the top 10% of the PSLE cohort and who have a special ability in languages are eligible to apply to study a foreign language (i.e. French/ German/ Japanese/ Spanish) from S1.

Eligible top 10% pupils can apply for French/ German/ Japanese online upon the release of their PSLE results. Pupils opting for Japanese Language are required to have passed Higher Chinese/ Chinese at the PSLE as the standard written form of Japanese uses Kanji (Chinese characters). In the event that the number of applicants exceeds the number of vacancies, selection will be based on their PSLE results. To be eligible for the Foreign Language Programme, the applicant OR his father OR his mother must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.

If selected, pupils will attend Foreign Language (French/German/Japanese/ Spanish) classes at the MOELC Bishan or MOELC Newton (120kb .pdf). The four hours of instruction are divided into two portions—a 3-hour-15 minutes once-weekly session on campus, followed by 45 minutes of online instruction to be done from home. Foreign languages are taught at:

Foreign Language Ministry of Education Language Centre (MOELC)
French / Japanese MOELC (Bishan) for pupils from schools in the east, south and north zones
MOELC (Newton) for pupils from schools in the west zone and Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), National Junior College, Crescent Girls’ School, Fairfield Methodist Secondary School and St Margaret’s Secondary School.
German MOELC (Bishan) for pupils from all zones

For more information on the MOELCs, you can visit the MOELC website.