Average teacher-student ratios

Published Date: 16 August 2016 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Seah Kian Peng, Marine Parade GRC


To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) what has been the average teacher-student ratios for primary, secondary and junior college levels respectively over the decades of 1970-79,1980-89, 1990-99, 2000-10 and 2011 to date.


Since the 1970s, the student-teacher ratio – or what is known internationally as the Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) has improved across all levels. For the Primary level, the average PTRs of each decade in Government and Government-aided schools improved progressively from 30 in the 1970’s, to 28, 26 and 23 in the subsequent decades, and to 16 in 2015. A similar trend also took place at the Secondary level, with the average PTR improving over each decade, from 25, 22, 21, 19 to 13 in 2015. Data for JCs was not available in the 1970s, when the JC landscape was in its nascent stage. From the 1980s till now, the average JC PTRs over each decade have improved from 25, 15, 12, to 10 in 2015.

Our PTRs are comparable to the OECD average of 15 and 13 for primary and secondary schools respectively.

The PTR is an aggregate measure that compares the total number of teachers to the total number of students, and reflects our increase in investment of teacher resources over the years to bring out the best in each child. Besides the general increase in resources for every student, we have also invested resources in developing customised programmes for those requiring special attention. This includes lower primary students, students weak in literacy and numeracy, as well as students with special education needs. Through our continuous efforts, we have achieved progressively good outcomes for our school-going cohorts over the years. One indicator of this would be the extremely low dropout rates of students who did not complete Secondary education, at less than 1% of the Primary One cohort.
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