The Difference between Local and International Schools in Singapore

Most expatriates send their children to international schools, while Singaporeans mostly send their children to local schools. However, some expatriates choose to send their children to local schools, while some Singaporean parents opt for international schools.

Although the government gives priority to Singaporean students when it comes to admission in government-run schools, some international students have been accepted into the system, after registering in the Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS).  It is also crucial to note that there is a third option of local international schools. Such schools offer students the choice between Singapore and international curriculum. Local international schools are privately funded but managed by the Ministry of Education.

Singaporean culture vs. global learning

The curriculum in local schools focuses primarily on Singaporean culture. Educators strive to ensure the students understand as much as possible on Singapore’s culture. The international education system focuses on global learning, with the use of international examples.

Students in international schools have a more extensive outlook on the international scene as opposed to those in local schools. Considering the changing trends in the world, some parents feel it is important for their children to have a global outlook and are confident in having this information passed to them through education.

International teachers

One evident difference between local and international schools is the number of foreign teachers in international schools. Since international schools are private, international teachers have been recruited in most of these schools to ensure the students get the exposure the curriculum seeks. The curriculum of the international school aims to give students an exposure to the global scene. Some of these schools feel students will get a better picture of the societies included in the curriculum from teachers who are from some of these areas.

The teachers in the local schools are primarily Singaporean. The Singapore government is committed to protecting local professionals and it is primarily Singaporeans who apply to work in local education, rather than foreigners. Therefore, the ratio of teachers in the government managed schools are mostly Singaporean teachers.

Teacher-student ratios

Some parents overlook the tuition fees of international schools because of the smaller teacher-student ratio. Some schools have between 15 and 25 students per teacher. Parents who feel such a ratio gives their child a greater opportunity of getting personal attention from the teacher opt to take them to international schools. The local schools have approximately 40 students per teacher.

International schools are co-educational

The international schools in Singapore are co-educational. This means that boys and girls study together. This is a contrast to the local schools where parents have a choice between taking their children to a girls, boys, or co-educational school. Some parents prefer taking their children to a single-sex school, so they prefer the local schools because of the availability of this possible choice.

Autonomy on curriculum

The international schools have autonomy over the curriculum they teach the students. Therefore, there are a few differences in some of the international schools, especially those that are linked to specific countries. For example, there are some differences between the American and British systems of education. Local schools must adhere to the guidelines from the Ministry of Education.

The decision a parent makes when it comes to a choice between the local and international school is highly dependent on the parent’s preference. Looking at the differences between the two education systems will make the decision-making process more manageable.