Singapore has gained dominance in the Asian region as a centre of influence, trade and business and education too.  The institutions offer very high quality of education where students, especially from Asian countries converge to study.  They have developed some very innovative and practical oriented courses, especially in non-conventional areas like disaster management and business management as well.

Singapore is a beautiful country and one can feel at home since it offers multicultural environment and India and Indians have a large influence over the local culture.

Why study in Singapore

Singapore, although small in size in terms of land mass, is a powerful nation amongst the entire Asian countries.  The city state of Singapore has achieved modernisation and projects itself as a vibrant, modern yet culturally strong, and technologically advanced nation.  Needless to say that all this has happened due to its strong emphasis on higher and quality education for its young citizens.  In a very short span of time, it has emerged as a nation which provides global education at par with some of the developed countries.

It has consistently achieved this distinction due to its emphasis on high standards of teaching-learning process and a strong focus on technological and scientific research and development.

Singapore is also recognised as “must-see” place on a tourists list of places to see.  The country is deeply rooted in multi-cultural traditions which it draws from citizens who were early settlers that came from India, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, neighbouring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and other South East Asian countries.  It is a pluralist country with a confluence of various ethnic cultures.  Given its geographical location and proximity to the sea, it has hot and humid climate throughout the year, with moderate monsoon and winter.

Singapore and its education system

Singapore’s National University of Singapore (NUS), one of its six universities, was ranked 25th in the QS World University Rankings for 2012/13.  It is also considered one of the highest ranking universities in the Asian Region and is known for its range of courses and quality of education.  It is known for achieving excellence in education in the following subjects of specialisation like: accounting and finance, law, modern language and statistics, communication & media studies, various specialised field of engineering, pharmacy and medicine, oceanography, various sciences, information technology and computer sciences, etc.

The other universities are Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore Institute of Technology. These universities are state controlled and it is ably supported by many private universities and institutions of higher learning while a lot of reputed foreign universities have their campuses in Singapore.

Singapore is therefore very popular with overseas students wanting to pursue higher education, mainly because the medium of instruction is English which is acceptable to many Asian countries.

Languages spoken in Singapore

Since Singapore is a confluence of multi-cultural traditions, their constitution recognises four official languages, viz. English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.   Here will you will an Indian speaking Punjabi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Malyali, Tamil which are amongst the 25 other languages that are spoken there.  As in India, the country follows the bilingual system of education which allows a local student to learn English as a compulsory language and any of the mother-tongue language of their community or ethnicity.

The only restraining factor is that after completing your studies, you cannot seek citizenship or work permit as the laws are very stringent.  Singapore, as a nation, is very discipline oriented and they have a very strong work ethos, they respect their countries laws and it is very rare to find a Singaporean flouting its laws.  Crime rate is also very low and it is considered a very safe country to live in.  It is also very assuring for parents also because the food and cuisine is very much similar to Asian countries and you are likely to find Indian food to suit your culinary needs.  Needless so say, the cost of living is very high in Singapore compared to that of other Asian countries because taxes are high and everything is formalised.  The country has progressed because of its effective system of a strong governmental systems and rules.

Although a very small country, it has a sound business economy and is considered a financial success.  Some of the universities are known for their management programmes, especially financial management.  It has an excellent transportation system with the city well connected with trains and civic transportation systems.  It has a booming sea-port and the Changi International Airport is considered one of the best Airports in the world.

Singapore, which separated from Malaysia in 1965, has within a very short span of time, has a list of global achievements to its credit. Two of the major achievements stand out, viz. It was ranked second in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2011-12, a very rare feat for a small and young country like Singapore.  Thereafter, INSEAD Global Index 2012, placed Singapore at Number 3 whilst it was Numero Uno in the Innovation and Information Technology Foundation’s 2011 Innovation and Competitiveness report.

The Singaporean Education System

The primary requisite for admission to a University or educational institution is that you must demonstrate fluency in English Language and have to provide a proof of it.  You will be required to clear either the IELTS or the TOEFL test and scores will have to be submitted along with your application.

The process of application to universities has been kept very simple by the government.  A student has to directly apply to the institution.  The tricky part is that you may have to study and undertake research on each institutions separate terms and conditions, which can be quite cumbersome.  However, the institutions are very co-operative and extend their full co-operation which is the good part.

Interestingly, Singapore has a very good system of providing financial support in terms of tuition grants that is provided by its Ministry of Education to any student, domestic or international and does not distinguish between them.  Of the total component of education cost, tuition fees constitute the major component and therefore receiving such a grant is a big relief.  A student who receives such a grant is not required to return is back to the government after completing his graduation, but must work for a minimum of 3 years for a Singapore-registered company.  The duration of this work-in-period may vary with your education.  Whilst a normal management graduate receiving grant may have to work for a least three years, those pursuing dentistry and general medicine for example, have to offer their services to the government based health care institutions for five and six respectively.

Cost of Education in Singapore

A feature that attracts students and which adds value to their career profile is that students, who are eligible and receive tuition grants have to work in Singapore for a duration that is determined by the government.  This work experience gives you a great head-start and an excellent experience.  If you are planning to study there, you must take this factor of in-service bond as stipulated by the government.

As compared to the Western Countries i.e. the USA, UK, Germany, Australia, an education in Singapore is relatively inexpensive.  A three-year programme would cost you US$25,000 to US$32,000/- per year, excluding the cost of living expense.  A course in specialised science streams like Engineering, medicine, robotics which are resource intensive and are of higher course duration.

Procuring a Visa for your study in Singapore is a breeze because a student whose application is approved by the university is also issued a Visa which is in the form of the Letter of In-Principal Approval (IPA) and which serves the dual purpose for the University as well as for entry at the Airport.  The government has set in place a process for easy facilitation of Visa process for the students by linking the government department with the university through an online portal.

A student will have to obtain a Student Pass which is a bonafide document which entitles you to certain privileges.  A student holding a Student pass, depending upon the course he is pursuing, is entitled to work for a maximum of 16 hours during holidays only.  However, this privilege is not extended to all categories of students and you may have to check with your college or university to find out your privileges.


Universities in Singapore:

  • National University of Singapore
  • Nanyang Technological University
  • Singapore Management University, and;
  • Singapore institute of Management