Business Guide · September 20, 2021

Singapore education industry

1. Industry Background

Attracting the Best Institutions Around the World

Singapore enjoys a strong brand name in education, built upon its success in the public education system. Its reputation for offering high-quality education has attracted many leading educational institutions from all over the world to set up operations here. Today, Singapore is home to 16 distinguished foreign tertiary institutions including INSEADDigiPen Institute of Technology and the German Institute of Science and Technology. The tremendous diversity and choices available have made Singapore a centre of global educational excellence, attracting some 86,000 international students to develop their skills here.

The Global Schoolhouse – International Education Hub Offering a Diverse, Distinct Mix of Quality Services

Singapore is broadening and deepening its educational offerings to become a world-class education destination that is global both in institutional composition and student mix. An increasing diversity of schools and programmes will give students a wider selection of quality education options that range from business, wealth management, and digital animation to arts and fashion, culinary arts, luxury brand management and hospitality. Singapore’s efforts to develop the Global Schoolhouse initiative have also strengthened its reputation as a talent hub in attracting and retaining people.

A Vibrant and International Education Cluster

Many leading foreign universities have set up Asian campuses here. These include highly respected names such as INSEADTisch School of the Arts, and University of Nevada Las Vegas which have set up their first overseas campuses in Singapore. Others such as Duke University’s School of Medicine have collaborations with local universities offering joint academic programmes.

The institutions offer an extensive selection of courses across different disciplines, allowing students to develop themselves in their areas of passion. More importantly, these diverse education options will help to enhance capability development and attract and retain talents for emerging key growth industries in Singapore.

Such diversity in the local education landscape encourages research and networking opportunities, as academic staff interact and collaborate on research projects with counterparts from other renowned schools. Faculty can also collaborate with a strong base of MNCs from wide-ranging industries and geographies and 100,000 SMEs in Singapore, thus bringing innovation to these industries.

A Trusted Education Brand-name

In order to maintain its position as one of the leading education hubs in the world, Singapore is committed to achieve the highest standards across the private education industry in order to build a strong Singapore Education brand-name internationally. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced plans to introduce a new Private Education Act to enhance regulation in the private education sector, in order to raise the standards of private education providers over time.

Strategically Positioned Within Asian Education Market with Unique Advantages

Singapore is located amidst one of the world’s fastest growing student markets. According to the UK Vision 2020 report, Asia is set to account for 70% of the global demand for international higher education by 2025.

Singapore’s unique blend of East and West presents a multi-cultural learning environment that offers a global perspective with a distinct Asian flavour. Coupled with its competitive advantages as a cosmopolitan Asian city with a high quality of life and global connectivity, Singapore attracts the best talent from around the world. Education providers can leverage this market opportunity to establish Singapore as a trusted base to expand into the Asia region. Many international institutions are already using their campuses in Singapore as a gateway to Asia. For instance, INSEADfacilitates the exchange of students between its two campuses in France and Singapore, offering students cross-cultural learning experiences.

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2. Facts and Figures

  • In 2007, there were 86, 000 international students from 120 countries studying in Singapore.
  • There are over 1,200 private education organizations and 44 pre-tertiary schools offering international curricula in Singapore.
  • Raffles Education Corp, the largest private education group in Asia, has established its international headquarters in Singapore. About 61,000 students are studying in its 28 colleges around the Asia-Pacific.
  • In 2008, Tisch Asia appointed Oliver Stone, a three-time Academy Award winning film-maker, as its Artistic Director.
  • Singapore emerged first in both Mathematics and Science in a 49-country study of Grade 4 (Primary 4) and Grade 8 (Secondary 2) students conducted in 2002-03 (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study).

3. Singapore: A Global Schoolhouse

Since its launch in 2002, the Global Schoolhouse initiative has helped to build up the Singapore Education brand-name, drawing world-class universities like INSEADChicago Booth Graduate School of Business and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts to set up operations here. Today, Singapore is home to 16 leading foreign tertiary institutions and 44 pre-tertiary schools offering international curricula.

These institutions represent the best in their respective fields, across a spectrum of disciplines ranging from business and management to biomedical sciences, engineering and applied sciences. Further enriching the education scene is the growing number of specialised schools in the niche areas of fine arts, design, media and hospitality.

The many schools and institutions that have based themselves in Singapore are not only dedicated to serving the local market, but are also using Singapore as a springboard to expand into the rest of the region. Singapore-based institutions such as Anglo-Chinese School (International) and Raffles Education have also successfully brought the Singapore Education brand-name to the region.

Over the long-term, Singapore aims to develop a vibrant community of tertiary, pre-tertiary and corporate training institutions. Supported by a diverse range of institutions, Singapore plans to attract even more students, faculty, researchers and professionals from all over the world to make the city-state a global talent hub.