Singapore International Schools
Of All Sorts And Flavors
Singapore international schools are aplenty, to say the least.
And that's pretty obvious - the expat community is large and transient, so their kids have to go to schools synchronized with home for seamless returns.
Disneyland - In a Way.
View International Schools in Singapore in a larger map
First off, sending your kids to Singapore international schools will be a very rewarding experience.
If I look at my three boys, who are 6, 9 and 11: they go to the Swiss School with about 250 other students.
The teachers are Swiss, German, Singaporean, English, Canadian, Indian and Scottish. The class sizes are between 15 and 23 children. The kids are just as diverse, and come from interesting families.
Core classes are in German, other classes in English, so they get exposed to both languages as a matter of daily fact.
They learn about Swiss mountain passes in geography, of course, just like any respectable school back in Switzerland.
But, they go to Little India to learn about Deepavali, do a block of instruction on Chinese New Year and eat Malay food at lunch.
And sometimes they have to shoo away curious monkeys who come up to the lockers outside looking for a stray school bag with yummies in it.
Sounds good? Yep. It is.
All those values like living diversity, tolerance, multilingualism, cultural awareness - it is an accepted part of their daily routines.
Prices like Disneyland, Too...
All that comes with a price, though, and the Singapore international schools, at least the private ones, will charge quite the sums for their offerings.
Each school has a somewhat varying structure of fees, so really sorry, but there is no way of getting around looking into the intricacies for each one you are interested in.
Essentially, though, most Singapore international schools have a structure somewhat like this:
- application fee
- confirmation fee
- tuition per year
- annual building and facilities fee
- additional fees for extra-curricular activities, special education, materials, sports, etc. etc.
Sometimes, a school may also ask for a building 'loan' - basically an upfront sum that is used to finance facilities, but which may be refunded at the end your stay.
Also, expect to pay bus fees as well to get your kids to school.
And of course, these fees go up yearly by a few percent. In our case, we were also asked to contribute to the erection of a new sports hall.....as a one-time charge.
Fair and equitable?
Well, most of these schools don't necessarily get support from home country governments and have to pay pretty hefty land use fees from the Singapore government.
Add salaries and fairly high maintenance because of the tropical weather, electricity bills, etc. and I would say many of these schools are not necessarily getting rich all.
Decide for yourself.
Choosing a School
First off, research - where else - online a get a feel for the schools available.
There is a school for almost every nationality available, so have a look at
this list of International schools
to get oriented with the landscape of schools and further links to individual websites.
Check out this
list of Singapore international schools
for an overview of by nationality.
Singapore isn't that big, of course, but since classes start early, you may not want to put your kids on the bus at 6:15 a.m. for them to get carted all the way across the island.
In our case, we decided to live near the school and I took the bullet of commuting a long way to work.
Local Schools With International Programs
In addition to everything I have said so far, there is also a number of Singapore international schools, private ones, with international curricula (as opposed to national curricula) and Singaporean schools with international curricula to choose from.
Locals with the cash like to send their kids there for the international upbringing, so prices are high and competition for places is as well.
It is wise to start early, if you can.