Many brilliant minds from around the world have decided to relocate to Singapore thanks to its booming economy and more than hospitable environment, especially for their families. With that in mind, an initiative was born to transform the island into an education hub to be sought-after by the best and brightest. Naturally, the government has responded with laying down stringent guidelines to tailor companies to specific standards and guidelines, ensuring quality education for all.
There are five existing classifications for private education institutions. These are:
- Childcare Center – an institution that supervises more than five kids under the age of seven.
- Preschool – an institution that employs a three-year education program for kids aged three to six.
- Academic School – an institution that offers formal education, typically resulting in the receipt of a diploma, certificate or degree.
- Non–academic School – an institution that offers practical, technical education and skills.
- Special Education School – an institution for those with special needs
There are a variety of licenses and permits required to operate an education institution after registering with the Ministry of Education and Committee for Private Education, and incorporating your company. Mainly, you will need a Certificate of Registration as a Private School, which requires you to submit the documents listed here as provided by the Ministry of Education.
The license is applied for online via LicenseOne, however, all requirements listed in the link above must be submitted via postal mail or in person. These include the curriculum to be offered per level, fire safety documents, rental agreements, and other relevant documents needed. It must also detail who the members of the Committee of Management or School Board are. There must be a minimum of one declared member and a maximum of nine. Teachers must also be registered along with the school itself.
To apply for the license, you should ensure that the land that you wish to be used for your school is authorized by the Urban Development Authority (URA) to be used for educational purposes. Futhermore you will have to set up an Academic Board, to ensure academic quality of your school. Click here, for the full list of requirements to set up a private institution in Singapore.
While applying for name registration of your school, you may also want to take note that names which include terms such as ‘National’, ‘Singapore’, ‘University’, ‘Institution’ and ‘College’ will likely be rejected.
Under the Private Education Act, the application fee for registration costs SGD 535, the renewal fee costs the same amount. The registration of teachers, declaration of transfer of premises, change in key personnel/management/school board and other such types of actions also incur specific cost. Fees must be paid to the Ministry of Education as such. The payment should be paid within 90 days of receiving the license.
After successful registration of your school and completion of the administrative work, you will receive a registration certificate. There will be no need for you to renew your registration. However, if you wish to expand and open a new branch you will need to apply for a new license.
Registration is not equivalent to nor is it a guarantee of accreditation or recommendation from the Ministry of Education and Committee for Private Education. These must be sought out separately after registering with complete documents and approvals.
For institutions that wish to open their doors to foreign national students, an EduTrust certification is required. The certification also offers a grant of up to SGD 26,000 to upgrade any school facilities, and is therefore highly advantageous for all types of private education institutions. The application costs about SGD 400 and takes two weeks to process for approval. The fee is charged one time only. EduTrust certificates can also be applied to certify the quality of the school.
The Singapore Quality Class for Private Education Organizations (SQC-PEO) is also an equally advantageous certification to hold as it gives your institution’s reputation a big boost care of the Singapore government.
Note: There are specific permits and bodies of authority that govern schools offering courses for Special Education and Early Childhood Development.