During the first quarter of 2017, Singapore had 63,789 students enrolled in international schools. The number of schools also increased significantly, from 65 in 2012 to 86 in 2016. Besides the increase in the number of international schools, some of the existing schools have increased the capacity in their campuses while others have plans to open campuses in new locations. The enrollment in international schools has not been embraced by the children of expatriates only, but the number of Singaporean students has also grown steadily over the years.
Favorable investment environment
The government of Singapore hopes the population will have grown from 5.4 million to 6.9 million by 2030. Unfortunately, it will be difficult for the indigenous population to achieve this in the set period. To encourage the growth of inhabitants, the government has encouraged the business community, especially the multi-national companies, to set shop in Singapore.
The skilled expats are more likely to go to a country that offers educational facilities for their children. Besides that, the education system needs to be one that is acceptable in their countries of origin or other countries since most expats eventually go back home or relocate to other countries. Parents need their children to be able to fit right in with the system when they return to their countries.
Increased need to cater for non-native speakers
As the number of expatriates increases, the pressure on the local schools also increased. For any international student to enroll in the local schools, he or she is required to register for the Admissions Exercise for International Students (AEIS), an initiative by the Ministry of Education. Unfortunately, a significant number of applicants do not get accepted in the local schools. Only about 5% of students in the local schools are international.
Some of the international schools are catering to the needs of students interested in other languages, besides English. For example, Lycee Francais de Singapour (LFS) is an international school that follows the French curriculum. Between 2016 and 2017, this school saw a 140% increase in students who do not speak French.
An internationally recognized syllabus
Many expatriates send their children to international schools because it is part of the package, they receive from the companies they work for. However, this is not the primary reason for many. Parents from different parts of the country, both local and the expatriates, choose to enroll their children in international schools, and local schools that offer the international curriculum.
The world has become quite competitive. It has become necessary for students to be equipped for the demands in the international scene. Students may be studying in Singapore, but they may end up pursuing higher education and employment opportunities in other countries. The changing views globally have contributed significantly to the growing number of international schools in Singapore.
Parents seeking international schools for their children are usually overwhelmed when deciding which one will work best. Many expatriates tend to go for schools that are closest to the system that their children studied. Fortunately, there are various schools, for example, those that use the Canadian, American, Australian, and British systems of education. These schools meet the needs of international students and Singaporean students interested in alternative education systems.