PRIMARY EDUCATION – A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR EVERY CHILD
Building a strong Primary Foundation for your every child is very important. Primary education in Singapore is compulsory for every Singaporean child. The Government spends at least 20 percent of the national budget on education every year. This strong emphasis on education reflects the importance of knowledge and learning in Singapore.
Primary education, normally starting at age seven, is a four-year foundation stage (Primary 1 to 4) and a two-year orientation stage (Primary 5 to 6). The foundation stage is the first stage of formal schooling. During the first four years, from primary 1 to 4, the school will aim to provide a strong foundation in English, mother tongue (which includes Standard Mandarin, Malay, Tamil or a Non-Tamil Indian Language (NTIL)), Mathematics and Science for the child. Other subjects include Civics and Moral Education, music, arts and crafts, health education, physical education and social studies. These subjects are taught throughout Primary 1 to 6 – only Science is taught from Primary 3 onwards.
All pupils advance to the orientation stage after Primary 4, where they are streamed according the pupil's ability. The streaming system is known as "Subject-based banding". The students take subjects at different levels based on their scores in the respective subjects at the end of Primary 4. The Mother Tongue subjects are offered at the higher, standard or foundation levels; Science and Mathematics can be taken at the standard or foundation levels. By streaming the children in different bandings helps the students to learn at a pace that suit them – ensuring that no one is left behind feeling confused when teaching.
After six years of Primary education, students will have to sit for the national Primary School Leaving Examination, (PSLE). The students will then choose the secondary school of their choice based on their results at this examination; they will then be assigned to a secondary school based on merit and their choice. Students can also be admitted into a secondary school under a separate "Direct School Admission" scheme, whereby secondary schools are able to choose a certain number of students based on their special talents. Students who plan to enter into that particular school must apply through the school and showcase their talents. These will take place before the students sit for their PSLE.