Local school or international school? – This question pops into the minds of any parent who has been stationed here in Singapore.

international schools or local schools

With so many choices to choose from, where does one begin in the search for the answer to the question of whether your child should be put into a local school or international school in Singapore.

There are both pros and cons to putting your child in a local school or international school. Which one you choose also depends on various factors listed in the table below.

Local Schools Local International Schools International Schools
Tuition Fees Low Higher than local schools High tuition fees
School Environment Immerses students in Singapore culture International student community International student community
Curriculum MOE curriculum is “home to the world’s best education system” (OECD study, 2016)
Very rigorous curriculum, particularly in maths and science
Combines MOE and international curricula Strong emphasis on internationalism and global learning
Second Language Bilingualism required Wide choice of second and third languages Wide choice of second and third languages
Admission priority Singaporeans Singaporean and expat students Expats/foreigners
Class size 40 25 25
Teacher to student ratios Larger Smaller Smaller
Teachers MOE International International


How long do you foresee yourself and your family being here in Singapore

Another factor that should be taken into consideration is how long you foresee yourself and your family being here. This determines how long your child will be in the school system here in Singapore. Admittedly, it takes longer for a non-Singaporean kid to assimilate himself into the culture in local Singapore schools. If it is a matter of 1-2 years, our suggestion is to enter an international school whereas if it was for a longer period, it makes sense to then consider joining a local school here in Singapore.

local or international school

Students who wish to enter local schools above Primary 1 need to take the AEIS examination. AEIS stands for Admissions Exercise for International Students. There are two seatings every year. Click here for more information on AEIS.  Raffles AEIS Centre has a comprehensive AEIS preparatory programme for all students taking the AEIS and are looking to enter Singapore schools.

For additional details on AEIS, head over to the Ministry of Education page on AEIS.

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