Singapore's Education System
​Lessons for U.S. Public Schools, Districts & States

Singapore has the top performing school system in the world based on student results on the PISA in all academic areas (science, math, and reading). What many people need to understand though is that Singapore not only knows how to produce and provide an excellent education for the majority of their students but also one where equity is its key feature. While the late Lee Kuan Yew can, in retrospect, be criticized for many things, he was able to create an educational system that very few other nations have been able to achieve. According to an OECD report:​​​​​


To read the entire report, click here.

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With respect to Lee Kuan Yew’s second goal of nation-building, early race riots led to a profound commitment to creating a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society. At independence, Singapore had multiple religious groups (Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist, Hindu and Christian); multiple ethnic groups (Singapore’s population is about 74% Chinese, 13% Malay, 9% Indian and 3% other); and no common language. Nor did it have a common school system or a common curriculum. A series of measures were gradually put in place to realize the Singapore pledge: “One united people regardless of race, language or religion”. Singapore recognizes and teaches four official languages – Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil – although English is the language of government and, since 1978, the medium of instruction in schools.1 Two years of compulsory national service unite different ethnic groups, as does the policy of mixing each group within the government-built housing where most Singaporeans live. This has helped avoid the racial and ethnic segregation that afflicts many countries. Schools play a major role in inculcating Singaporean values and character, and civic and moral education play a major role in schools. Honesty, commitment to excellence, teamwork, discipline, loyalty, humility, national pride and an emphasis on the common good have been instilled throughout government and society. 
David Landers