As one of Singapore’s prospective growing industries, the education industry plays a critical role in attracting and nurturing talent from across the world.
The Economic Development Board launched the Global Schoolhouse initiative in 2002 intending to transform Singapore into an internationally recognized educational hub.
There are currently over 1,200 private educational institutions and organizations in the country that provide high-quality education services, making it a leader in this field.
Aside from academics, demand for specialised vocational and skill-based courseware in areas such as grooming, culinary arts, visual arts, and so on is increasing.
Because this sector offers so many appealing options, the number of specialists and international organizations seeking to enter the market and open a private academic or non-academic institution, kindergarten or nursery, daycare or childcare centre, or other related service is rapidly increasing.
Intending to streamline the education sector and the varied participants in it, the Singaporean government has established specific guidelines and statutory standards for the new bees in this area.
This article will provide step by step guidelines on how to establish a private learning institute in Singapore and the kind of processes you must go through before your dream becomes a reality.
What Makes Singapore Such A Prominent Educational Centre?
Singapore has several more advantages to become a top attraction for students from all over the world, in addition to its achievements in the education industry. These are some of them:
An Environment That Is Both Safe And Stable
The country enjoys a secure, low-crime environment that benefits both economic and social activities. Singapore is an example of efficiency, with good corporate governance and political stability. This efficiency, rule-following, and “get it done” mentality extends to the educational sector.
Institutes Of Higher Learning That Are Accredited
Singapore offers a variety of excellent universities, including several that are internationally renowned. In addition to the four top-ranked universities in Singapore, the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, and Singapore University of Technology and Design, nine leading international universities have established Asian campuses in the city-state. Yale, INSEAD, University of Chicago, UNLV, and NYU’s Tisch School of Arts are among them.
The Price Of Education
According to a Business Standard analysis, education in Singapore is more economical (about 20–25% cheaper) than in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Total fees for a full-time MBA program in Singapore, for example, run from S$57,000 to S$60,000. In the United States, a similar program can cost up to $100,000 or more. As a result, area students do not have to go far or pay a significant price for high-quality education.
Assurance Of Educational Excellence
To protect students, the Private Education Act requires the majority of Private Educational Institutions (PEIs) to register with the Council for Private Education (CPE). The length of time that an institution’s registration is valid is determined by how effectively it meets CPE’s registration criteria. This pushes educational institutions to raise their standards to extend the validity duration of their certificates.
What Are Singapore’s Education Forecasts?
The aforementioned factors have contributed to Singapore’s thriving and expanding education industry. A significant portion of the market is made up of private institutions. International schools in Singapore, for example, generate roughly S$1.6 billion in income each year and enrol about 53,000 students.
It is not uncommon to find schools with more than 2,500 pupils and annual fees of more than S$25,000. Students from all over the world see Singapore as a leading jurisdiction where they may invest in their education and gain high-quality skills that will allow them to pursue new economic prospects.
With multinational investors launching fresh, innovative, high-quality private products, Singapore’s education market is likely to grow.
Educational Institutes: What They Are And What They Aren’t
In general, Singapore’s private educational institutions can be split into three groups:
Pre-schools are educational institutions or learning spaces that provide early childhood education to children before they attend obligatory primary school education. Pre-schools are divided into two categories:
The Child-Care Facilities
Children from 18 months to under 7 years old are cared for at child care centres, which also offer pre-school developmental programs. Infant care programs for infants aged 2 to 18 months are also available at some centres. To accommodate the various working schedules of parents, centres may provide full-day, half-day, and flexible programs.
The Kindergarten Facilities
Kindergartens offer preschool development programs for children ranging in age from two to seven years. At least Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2 are included in the program. It can also comprise stages such as Playgroup, Pre-Nursery, and Nursery. The majority of kindergarten sessions are 2 to 3 hours long for Playgroup and Pre-Nursery, and 3 to 4 hours long for Nursery, with Kindergarten 2 running 5 days a week.
Academic Based Institutions
An academic school is defined by law as an organization that delivers education to ten or more people, or a site where ten or more people are taught regularly, whether in one or more classes. Certificates, degrees, and diplomas are often offered by such schools, which provide theoretical, structured, and formal education. Here are several examples:
- Academic classes leading to the GCE examinations are provided by educational institutes.
- Business schools are a good place to start.
- Institutes of language.
- Institutes that provide tutoring or exam preparation.
- Adult education centres.
- Institutes of information technology (IT) or computer education.
- Schools of fine arts.
- Enrichment centres that offer diplomas or certificate programs.
- Centres for distance learning.
The Non-Academic Based Institutions
This category includes non-academic facilities or businesses that provide practical exposure, hands-on learning, or experiences, such as brain or memory training, beauty care, dressmaking, cuisine, sports, games, driving, recreation-related activities, and so on. Non-academic schools include the following:
- Cooking classes
- Grooming classes for pets
- School for drivers
- Institutes for hair styling
- Institutes or classes for dressmaking
- Institutes of sport
Procedure To Establishing A Private Learning Institution In Singapore
Carry Out Adequate Research About The Private Learning Institutions’ Industry
Visit a few educational institutions and conduct an initial cost estimate to analyze the profitability of your business if you’ve decided to open a private school. Examine the market to see if your target market has a sufficient number of pupils interested.
Take into account the leasing options and operating costs in each feasible location. Calculate the number of people you’ll need and begin looking into their availability and wage range. You’re ready to go on to the following step after you’re satisfied with your business plan estimations.
The technique outlined below is the most comprehensive method of establishing an academic private school. Establishing a non-academic school is often simpler, as it does not necessitate getting a Ministry of Education license, forming a Committee of Management, or other such requirements.
Finish The Pre-Registration Process
Pick A Name For Your School
A school’s name must imply a learning environment. The proposed name should reflect the school’s curriculum and the kind of courses it will provide (for example, “ABC Language School” for a language school).
The words “Singapore” and “National” imply ownership and ties to the government. As a result, private schools should not be given names like “Singapore ABC School” or “National ABC School.”
The name of the school and the accompanying business must be the same if the school is registered as a sole proprietorship or partnership business with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has the authority to reject any proposed name for a school that it deems inappropriate or deceptive. So, before registering with ACRA, you should ask the MOE’s Private Schools Section (PSS) for clarity on a proposed school name.
Be Aware Of Any Curriculum Restrictions
There are some limitations on the type of curriculum that a private school can use. Private schools, for example, are not allowed to operate or function as full-fledged alternative primary or secondary schools.
University education necessitates enormous resources that private institutions are unable to supply. As a result, private schools are not regarded equivalent to universities and are not permitted to operate as institutes of higher education. As a result, private schools are not permitted to use the term “university” in their proposed school names.
Establish Members Of The Management Committee
A Committee of Management, consisting of a minimum of one and a maximum of nine members, must be in charge of every academic private school. The Committee is in charge of enforcing the provisions of the Education Act as well as the stipulations of the school constitution.
Unless they are also the owners of the school, members of a Committee of Management should not be teachers or personnel employed by the school. This is to avoid a conflict of interest in decision-making between the employer and the employee.
A member of a school’s Committee of Management must act as the school’s Supervisor. If a school’s Committee of Management only has one member, that individual must also serve as the Supervisor.
Adopt A Constitution To Help Govern Your Private Institution
When filing for registration with the government, a private school must present a constitution (see sample constitution for schools).
Make Sure You Hire Qualified Teachers
Each private school must have at least two teachers. Each teacher’s application for authorization to teach in the relevant school must demonstrate that the instructor has the minimum educational qualifications and relevant employment and teaching experience required by the school. When applying for registration, the supervisor must explicitly state the modules, courses, or subjects that the teacher will be teaching, as well as the levels at which they will be taught.
Obtain A Location And Equipment
When choosing and deciding on a location for the school, be cautious. Look for the possibility of the premises being granted Written Permission for “Change of Use” by the planning authorities (Urban Redevelopment Authority), and that any alterations or renovations planned for the school site are likely to be approved or cleared by the relevant authorities before you make any firm commitment to buy or rent the premises (such as the Housing & Development Board).
Private schools should have facilities that are both acceptable and suitable in size. They should have space for an office, an administration area, a reception/waiting area for students or clients, and so on, in addition to classrooms.
Incorporate Your Private Educational Institution
You should register your school with the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) through their BizFile+ website once you’ve finished the groundwork.
Registering a private limited corporation is the best legal entity to use. It will cost you S$15 to secure your business name and S$300 for the incorporation process.
Get Ready To Apply For A License
As specified in step 6 below, prepare the applicable application forms for the Committee of Management, Course Registration, and Teacher Registration, as well as clearances from relevant agencies and other essential papers.
Apply For A Ministry Of Education License
Use the LicenceOne system to submit the required online application form.
Submit All Required Documents
Following the submission of an online application through LicenceOne, you must submit the following documents to the Ministry of Education’s Private Schools Section by courier delivery or postal mail:
- The Fire Safety and Shelter Department has authorized the floor plan.
- Certificate of Fire Safety;
- The Urban Redevelopment Authority must issue a written permit;
- Printout of the most recent ACRA BIZFILE;
- Forms for the Management Committee;
- To appoint the members of the Committee of Management, use an Appointment Note (for sole proprietorships, partnerships, and LLPs) or a Directors’ Resolution (for private limited companies).
- Forms for Course Registration (Summary of Course Details);
- Completion of the course;
- Registration forms for teachers;
- The Constitution of the School;
- Private Limited Company Memorandum & Articles of Association (required only for companies).
You Have To Pass The School Inspection
The ministry officer will schedule an examination of the school’s premises once all of the supplied paperwork are deemed to be in order.
Get The Registration Certificates Of Your Institution
A complete application, including all required documents, is normally handled within 14 working days of the ministry receiving it. Delays in the processing are caused by incomplete or inaccurate submissions.
You will get the School Registration Certificate, Classroom Accommodation Certificate(s), and all other essential documents once your registration has been approved and all other administrative procedures (including payment of registration fees to LicenceOne) have been completed.
The School Registration Certificate does not need to be renewed because it has no expiration date. If a branch or a new centre is to be opened, a new application through LicenceOne is required.
Your school can begin operations after receiving the School Registration Certificate
What Additional Regulations Are Required?
Because of the nature of the services they provide, certain educational institutions are subject to special restrictions.
The Private Education Act, for example, requires all academic private schools that fall within the following categories to register with the Council for Private Education:
- Schools that provide education leading to a diploma or degree, as well as full-time post-secondary education leading to a certificate;
- Schools that provide full-time preparation for entry or placement tests for Ministry of Education mainstream schools, as well as external exams;
- Foreign System Schools that provide full-time primary or secondary education based on a foreign or international curriculum in whole or in part;
- Special education schools with private funding.
The process for establishing pre-schools differs slightly as well. The GoBusiness Licensing platform is used to submit applications for new child care centres and kindergartens.
The Early Childhood Development Agency must issue these centres with a license (ECDA). Additional requirements for such institutions’ activities may exist, which must be approved by the ECDA, among other things.
What Are The Accreditations Requirements?
To build credibility and trust with your future pupils, you need to obtain accreditations after your school is up and running.
Certification By EduTrust
Is required for international students to enrol. Under the EduTrust Support Scheme, private education institutes and schools may be eligible for financial assistance in obtaining EduTrust certification. This programme permits all qualifying educational establishments to receive a grant of up to S$26,500 to expand their capacities.
Certification By The Singapore Quality Class (SQC)
Promotes favourable opinions of your institution and aids in the processing of student visa applications filed by SQC-certified educational institutions.
Which Are Some Of The Government Subsidies?
Singapore businesses benefit from a variety of business assistance programs and tax advantages designed to boost company-incubation infrastructure and move the country toward a strong start-up ecosystem. Some of these programs were designed to help specific industry verticals, such as education. The Venture ForGood (VFG) grant is one such incentive.
Venture ForGood (VFG) Program
This is a funding scheme run by the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) that aims to help social entrepreneurs at different phases of their development.
Grants of up to S$300,000 are available to new and existing social entrepreneurs who are starting up or extending their operations. Businesses that provide services in the fields of education, skills development, fundamental human needs, economic tools and services, and health or social care are eligible for the initiative.
All new and existing locally-based social enterprises that are established or seek to register under the Companies Act or the Co-operative Societies Act are eligible for the raiSE Grant. At the time of grant payment, the company should be incorporated and registered as a raiSE member.
To open a private educational school in Singapore, you’ll almost certainly need to apply for several credentials. Because of the nature of the business and the high level of responsibility it needs, the process for getting licenses and certificates is straightforward, clear, and quick, however, it does require you to achieve some minimum quality criteria.
Before applying, make sure your institution is registered with ACRA, has the appropriate facilities, employs professional teachers, and recruits good-character key executives. After satisfying all prerequisites, you can apply to the Ministry of Education or another appropriate authority. You will have your license within two weeks and will be able to begin operating your educational institute.
Whereas these stages may appear straightforward, they entail a significant amount of effort and communication with a variety of federal departments. Any hiccup can cause substantial delays in the implementation of your desired project.
So why not make HeySara your go-to company compliance service provider to guide you through the process? From the first to the last step, we will be there for you. You may also count on us to take care of the legal obligations once your company is up and running.