In Singapore, education in Primary schools start at the age of seven regardless of race and gender. The primary education consist of a four-year foundation stage (Primary 1 to 4) and a two-year orientation stage (Primary 5 to 6). Under Singapore regulation, its compulsory to go through Primary school education. This is enacted under the Compulsory Education Act since 2003. However there are exemptions for pupils who are homeschooling, attending a full-time religious institution or those with special needs who are unable to attend mainstream schools. To qualify for these exemptions, parents have to meet the requirements set out by the Ministry of Education first. Primary education is free for all Singapore citizens in schools under the purview of the Ministry of Education.
The four years, from primary 1 to 4, provide a foundation in English, mother tongue (which includes Standard Mandarin, Malay, Tamil or a Non-Tamil Indian Language , Mathematics and Science. Other subjects include Civics and Moral Education, arts and crafts, music, health education, social studies, and physical education, which are taught throughout Primary 1 to 6.
After Primary 4 students are streamed according to their ability. Previously the streaming system was such that pupils were divided at Primary 5 to the EM1, EM2 and EM3 (English and Mother Tongue at 1st, 2nd and 3rd language respectively) streams. In 2008, the new streaming system is such that students are streamed according to subject under a scheme known as “Subject-based banding”. 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.
Primary 6 students have to sit for the national Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). AFter graduating from Primary school education, students will then choose the secondary school of their choice based on their results at this examination.
Primary schools in Singapore include: