Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is ‘compulsory education’ in the Singapore context?

    Compulsory education is, subject to the exemption of certain categories, education provided in national primary schools for Singapore citizens residing in Singapore. It is a means of further reinforcing the two key educational objectives of giving our children:

    • a common core of knowledge which will provide a strong foundation for further education and training to prepare them for the knowledge-based economy; and
    • a common educational experience which will help to build national identity and cohesion
  2. Why do we have compulsory education?

    It is the intention of the Government to give every Singaporean child the same head start in life and be taught the foundational knowledge and skills in the national primary schools that will enable him to further his education and training later on. Hence, compulsory primary education was implemented in January 2003.

  3. Why are national primary schools tasked with this responsibility?

    National primary schools are well equipped to provide the curricula and environment needed to meet our educational objectives. Hence, as a general principle, all children residing in Singapore who are Singapore citizens and able to attend national schools should be required to do so for the duration of compulsory education.

  4. Who has the responsibility of enrolling and ensuring that children attend school?

    The State provides school places for all children who want an education in national schools. However, parents are responsible for enrolling their children and for ensuring that they attend school.

  5. Would the family and community have a role in ensuring children attend school?

    The family and the community have an important role in convincing and helping parents send their children to school, before the State steps in to compel them to do so. This partnership of family-community-State is consistent with our national core value of the family as a basic unit of society, and the value of community support for the individual.

  6. What is the duration of CE?

    In the light of the two objectives of CE, and the balance of responsibility between the State and the family, CE is implemented up to Primary 6. The six years of interaction with children from different backgrounds in national primary schools, during the formative years of a child‘s life, will also help to inculcate in our young a sense of being Singaporean.

  7. What if a child born after 1st January 1996 who resides outside Singapore were to return here for good and has not attained 15 years of age, will he/she still be liable for compulsory education?

    The child may still be liable for compulsory education so long that he/she has not attained the age of 15 years.