The educational system in Singapore has often been described as world leading, being commended on by many specialists in the field, including Michael Gove, the British education minister. The national education budget for last year was S$ 11.6 billion, showing that the country has a vested interest in providing a high level of education at all levels, which is also showed by the literacy percentages, Singapore having a total of 96.1% of literate population, 66.6% having a secondary diploma and 47% having a post-secondary diploma. The administration and development of state school are controlled by the Ministry of Education, which also exerts a supervisory role on private schools. Whether private or public, schools benefit from flexibility when it comes to curriculum autonomy, scope of government funding or admission policy. Singaporean citizens enjoy subsidized education and the costs are much higher for non-citizens. The high level of literacy and education in Singapore may also be attributed to the Compulsory Education Act from 2000, which made it a criminal offence for parents not to enroll children in school and also provided that they ensure regular attendance. The systems is also highly aided by the large number of education resources, the country having an extensive platform of bookstores and academic resources, Singapore books even being found online.
An online bookstore in Singapore is not a rare thing and many parents make use of this great tool to buy practice books and other learning resources more quickly and easily. The school year in Singapore in divided into two semesters, from January to May and from July to November. Many parents not only sign up their children for primary school, but also enroll their kids in kindergarten and even preschool playgroups, at the age of 4-6 years and respectively 3-4 years, so many kids learn to read and write at a very young age. There are learning materials available even for such young ages and one can easily find, as mentioned above, Singapore books for practice or learning for kids who are at the age of 4 or 5. The kindergartens are usually run by the private sector, but kids here learn written and oral language, numbers and two languages: English, which is the official language in Singapore, and their native language, which can be Chinese, Malay or Tamil.
All things considered, the Singapore educational system definitely sets an example to many other countries, even European countries, showing that making school attendance mandatory and offering the right educational forums for kids at young ages can significantly influence the level of education within a country. The wide range of academic resources and educational aids also has a beneficial impact on the system, especially since the arrival and development of online bookstore platforms, which significantly aided parents and teachers in finding the right resources for the children. The country also has a GEP, which stands for Gifted Education Programme, which was set up in 1984 and helps the intellectually gifted children receive proper guidance and education.