Exponential growth and foresight in building strengths have brought Singapore to the fore in the education arena. It is the leading choice for international students who comprise around 20 percent of the university graduates. The question that begs an answer is what gives Singapore the edge over countries like China or even, Japan. The answer lies in the unique cultural and progressive outreach that has distinguished Singapore through time. Also known as the Lion City, Singapore prides itself on being one of the world’s leading financial centres that maintain strong connections with the West.
As reported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Singapore ranks fifth in the Human Development Index worldwide, the only country in Asia on the list, and its citizens enjoy a high quality of life. Compared to other Asian countries, the living expenses are low in Singapore as compared to other studies abroad destinations. However, the average cost of living in Singapore is S$750 to S$2,000 approximately per month (Rs. 37,500 to Rs. 100,000). Travelling from one part of Singapore to another is a breeze with the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), buses and taxis. Housing in Singapore can be expensive and the rent for a condominium unit or house can range from S$1500 to S$15000, the latter being the average rent for a house or a condo in a posh suburb without factoring the cost of utilities. Most prospective graduates opt to stay in the university’s residence halls and if not, they can choose to share accommodation with their friends off campus or even, rent a room in a government flat or condo.
The majority of graduate programmes at Singaporean universities will admit students twice a year, in August and January, each intake having a specific deadline for application. The universities admit for bachelors, masters, doctoral and graduate diploma programmes in over 370 disciplines spanning fields like medicine, arts, humanities, engineering etc. The average amount could be anywhere from (SGD) $2,000 to $12,000, on a monthly basis, for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The educational cost for undergraduate students comes to around INR 12-20 lakhs per year. This depends on the program and the university chosen. There’s a wide range of public and private universities, apart from NUS and NTU, like the Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design, INSEAD Asia, among others. The degrees offered are either research or coursework oriented, depending on the program and discipline being opted for. The medium of instruction is English and for non-native English speakers, there is a prerequisite of clearing TOEFL or IELTS with a band score of 90 or 6.0, respectively. Additionally, a student must have a minimum GRE score of 320 and if applying to business school, a GMAT score of 650 and above. For those applying for postgraduate programs, it would be an added advantage if the student has shown a marked inclination for research through paper presentations, published papers, attending conferences etc.
In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018, the country’s two main public universities are in the top 100, with National University of Singapore coming 22nd and Nanyang Technological University moving to the 52nd place. National University of Singapore (NUS) has been ranked number one in the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2017. Also, Singaporean universities have strategic knowledge partnerships with top universities abroad, resulting in cross-bred universities in Singapore such as Yale-NUS (Yale-National University of Singapore), Duke-NUS, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University with Imperial College in London and many others. The government of Singapore and the universities also enable the funding of education with scholarship opportunities for international students.
While Singapore offers top quality education, the fact that most of the world’s reputed multi-national corporations and Fortune 500 companies have their Asian headquarters in Singapore speaks volumes for the potential opportunities that graduates can look forward In fact, two thirds of the graduates from NTU have found themselves employed even prior to graduation by multinational corporates like JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Seagate. Furthermore, the degrees offered by the universities in Singapore are internationally recognised, so it does not matter if the students intend to work elsewhere after graduation.
With the world-class education and research facilities, the universities in Singapore have outranked their counterparts in Asia. The potential of Singapore as the leading destination for education has been hailed by Prof Subra Suresh, who once headed the US National Science Foundation as Director and as of 1st January 2018, is the President of the acclaimed NTU, Singapore. With the wealth of knowledge, bustling economy and cultural potpourri, Singapore is the gateway to a world-class education with the brightest minds while also, making it enjoyable and memorable with its cultural repartee.