If you plan to start a school that has ten or more children, you will need to register as a business first with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA). You must register as a sole proprietorship, partnership or a private limited company. Once you have establish a business entity with ACRA, you will then register the school with Ministry of Education of Singapore (MOE).
Choosing a Name
An important thing to note is choosing the appropriate name for your school. The name of your business registered with ACRA has to be the same name as the school if the business is registered as sole proprietorship or partnership. The name cannot have the words ‘Singapore’ and ‘National’; ‘University’, ‘Conservatory’ and ‘College’, or ‘International’.
To use the term ‘Academy’ or ‘Institution’ as part the school name usually indicates that it is a school that offers post secondary or tertiary education, and the facilities can accommodate 500 students at any given time.
Choosing a Premise
There are stringent rules and guidelines for educational facilities such as the size of classroom and student ratio. A planning permission is required and has to be obtain from Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA). A premise for private academic school requires a Class II approval from URA. It’s best to understand and fulfill the rules outlined by URA then to risk losing accreditation.
If you plan to renovate the space, you will need to apply for a building work permit through Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA). When the building works are complete, you will also need to obtain from BCA: a Certificate of Statutory Completion and/or a Temporary Occupation Permit before you can occupy the space.
You will also need a Fire Safety Certificate (FSC) prior to occupying the building. You can obtain an FSC from Singapore Civil Defense Force through a registered architect or engineer. All renovation works are to be performed by certified or licensed contractors including architects. A business signage that is placed on the building will require an application of an Advertisement License from BCA.
Registering a Private School
It is mandatory for all private academic schools, including schools that offer External Degree Programs (EDP), to register with MOE in Singapore. Each EDP has to be registered individually; however, being registered is not akin to gaining accreditation or recognition from MOE.
When you register the school, you are also required to register the school curriculum and teachers. A education plan for each course has be submitted that states the learning outcomes, teaching methodology, class schedules, resources and materials. You will need to also submit the qualification documents of the teachers conducting the courses.
Starting on December 21, 2009, all private academic schools must also register with the Council for Private Education to operate in or from Singapore The schools affected are those that offer full-time courses in degree programs and placement tests. Schools that offer online and/or international curriculum are required to register. To read more about the Council of Private Education, please see our article on Mandatory Registration for Private Education Institutions.
Committee of Management
Part of the registration requisites also stipulates that a private academic school to have a Committee of Management. It has to have a minimum of one member and a maximum of nine. The Committee of Management’s role is to ensure the school stays in compliance with the provisions of the Education Act.
Enrolling International Students
If you plan to open programs in your school to international students, you will need to apply for Case Trust for Education. Without the certification from Case Trust Singapore, you will not be allowed to enroll students in any of the programs in your school.
Authority – Ministry of Education
Processing Time – 14 working days
License Fee – SGD$400
Validity – One-time Fee
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