Starting a Private Education Institute (PEI) in Singapore

The education industry is one of Singapore’s potential growth sectors and plays an important role in drawing and nurturing talent from around the world. The Economic Development Board launched the Global Schoolhouse initiative in 2002, with the objective of transforming Singapore into a world renowned education hub. Today there are over 1,200 private education organisations that offer a diverse mix of high quality education services, making Singapore a trusted brand name in this field.

Classification of Educational Institutes
Overall, Singapore schools offering private education are classified into the following broad groups:

Childcare Centres
A childcare centre is any place that cares for and supervises more than 5 children, aged below 7, at any one time.

A kindergarten is a school that provides a structured 3-year preschool education consisting of nursery, kindergarten 1, and kindergarten 2 for children aged 3 – 6.

Academic Schools
Academic private schools are the ones that offer theoretical, structured courses and formal education. Typically schools offering certificates, diplomas, degrees come under the category of academic private schools. Examples of academic schools include:

Educational establishments that intend to provide academic classes leading to GCE examinations
Foreign system/international schools
Business schools
IT schools or computer education centres
Language schools
Fine Arts schools
Tuition schools
Enrichment centres offering diplomas, certificate courses etc.
Adult education centres
Distance learning centres

Setting Up a School – Basic Steps

Step 1: Think through and plan first
Market study including the target student base
Identification of tentative locations including the going rental prices
Staffing requirements and availability of such talent along with their market salaries
Key success factors and risk areas including how you plan to mitigate the risks involved
Complete financial projections with both best and worst case scenarios in mind

Step 2: Incorporate business
Once you have decided to proceed forward, you must incorporate your business first. The most suitable legal entity for this purpose is a private limited Singapore company. Incorporating a private limited company in Singapore is a fairly straightforward and quick process although certain statutory requirements apply. For more details, refer to setting up a Singapore company.

Step 3: Prepare for operations
Find suitable premises
Hire staff
Apply for necessary licenses

Step 4: Obtain Accreditations
Once your school is up and running, you should seriously think about getting the following accreditations in order to create trust and confidence with your potential student community: EduTrust certification and Singapore Quality Class (SQC) certification.

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