Singapore seeks to attract more foreign system schools

Singapore seeks to attract more foreign system schools
To-date, some 16 sites have been offered under the previous three RFIs. Among the winners were Cognita; Dulwich College (above), GEMS Education, Overseas Family School and Global Indian International School.

SINGAPORE - More Foreign System Schools (FSS) - international schools offering primary or secondary education in accordance with a foreign curriculum such as the International Baccalaureate - have been called on to set up shop in Singapore.

This is to meet the diverse educational needs of children of international executives here, and to ensure that the Republic remains an attractive operating and investment destination for international companies, said the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) on Monday.

EDB, on behalf of an inter-agency committee which includes the Council for Private Education, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Ministry of Education and Singapore Land Authority, on Monday also announced that it will be launching a Request-For-Interest (RFI) exercise for FSS.

It will make available for FSS use a number of sites that are zoned specifically for education, each with a lease period of 30 years.

These are unlike short-term sites tenanted to FSS - such sites will eventually be recalled by land planning agencies for long-term development, said EDB.

In addition to new FSS entrants, the RFI exercise is also open to existing FSS operators occupying short-term premises to invest for the long-term and enhance the quality of their education offerings.

Said Alvin Tan, EDB's assistant managing director and chair of the inter-agency RFI committee: "Availability of quality schools for children of international executives is a key consideration when they decide on a posting location. FSS play a part in strengthening Singapore's position as an attractive global city and home for business."

The long tenure of the RFI land sites, he added, will encourage schools to invest in the necessary infrastructure and resources to deliver high-quality education options.

Currently, there are over 30 international schools in Singapore, an EDB spokeswoman told BT. "The government is committed to ensuring there are sufficient high-quality international school places available through the RFI exercise," she added.

The first RFI exercise was launched in 2008, to provide a competitive process for FSS to obtain long-term land sites. Subsequent RFI exercises were held in 2010 and 2012.

To-date, some 16 sites have been offered under the previous three RFIs. Among the winners were Cognita (in 2008) which went on to establish the Stamford American International School; Dulwich College and GEMS Education in 2010; and the Overseas Family School and Global Indian International School in 2012.

Applications are evaluated based on the quality of the proposal, track record of the FSS, ability to meet market demand, and financial ability of the FSS operator.

More details on the evaluation criteria and RFI sites for the latest exercise will be provided at the closed-door briefing on May 5, 4pm at The Treasury Auditorium.

Interested parties should register by e-mailing no later than 12pm on May 5.

This article was first published on April 28, 2015.
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