Another international school has opened its doors in Singapore, hoping to fill an expected demand for foreign-style education system here and in the Asia Pacific.
According to Singapore-based education group Cognita, although earlier surveys had estimated the exodus of some 2,000 international students, improvements in Singapore’s economy have in fact led to an increase in expatriates moving into the country.
The company runs the new Stamford American International School, which opened its temporary campus at Lorong Chuan on Friday. It said some 32,000 students are studying in international schools here and the number is expected to double by 2014.
Kathleen Caoyonan, expatriate from Texas, USA, said: “With the younger kids, there are so few slots. I think people are starting to find a little bit more openings, but there is still a waiting list.”
Cognita has already committed S$250 million for the development of its new campus, which currently has over 80 students. The firm said demand is good, citing up to 70 enquiries on enrolment each week.
Brian Rogave, chief executive officer of Asia Cognita, said: “Every single enquiry we’ve had turned into enrolment. It’s a positive trend, we hope it continues.”
The current campus can take in up to 600 students. The permanent campus, to be located at Upper Serangoon, will offer some 2,500 places when it is ready by 2012.
Access to foreign schools is an important criterion for expatriates coming to work in Singapore, according to a study conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).
The study also found that more than three-quarters of respondents preferred attending international schools with home-country curriculum.
In August last year, the Singapore government had, for the first time, listed public buildings and vacant plots to be made available for more foreign schools.
Initial plans were for up to four schools to be built, but this was later scaled down to just one due to the economic downturn.
Cognita runs 50 schools worldwide, including the Australian International School here which has reported a waiting list of 114 for next year’s enrolment.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 28 Aug 2009