Setting Up An Education Business In Singapore

  • Post category:Singapore

Setting up an Education business in Singapore is very beneficial for investors as the education sector is one of Singapore’s potential growth areas and is attracting and fostering talent from across the globe. 

Setting up an Education business in Singapore

The Global Schoolhouse initiative was started by the Economic Development Board in 2002 with the goal of making Singapore a well-known international centre for education. Currently, there are over 1,200 private educational institutions in Singapore, earning it a strong reputation in this industry. 

These institutions provide a variety of high-quality educational services. Apart from academic education, there has also been a significant growth in demand for niche, specialist vocational and skill-based courses such as culinary arts, grooming, visual arts, etc.


Private schools in Singapore are generally divided into the following broad categories:

  • Childcare Centres – Children who are typically younger than seven and in pre-nursery and pre-kindergarten are sent to childcare facilities. These facilities concentrate on the early education and development of children. And there should always be at least six kids in a daycare facility. Given that many families have working parents, a childcare facility is just as important for parents as it is for kids.
  • Kindergartens – During their time in kindergarten, children learn about themselves and continue to advance their social and emotional skills. A child goes through this stage to get ready for later years. It caters to children who are 18 months up to six years old.
  • Academic Schools – These are typical schools, where students study subjects like science, art, maths, and languages in-depth and stick to a set curriculum. Multicultural students in Singapore have access to a variety of curriculum, including the British Curriculum, the American Curriculum, and the International Baccalaureate Curriculum.
  • Non-Academic Schools – Nonacademic schools emphasize self-development and practical training. Sports, dance, music, martial arts, culinary, robotics, poetry, etc. are all examples of this. Parents and guardians want to improve their children’s social, emotional, and motor skills through non-academic activities. Children who participate in these self-enrichment programs also advance in other areas of their lives.

There is a significant need for both academic and non-academic institutions. Parents are becoming more aware of the value of practical experience and how it could affect a child’s academic achievement. Also, it develops a child’s character, boosts self-efficacy, and gives them valuable new skills.


  • Qualified educational institutes – There are many top-notch universities in Singapore, some of which are well-known internationally. In addition to the four local top-ranked universities — the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, and Singapore University of Technology and Design — nine leading worldwide institutions have opened an Asian campus in Singapore. Yale, INSEAD, University of Chicago, UNLV, and Tisch School of the Arts at NYU are a few of them.
  • Cost of education – In comparison to the United States and the United Kingdom, education is more reasonably priced in Singapore (around 20–25% less expensive). A full-time MBA program in Singapore, for instance, has total costs that fall between S$57,000 and S$60,000. In the US, one may spend up to $100,000 or more for a comparable curriculum. Hence, regional kids don’t have to travel far or spend a fortune to get the best education.
  • Safe and Stable Environment – The environment in the nation is safe and low crime, which supports both social and corporate activities. Singapore is a model of efficiency and has good corporate governance and stable politics. Its efficiency, adherence to the law, and “get it done” mentality also affects the country’s educational system.
  • Education quality assurance – Most Private Educational Institutions (PEIs) are required by national law to be registered with the Council for Private Education (CPE) under the Private Education Act in order to protect students. Depending on how well an institution meets the registration requirements of CPE, the duration of its registration varies. This pushes academic institutions to raise their bar in order to extend their validity time.
  • Diverse student body – Singapore attracts students from all over the world, creating a diverse and multicultural student body. This allows students to learn from different perspectives and cultures, preparing them for the global workforce.
  • Strong government support – The Singapore government has invested heavily in education, providing funding and resources to support the development of the education system. This has resulted in the establishment of world-class research facilities and educational institutions.


The applicant must provide the following paperwork to the Ministry of Education’s Private Schools Department via courier delivery or postal mail while submitting an online application through LicenceOne:

  • A floor plan that has been approved by the Fire Safety and Shelter Department,
  • Written permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, 
  • The most recent ACRA BIZFILE printout, and a fire safety certificate,
  • Forms for the Committee of Management,
  • The Directors’ Resolution (for a private limited company) or an Appointment Notice (for a single proprietorship, partnership, or LLP) appointing the members of the Committee of Management,
  • Forms for teacher registration, course registration (summary of course particulars), 
  • Course write-up, 
  • School constitution, and 
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association of a private limited company (required only for companies).


Step 1: Learning more about the business

Before the applicant proceeds to set up their educational business, they must make sure to have reviewed and understood the various legal requirements relating to the type of school they are starting. Before starting the education business, the applicant should complete the following crucial activities and determine that the new venture will be a financially viable and profitable entity:

  • Market analysis that takes into account the target student base
  • Identification of possible locations including the current rental pricing
  • the number of employees needed, the available skill supply, and their market salaries
  • Key success factors and risk variables, as well as how the owner intends to reduce the risks involved
  • complete financial estimates that consider both the best-case and the worst-case situations

Step 2: Registering the business

Once the applicant has made the decision to move forward, their firm must first be incorporated. 

A private limited Singapore company is the legal entity that is most appropriate for this scenario. Incorporating a private limited company in Singapore is a fairly straightforward and quick process although certain statutory requirements apply. 

Refer to our page Singapore company registration for more information.

Step 3: Preparing for activities

The actual work begins once the company has been incorporated. Before they can begin registering students, there are a few crucial tasks the applicant must perform. They include:

Find suitable locations

Only locations that the Urban Redevelopment Authority Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has approved for educational purposes may be used. As a result, the applicant should confirm with the landowner that the space they intend to rent can be utilized for this purpose. 

Once they have agreed to the space’s lease, the applicant should engage with a certified contractor to do any necessary renovations.

Hire staff

As the majority of the employees will be teachers, the applicant must ensure that they are qualified to instruct relevant courses. They must be specific about the credentials of the teaching staff in the advertising material. The applicant must comply with the additional conditions imposed by the relevant authorities if their educational institution intends to offer government-subsidized training.

Apply for necessary licenses

The applicant must apply for the mandatory licences at this point that are applicable to the type of educational institute they are setting up. 

Step 4: Obtaining the certificates

A complete application with the required paperwork is typically processed within 14 working days of the ministry receiving it. Processing times are delayed by submissions that are incomplete or inaccurate.

The applicant will get the School Registration Certificate, Classroom Accommodation Certificate(s), and all other required documents following registration approval and successful completion of all administrative steps (including payment of registration fees to LicenceOne).

The School Registration Certificate does not need to be renewed because it is permanent. However, if a branch or a new center is to be established, a new application through LicenceOne is required.

The school may begin operations after the applicant has obtained the School Registration Certificate.

After the school starts operating, the applicant should obtain accreditations to gain credibility and trust with future students.

EduTrust certification

It is essential for the enrolment of any international students. Private education institutes and schools could get financial support for EduTrust certification under the EduTrust Support Scheme. All qualified educational institutions that want to improve their capabilities can apply for a grant of up to S$26,500 through this project.

Singapore Quality Class (SQC) certification

This enhances public perceptions of the institution and speeds up the processing of student visa applications filed by institutions with SQC certification.


Due to the nature of the services they offer, several educational institutions are subject to additional requirements.

For instance, the Private Education Act demands that all academic private schools that fit into one of the following categories register with the Council for Private Education:

  • schools that provide full-time post-secondary education leading to the award of a certificate, a diploma, or a degree;
  • schools that provide full-time preparation programs for entrance exams or placement tests for enrollment in mainstream Ministry of Education schools or for external exams;
  • Privately-funded special education institutions; 
  • Foreign System Schools that provide full-time primary or secondary education that is entirely or largely in accordance with a foreign or international curriculum.

Pre-school setup involves a slightly different process. On the GoBusiness Licensing website, requests for new childcare facilities and kindergartens are submitted. The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA)  must provide these facilities with a licence. Some institutions might have further specifications for their operations that also need ECDA approval.


Depending on the type of educational facility the applicant wishes to establish, specific licences are needed. The chart below offers a summary of the many registrations, licenses, and permits they may require for different kinds of educational establishments.

The primary regulatory requirement for businesses engaged in the education sector is that depending on the type of educational institution, all private organizations or establishments offering education to 10 or more people (aside from non-academic schools) must register with either the Ministry of Education (MOE) or Council for Private Education (CPE). Private schools are permitted to operate if they have registered with MOE and CPE and satisfied all regulatory requirements.

Childcare Centre Preschool / Kindergarten Academic School Non-Academic School
Business registration Required Required Required Required
Registration with Ministry of Education Required Required Required for certain types of academic schools Not Required
Registration with Council for Private Education Not Required Not Required Required for certain types of academic schools Not Required
Childcare centre licence Required If Applicable N/A N/A
Canteen / food court / food stall / coffee shop licence If Applicable If Applicable If Applicable If Applicable
Placing TV sets in your premises If Applicable If Applicable If Applicable If Applicable
Publishing an educational/school magazine If Applicable If Applicable If Applicable If Applicable
Importing educational materials If Applicable If Applicable If Applicable If Applicable
Advertising the establishment If Applicable If Applicable If Applicable If Applicable
EduTrust Certification Recommended Recommended Recommended Recommended
Singapore Quality Class Certification N/A N/A Recommended N/A


Singapore businesses benefit from a wide range of tax breaks and business assistance programs designed to encourage the development of a healthy start-up ecosystem across the country. Several of these programs were established to help particular business sectors, like the education sector. Grants from Venture ForGood (VFG) are one such incentive.

The Venture ForGood (VFG) grant is a funding scheme under the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) meant to support social enterprises at various stages of their business. New and existing social enterprises that are starting up or expanding operations can apply for up to S$300,000 in grants.

The scheme is available for businesses engaged in the provision of services in areas of education, skills development, basic human needs, economic tools and services, and health or social care. The raiSE Grant is open to all new and existing locally-based social enterprises that are registered or intended to register under the Companies Act or Co-operative Societies Act. The company should be incorporated and registered as a raiSE member at the point of grant disbursement. 

Reach out to us at Relin Consultants for further assistance.


What are the legal requirements for setting up an education business in Singapore?

To set up an education business in Singapore, you will need to register your company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and obtain the necessary licences and permits from the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Committee for Private Education (CPE). You may also need to comply with other regulations such as data protection and employment laws.

What types of education businesses can I set up in Singapore?

You can set up various types of education businesses in Singapore, including preschools, enrichment centres, language schools, tuition centres, and vocational schools.

What is the process for obtaining a licence from MOE and CPE?

The process for obtaining a licence from MOE and CPE may vary depending on the type of education business you are setting up. Generally, you will need to submit an application, pay a fee, and undergo inspections and audits. You may also need to meet certain requirements such as having qualified teachers and a suitable curriculum.

Can foreigners set up an education business in Singapore?

Yes, foreigners can set up an education business in Singapore. However, they may need to comply with additional regulations such as obtaining an Employment Pass or EntrePass, and ensuring that at least one director of the company is a Singaporean resident.

What are the costs involved in setting up an education business in Singapore?

The costs involved in setting up an education business in Singapore may vary depending on various factors such as the type of business, location, and size. Generally, you will need to budget for expenses such as registration fees, rent, utilities, salaries, and marketing costs.

What are the benefits of setting up an education business in Singapore?

Singapore is known for its high-quality education system, which makes it an attractive destination for setting up an education business. Additionally, the government provides various grants and schemes to support education businesses, and the country’s stable political and economic environment makes it a favourable place for investment.