Accrediting Agencies in Singapore
Today Singapore is fast emerging as a popular educational destination amongst the international students. One of the key factors is Singaporean Government’s continuous effort in raising the bar of the country’s education system to make it more competitive and productive. And one of the steps toward that direction is to accredit its various educational institutions and programs. The objective is that the education provided to the students conforms to the pre-defined standards thereby adding value to the degree obtained.
To accredit a course or an educational institution, Singapore government has formed various accreditation agencies which are mostly administered by Ministry of education (MoE) or Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING) Singapore.Some of the prominent accrediting agencies are:
- Higher Education Division
- Council for Private education (CPE)
- Singapore Quality Class for Private Education Organizations (SQC-PEO)
But before discussing about the accrediting agencies, have a quick overview of MoE and SPRING Singapore.
The complete control and management of Singapore’s education is in the hands of Ministry of Education (MOE). It is responsible for framing and execution of education guidelines in Singapore. It is also responsible for the management and improvement of the Government and Government-aided primary schools, secondary schools, junior colleges, and centralized institute. It also registers private schools.
The Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING) Singapore is a Government agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore. It is the main agency for enterprise development and is also the national standards and accreditation agency. SPRING frame and promote internationally recognized standards and quality assurance infrastructure in varied fields including education.
Higher Education Division
The Higher Education Division (HED) that comes under MoE is responsible for administering and delivering quality post-secondary education in Singapore as well as registration of private schools. It also helps in the growth of quality informal education at the Science Centre Singapore and Institute of Southeast Asian Studies as well as supervises quality services to private education providers.MoE supervises nine statutory boards:
HED is also responsible for planning and financing of four autonomous universities:
- The Institute of Technical Education (ITE)
- The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)
- The Science Centre Singapore (SCS)
- The Council for Private Education, and
- The Five Polytechnics
- The National University of Singapore
- The Nanyang Technological University
- The Singapore Management University and
- The Singapore University of Technology and Design)
HED also administers the providing of publicly-subsidized places in the following institutions: SIM University, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore Institute of Technology, and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.
Singapore Quality Class for Private Education Organizations (SQC-PEO)
The Singapore Quality Class (SQC) for Private Education Organizations, SQC-PEO, is a scheme to recognize Private Education Organizations (PEOs) that have exceled in their performance, and assist them in attaining international standards of quality education. It is based on the Singapore Quality Award Business Excellence Framework and requirements in the private education sector. Under the guidance of SPRING Singapore, the SQC-PEO scheme serves as the industry standard for quality education in the private education sector of Singapore.
Council for Private Education (CPE)
Established under the Private Education Act, the Council for Private Education (CPE) is another quality assurance agency under MoE (the other one is HED) authorized with the legislative power to control the private education sector. It sets out the basic standards that private education institutions (PEIs) must complied with in order to function. CPE is also responsible for improvising the quality standards of education in the local private education industry.
CPE also offer a voluntary certification scheme known as EduTrust Certification Scheme for the PEIs. The PEIs can optionally go for this Quality Assurance Certification to achieve higher quality standards and thereby distinguishing themselves as having achieved higher standards in strategic areas of management and delivery of educational services.
SPARK in Pre-School Education
The Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework (SPARK) is a recent quality assurance accreditation scheme implemented by MOE few years back in January 2011. The SPARK scheme is managed by the agency, Early Childhood and Development Agency (ECDA). ECDA is responsible for the regulation and development of kindergarten and child and infant care programs for children under 6 years. ECDA is an autonomous agency that comes under the Ministry of Social and Family Development but jointly managed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
SPARK certification is aimed to improvise the quality of education in pre-schools in Singapore through better teaching, learning administration and management process. The SPARK logo symbolizes quality education programs in pre-schools.
In Singapore, there are varied accreditation bodies that thrive for improvising the quality of education in Singapore Educational Institutes starting from Pre-School level to University degree programs. These accreditation agencies laid out stringent parameters so as to ensure that the educational quality in Singapore is one of the best in the world.