Posted by: angiefm | June 10, 2010

Homeschooling – Applying for Exemption

This is a post about the technicalities of applying for exemption from compulsory education.  So feel free to skip it if it doesn’t interest you.  I actually prepared this as an information sheet for the homeschool group.

We receive so many questions about homeschooling and about the process of applying for exemption from Compulsory Education, that we’ve decided to put together an information sheet with what we know about the process.  There may be some changes this year, so please note that some of the points below are from our experience applying in the years 2006 and 2008.


Information about Compulsory Education can be found here: and the Report of the Committee on Compulsory Education in Singapore can be found here:

You are encouraged to read the information published here as you consider homeschooling your children.


All applications are to be submitted to the Compulsory Education Unit, Ministry of Education. 

The current contact person is Ms Lee Wai Fong.  She is a Compulsory Education Officer with the Compulsory Education Unit and can be reached at Tel: +65 6879 5732, Fax: +65 6778 9356, Email:  Alternate contact is Ms Tan Kiat Joo, ( 

Starting 2010, applications can be made between July to October.  To-date (10 June 2010), the form isn’t yet ready.  MOE’s email to me stated: “Please take note that the home-schooling application period opens in July and closes in October.   You are encouraged to register your child in a national school while the home-schooling application is being processed.  Should the application be not successful or when you decide not to home-school your child upon approval, a place in Primary One would have already been secured for your child.

Our past applications have been approved within a week.  Others have reported waiting up to a month for approvals.  MOE has called some families up for clarification.  Some of these were families in which the teaching parent held a part-time job and MOE wanted details on their time commitment. 


In previous years, MOE required the following:

The completed Application for Certificate of Exemption form – this form is in two parts.  The first part requires you to state your reasons for opting to homeschool your child.  Examples given in the form are: child has certain medical condition; preference for certain upbringing of child; parents of the view they are better able to educate child; mother formerly a school teacher now a home-maker.  The second part requires you to state reasons supporting the application for exemption from compulsory education.  Examples given in form are: home has requisite resources for teaching/learning; parent conducting home-schooling has teaching qualifications/experience; home offers a more flexible learning environment. 

Curriculum vitae and certificates of teaching parent – MOE requires that a parent be the primary teacher for all 4 core subjects, including Mother Tongue.  So your certificates should reflect competence in this subject. 

Proposed curriculum for the Core Subjects (English, Mother Tongue, Mathematics, Science) and for National Education for Primary 1 to 6 – The submissions for this section are as varied as the families which homeschool.  Reference is usually made to the MOE’s syllabus for each subject (which can be found online at  For National Education, the 4 core events are Total Defence Day, International Friendship Day, Racial Harmony Day and National Day.  The National Education website is and is a good reference for putting together your plan to teach NE.


When MOE approved our application to homeschool in 2008, we received a letter which said:

We are pleased to inform you that the application is approved and forward for your retention a Certificate of Exemption issued in this regard.  The approval is granted based on the following understanding:

1)      The home-schooling is carried out in the home by the parent(s) named in the application.

2)      The functions and responsibilities associated with this home-schooling cannot be entrusted/delegated to any other persons, education providers/establishments, schools, etc.

Please also be informed that you will have to track the home-schooling progress of your child and submit to the Compulsory Education Unit a Progress Report on the 1st week of December every year until the child reaches the equivalent of Primary 6 in a national school.  The first such Report is due in December 2009.  Sample copy of the Annual Home-schooling Progress Report is forwarded for your use.  Please note that failure to submit this Report may lead to actions such as revocation of the exemption from compulsory education.

Please inform and return the Certificate of Exemption to the Compulsory Education Unit should you subsequently cease to home-school your child, for instance, to join a national primary school, to relocate outside Singapore, etc.

Please acknowledge receipt of the Certificate and confirm you have read and understand the conditions governing approval of home-schooling by completing and returning the Acknowledgment Slip to us.

Acknowledgement Slip

I, (name of parent) of (address) acknowledge receipt of the Certificate off Exemption issued to (name/birth certificate no. of child).

I understand that the Exemption shall lapse if my child receives primary education from:

a)      any organisation for the provision of education to 10 or more persons,


b)      in any place where 10 or more persons are being or are habitually taught, whether in one or more classes.

My attention has also been drawn to the conditions applicable to home-schooled children for exemption from the application of the Compulsory Education Act, these conditions being those found in sub-paragraph 3(b) of the Compulsory Education (Exemption) Order, of which paragraph 3 is reproduced in Annex A hereto.

Annex A


3.        The following classes of children of compulsory school age shall be exempt from section 3 of the Act:

           (a)          any child who is unable to attend any national primary school due to any physical or intellectual disability;

           (b)          any child who receives home-schooling, subject to the following terms and conditions:

                           (i)            the home-schooling curriculum is approved by the Director-General;

                           (ii)           a parent of the child has signed a declaration, in such form as the Director-General may determine, that the child will sit for the Primary School Leaving Examination and the National Education Quiz when the child is above the age of 11 years and before he attains the age of 15 years; and

                           (iii)          the Director-General is at all times satisfied that the child will perform at such level as the Director-General may determine for the Primary School Leaving Examination and the National Education Quiz;

           (c)           any child who is a pupil of a designated school; and

           (d)          any other child whom the Director-General has determined is unsuitable to attend any national primary school, having regard to the interests and welfare of the child.


  1. Hi, thanks for your post. It is really informative.
    Keep the good work! 😀

  2. Hi Angie. I met u today at ikea. I wasn’t sure why I found you & the kids so familiar. Now I know. Haha. I read your blog. You came and spoke to me and asked how old my boy was in the kids section. Anyway, nice meeting you. Keep up the good work.

    • WAH! Lucky I behaved myself. LOL! Thanks for “dropping in”! 🙂

  3. This is very useful I thank you for all the information you have provided for us new comers I will recommend this site to friends By Frankie on May

  4. Hi! We are a group of students doing project work for our A levels, and we have chosen to target improving the quality of homeschool education for our project task.
    We would like to ask, what exactly is the progress report that has to be submitted to the Compulsory Education Unit consists of?

    Thanks for your help 🙂
    God Bless 😀

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