Starting a Non-Academic Private School in Singapore

Staff Writer

January 16, 2022

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How to Open a Vocational School

Given the lucrative and attractive business potential that the education industry has to offer, there are more and more foreign institutions and domestic companies are attempting to penetrate the market by opening up private schools. In addition to academic centres, many businesses are turning their focus on non-academic schools due to an increasing demand for vocational training.

With the purpose of streamlining and developing the education industry, the Singapore authorities have introduced some statutory requirements and regulations to this sector. To guide you through the process, this post will show you simple steps on how to start a non-academic private school in Singapore.

What is a non-academic private school?

Unlike academic institutions which offer formal and theoretical courses, non-academic private schools often provide services with specific technical skills. In other words, they mainly focus on hands-on and practical learning experiences. Some examples include driving schools, cooking schools, sewing schools, grooming schools, hair styling schools, sports schools, or dressmaking schools. Another difference between nonacademic and academic schools is that you are not required to register with the Singapore Ministry of Education.

How to set up a non-academic private school in Singapore

Since there is no need to acquire a permit or license to set up set up a non-academic private school in Singapore. The whole process can be relatively simple and quick compared to opening a kindergarten or academic institution. Here are a few simple steps that you need to do:

1. Plan the business

Just like any other businesses, it is important to make a comprehensive plan before you start opening up a non-academic private school. Make sure to do your research and understand what the local authorities require to prevent any legal problems in the future. Also, you should figure out the targeted client bases, identify possible opportunities and risk, find out staffing requirements and salaries for teachers, as well as calculate the budgets for the business.

In addition, choose a suitable name for the school. Keep in mind that you will use this name for both the school and the business that you are going to register with the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. The following words aren’t allowed to include in the name without permission from the authorities: international, college, conservatory, university, national, and Singapore.

2. Register the business

Next, you need to incorporate your company by registering with the Singapore Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. The chosen type of business entity that you register will depend on your business model and the scale of the school. In general, there are three most common choices, including sole proprietorship, private limited, and partnership. Since each form has its own advantages and disadvantages, you need to take every important factor into consideration.

3. Prepare the premise

Because non-academic private schools aren’t subjected to any regulations and rules of the government, there is actually no guidelines for opening the facilities. However, you should ensure that the premise that you are going to use should be zoned for commercial purposes by the Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Also, you need to get a building work permit from the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore to perform any major construction.

4. Acquire accreditation

Acquiring accreditation is unnecessary for a non-academic private school. But if you want to improve your prestige, as well as attract more international students, then it is a good idea to apply for the Case Trust for Education accreditation. Also, the Singapore Quality Class is a well-known certificate that could help create positive images in parents about your program. For financial and professional support, the EduTrust certification can be a great option since the organisation will provide financial assistance for those institutions which are planning to upgrade and improve their educational capabilities.

5. Obtain licenses if necessary

As said earlier, you are not required to acquire any licenses or permits from the Singapore Ministry of Education or the Council for Private Education. However, if you want to deliver some other services and extra activities, it is necessary to seek permission from the authorities. These include opening a food court, coffee shop or canteen inside the facility, install television sets, advertise your school, import books and other materials, as well as publish an educational magazine. Of course, this will completely depend on your purposes and curriculum.

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