What is homeschooling?

Is school compulsory here?

According to the Compulsory Education Act, children between the age of six and 15 have to attend a national primary school regularly, unless they have been exempted by the Education Ministry.

The idea is that schools offer strong academic and co-curricular curriculum with multiple pathways for advancement. "In the process, students interact and learn with fellow students, grow up together and share a common educational experience, thus forging our national identity and social cohesion," says an MOE spokesman.

When are there exemptions?

Homeschooling parents applying for an exemption must provide information on the curriculum of their homeschooling programme to MOE, and show that they have the requisite resources and educational qualifications to adequately take on the role of educating the child.

Parents also have to indicate how the child will receive instruction in National Education.

How are they tested?

On a national level, homeschooled children have to attempt the PSLE when they are between the ages of 11 and 15.

They have to meet the PSLE benchmark, pegged at the 33rd percentile aggregate score of students who take the four subjects in national schools in that year.

One in three homeschooled students who have taken the PSLE in the last five years have failed to meet this benchmark.

From this year onwards, they will have to take a new test at the Primary 4 level. They do not have to "pass" this test as it is a checkpoint to gauge their progress.

An MOE spokesman said that this, along with annual reports parents have to submit on their child's progress, are part of the monitoring of homeschoolers to ensure they are receiving an adequate education.

After PSLE, the kids can pursue their choice of educational certificates and qualifications. These can be used to gain entry into varsities here and overseas.