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Singapore: Goals, Objectives, and Design of Its Curriculum

Goals and Objectives of the Singapore Curriculum

The general education objectives for mathematics in Singapore allow the students to:

  • Acquire math concepts and skills for daily use and to continue learning mathematics.
  • Develop cognitive and metacognitive skills through a mathematical approach to problem-solving.
  • Establish positive attitudes towards mathematics.

The math curriculum consists of a set of programs over the course of 12 years, from primary to pre-university education, and is mandatory until the end of secondary school.

Design of the Singapore Curriculum

In Singapore, they know that mathematics has a natural hierarchy. That is to say, that more advanced concepts and skills are based on others that are more basic. Because of this, it is fundamental to learn this material in a sequential manner and therefore they have adopted a spiral approach to the creation of content across levels.

The mathematics curriculum in Singapore has different programs that tend to the different needs and abilities of the students. In this image, we can see how the different programs are connected.



The curriculum for first through fourth grade is common for all students.

The Standards of Math program (5th and 6th grade) continues to develop the previously seen contents.  The Basic Fundamentals of Math program (5th and 6th grade) revisits some of the more important concepts and skills that have been worked on in previous courses and the new concepts and skills they work on in this program are a subset of the Standard program. Basic Fundamentals of Math is a program intended for those students that need a bit more time to learn.


In secondary they have 5 programs:

  • Level-O is based on the Standard.
  • Level-N(A) is a subset of the O program, except that it reworks some of the topics from the Standard program.
  • Level-N(T)  is based on the Basic Fundamentals program.
  • Level-O-Additional assumes knowledge of content from the O program and includes an in-depth look at important topics.
  • Level-N(A)-Additional is a subset of the O-Additional program.

The final two programs are electives that can be chosen by students who have an interest and skills in math. It offers an opportunity to learn more mathematics and prepare for more advanced courses.


At the pre-university level, math is optional. The H1 program is based on the Level-O program, while the H2 program is part of the O-Additional program, and H3 is an extension of H2.

The N(A) and N(T) programs offer great preparation for the students that wish to pursue engineering careers at polytechnic schools. The students that aspire to study mathematics at a university could pursue the H2 program, and H3 if it is possible.


  • Mathematics Syllabus. Primary One to Five. Ministry of Education, Singapore.
  • Smartick lands in Singapore, one of the most demanding education systems.
  • Fundamentals of the Singapore Method in Mathematics Education.

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Diane Ackerman
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