More pursuing higher education in Australia, UK
Overseas universities increasingly popular due to strong Singapore dollar and more credit exemptions offered
More Singaporean students are pursuing university education overseas, especially in Australia and the United Kingdom, because of better exchange rates and shorter courses.
Despite the growing number of local options, overseas education has risen steadily over the past few years across all countries, said Mr Travis Kok, marketing and customer support manager of IDP Singapore.
Australia remains the top education destination for Singaporeans, followed closely by the UK and the United States.
Overseas education consultancy IDP's statistics, gathered from the Australia Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the UK Home Office, showed that more than 2,800 Singaporeans attained student visas to Australia and 2,700 to the UK last year.
Mr Kok said Australian universities generally give more credit exemptions for diploma-holders compared to local universities.
For example, Australian universities give students who hold polytechnic diplomas in banking and finance anywhere from half a year to one and a half years off their Bachelor of Commerce (Banking and Finance) programmes.
Mr Kok said most polytechnic graduates receive about a year's worth of exemptions, completing their bachelor's degrees in two years.
Some go on to apply for a master's degree, which could take one to two years, depending on where they study.
Australian universities also offer courses not available here, such as veterinary science.
Studying abroad offers local students the opportunity to experience different cultures and develop a sense of independence.Mr Shabir Aslam, director of education at the British Council
Mr Kok said: "Due to Australia's large Asian population and international enrolment, Singaporean students do not need to adapt to the culture much.
"The Australian student visa is also rather unique, in that it allows students 40 hours of part-time work a fortnight.
"Australia is one of the few countries that allows international students who complete two years of education to stay on in the country to work."
The British Council also saw the total number of Singaporean students enrolled in UK universities increase from 7,820 in 2014 to 8,145 in 2015.
This figure is almost double that of 4,115 students in 2009.
Mr Shabir Aslam, director of education at the British Council, said: "Studying abroad offers local students the opportunity to experience different cultures and develop a sense of independence.
"A key reason for the current appeal of studying abroad is the strength of the Singapore dollar, making overseas education more affordable than ever.
"Another appealing factor is the time required to gain comparable qualifications. A bachelor's degree with honours takes three years in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - with the exception of Scotland, which takes four years - similar to Singapore, the US and Australia."
Said Mr Kok: "Overseas, students can develop independence and cross-cultural sensitivity, as well as broaden their perspectives and world view.
"Many also look for international work opportunities embedded in their programmes or make use of the university's work placement programmes and industry networks."