DPS International School is a leading Indian school in Singapore’s North East region with more than 10 years’ experience in delivering an Indian and international education that prepares students for university worldwide.
Founded in 2004, DPS is an all-through school enrolling students, affectionately known as Dipsites, in Pre-Nursery through to Grade 12. Built on the reputation of the Delhi Public School – one of the largest chains of private schools in India with 150 schools in India – DPS has an old but well-equipped 240,000 sq ft campus in Hougang.
Choosing one of Singapore's Indian curriculum schools can be an ideal option for Indian nationals who want to continue their children’s education internationally, but then expect to settle back in India. And choosing DPS means that your child also has the choice of leaving school with globally recognised A Level qualifications.
In line with the DPS schools in India, this Singaporean campus is focused on order, discipline, and punctuality – as well as a rigorous academic curriculum. This is set within with a happy, caring atmosphere that starts with a heartwarming morning ritual; all students in the primary years greet their teacher with one of four morning greetings — a dance, high five, hug, or handshake. Taken from schools in the US, this good morning system is a popular way to jumpstart a happy day at school.
Teachers at DPS follow a self-developed curriculum for kindergarten, which is very inquiry-led and includes specialist lessons in PE, music, and movement. It offers a structured approach to learning listening, literacy, and numeracy skills, while focusing on learning through play as you’d expect in an early years’ environment.
From Grade 1 upwards, teaching is steered by the ICSE curriculum; specialist classes include music, dance, PE, art & design, speech, and drama, and a choice of Hindi, Tamil, or French. This prepares students for either the ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) or IGCSEs, which they choose at the end of Grade 7 with the advice of their teachers. By giving students the choice of Indian and UK curricula at secondary school, DPS is offering the option of the much broader Indian School Certificate (ISC) exam or the more focused A Level qualifications; the ISC covers English and five elective subjects whereas A Levels focus on three or four specialist subjects.
Students study either the Indian or UK curricula from Grade 8, when both the academic year and the fees are different. For those taking the ICSE/ISC, the academic year remains as April to March and fees range from $12,198 to $15,408; IGCSE and A Level students switch to a January to December year and fees are $14,764 to $20,544.
The two popular Indian curricula – CBSE and ICSE/ISC – divide parents. Proponents of ICSE claim it is less based on rote learning and more on applied learning; there is also an equal focus on language (including English over Hindi), art, and science, which makes it a more balanced syllabus. ‘Whole child’ development is frequently referred to. It is considered by many a harder course, largely because it is less prescriptive and therefore offers more academic freedom. Some people consider the ICSE elitist because it is used predominantly by private schools, and perhaps because of its English language focus.
While the ICSE has a greater focus on practical learning, application, and reasoning skills than CBSE, it is not as practical and inquiry-led as the IB programmes or IGCSEs and A Levels. The curriculum is considered to be more rigorous and cover more subjects than CBSE, which can prepare students better for entrance exams in law, business administration, and humanities; however, some students may find this all too challenging.
Just like the CBSE, ICSE students are assessed in Grades 10 and 12 and awarded a mark for six subjects in ICSE (Grade 10) and five subjects in ISC (Grade 12); the top four best marks, including English, are considered for admission by colleges and universities. The ICSE/ISC qualifications are assessed by examinations only, whereas the IGCSEs and A Levels include varying levels of coursework depending on the subject; students should consider their strengths in exams or coursework when deciding on the pathway to follow.
Students choosing the UK pathway start with the two-year IGCSE curriculum, where they study nine subjects including English, a second language (Hindi, Tamil, or French), maths, physics, chemistry, biology, business studies or geography, ICT, accounting or history, and economics. Then, in Grades 11 – 12, they study four A Levels subjects including English, physics, biology, chemistry, computer applications, maths, accountancy, business studies, or IT.
It’s certainly worth considering that A Levels are more widely accepted for entry to universities and institutes of higher education around the world. A Levels focus on three or four academic subjects, which are studied in depth, and there are no compulsory subjects. And they are assessed using a variety of methods, which may include coursework, practical exercises, oral and listening tests, projects, and written examinations.
DPS provides many opportunities for students to explore the arts, sports, philanthropy, and other interests beyond their academic timetable. There are co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, field trips, community service programmes, and an annual leadership adventure camp. There are plenty of leadership opportunities, whether on the student council or as house captains, and a strong focus on entrepreneurship with both a Business Club and Entrepreneurs Society. There’s a very strong community spirit here too, with students contributing to the local community as neighbourhood ambassadors.
The school takes full advantage of its spacious campus to offer a wide range of sporting activities, including cricket, basketball, athletics, and soccer. There's also the DPS Annual Sports Meet, where students showcase everything from cheerleading and march pasts to yoga and cricket.
DPS is led by principal Charanjit Singh from Bangalore, and the majority of faculty are recruited from India. There are dedicated head teachers for the two different Indian and UK streams in Grades 8 to 12.
DPS has a centrally located campus that may look older and slightly 'tired' next to Singapore's newer schools, but does have the advantage of space and green land. For specialist subjects, there are computer labs, three well-equipped science labs with dedicated facilities for physics, biology, and chemistry, a dance studio, and music room. Outside, there are basketball courts, play areas, three cricket practice nets, a cricket pitch, and sports fields.
With its distinctive bright yellow facade, the school has become part of the local community and has all the advantages of being a very well-established campus.
The 2020 ISC and CISCE cohorts at DPS both celebrated a 100% pass rate, and all students passed in First Division. 50% of the ISC cohort and 40% of the CISCE cohort achieved more than a 90% score.
The school said:
"This year is an extraordinary one – our students have surpassed all previous records and secured a highest ever aggregate for our school, 98% in the ISC (Grade 12) exam. The brilliance of the exams has dispelled the gloom of the pandemic and proven the true mettle of Dipsites!"
IGCSEs and A Levels are sat in November. In 2019, 32% of IGCSE grades were A*, 60% were A* to A, and 83% were A* to B. Highlights of the 2019 A Levels show that more than 50% of students were graded A* to B.
In a city where international school fees can be as high as $39,000 per year, DPS stands out as one of the more affordable schools with annual tuition fees below $20,000. Fees range from $10,593 to $15,408 for the ICSE curriculum, and $14,764 to $20,544 in Grades 8 – 12 for IGCSE and A Level students.
Unlike many schools in Singapore, DPS does not charge a capital levy, which keeps admissions fees to a low $2,000. Also, the school offers various financial incentives; a 15% sibling subsidy for second and third child, and a reduction of the registration fee are among them.
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