Relocating Japanese Expats in Singapore

Singapore is Renowned for Its World-Class Education Experience

Singapore is the kind of place where people want to live — which is why its population has a significant number of expatriate residents. In fact, one out of every five residents in Singapore is an expat, and many of them have found that they appreciate the high quality of life that they enjoy in this country. In Singapore, a high priority is placed on education, values and international talent, making this an ideal place for you to relocate to.

Nearly 37,000 Japanese expatriates live in Singapore, and many of them are parents who are searching for a school for their children during their time in this country. While there are public schools in Singapore for Japanese expatriate families to consider, the admission process prioritises citizens and Permanent Residents. Many expats find that they feel most comfortable at international schools. An international school such as OWIS that offers a values-based system and a robust curriculum could be the ideal place for your child.

Japanese Parents and Their High Regard for Academic Excellence

Japanese parents have a distinct set of parenting values that influence their educational choices for their families. Broadly speaking, Japanese parents in Singapore look for an international school that offers:

Academic rigour balanced with 21st century skills

Japanese parents believe that academic excellence is needed for their children to succeed in the future. They believe in the value of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education for the future prospects of their children.

In keeping with the times, the Japanese school system also recognises the need for 21st century skills, such as creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking. Japanese parents have also started giving importance to these important life skills for their children.

Pathway to university

More than 50 per cent of Japanese high school students go on to university (while others choose different institutions for higher education). This shows that along with STEM, Japanese parents have an eye on the future and keep a focus on their children’s path to a prestigious university. They are interested in academic qualifications that are globally recognised.

Values-based educational philosophy

Japanese parents believe that values such as kindness and empathy should be woven into the academic curriculum to ensure that their children receive a well-rounded education. Several Japanese expat parents nowadays also believe that their children benefit from meeting others from different cultures, so a multicultural international school environment is ideal for them.

Building fluency in English

Japanese parents believe that the English language is integral to international business and science, and they want their children to have the language skills they need to advance in a global economy. An English language programme that allows students to become proficient in reading, writing and speaking the language would be best-suited for their children.

Co-scholastic learning

Japanese children often have a host of interests outside the classroom, such as sports, creative drama, storytelling, art and craft, music and more. A well-rounded international school curriculum that incorporates these co-curricular activities is important to Japanese expat parents in Singapore.

Here's Why OWIS is the Right International School for Your Japanese Expatriate Family

OWIS may be the best option for you and your family if you are relocating from Japan. Here's why:

Academic excellence

We encourage students to look to the future and focus on preparing for university. We offer both the IGCSE and IB DP, two international curriculum programmes recognised worldwide by top universities.

These curriculum programmes prepare them for the higher-level thinking that is required at premier universities around the world. Moreover, Japanese universities have been accepting the IB DP qualification in the recent past.

Future-focussed skills

In addition to focusing on academic studies, the students at OWIS also work on 21st-century skill development. Communication and critical thinking skills are honed throughout every student's educational experience at OWIS, which uniquely prepares them for higher-level studies.

Further, our balanced curriculum includes several co-curricular activities, such as physical education, sports, music, creative drama, art and more, that will be of interest to Japanese children and make their school life very engaging.

Attention to STEAM and English

The inquiry-based learning model at OWIS makes maths and science both exciting and relatable. We believe in the value of STEAM (STEM with the added art element) education for building skills necessary for work life in the future. 

We also offer an engaging English as an Additional Language programme to our learners to offer them the support they need to gain fluency in this global language.

Further, OWIS has been awarded the EduTrust Certificate, which provides Japanese parents with the assurance that our school can provide the high-quality learning experiences that they require for their children.

Values-driven environment

We provide students with a holistic education that is anchored by a values-driven curriculum programme. Students learn about the importance of kindness, empathy and compassion through hands-on learning experiences, and they benefit from the positive culture that has been cultivated at OWIS.

OWIS is proud of its multicultural community. Throughout our student body and teaching staff, many different cultures, backgrounds and religions are represented. This allows students to learn to appreciate different perspectives and helps them understand the important role that culture plays in a person's development. We host events and activities throughout the year that allow students to showcase their own culture while also learning about others.

Moderate tuition fees

Singapore’s international schools can be expensive. OWIS has a moderate price structure that makes it possible for Japanese parents to provide their children with an excellent education for an attainable price.

Your Child Will Receive English Language Support During Their Time at OWIS

In Singapore, English is one of the most common languages spoken among local residents. We know that Japanese expatriate parents are searching for a school where their child will be exposed to the English language. At OWIS, we offer an English as an Additional Language programme, which provides students with the language support they need in a fun and interactive way. Our goal is to personalise the learning experience to cater to the individual needs of each student.

Comparing OWIS With the Japanese School System: Tips for the Transition

If your family is relocating to Singapore from Japan, here’s a snapshot of some differences between the Japanese school system and OWIS: 

Japanese Schools


Private vs Public Schools

Academic Calendar

The Japanese academic calendar year begins in April and ends in March.

At OWIS, our calendar year starts in August and ends in June. Nevertheless, we do welcome students throughout the year if we have vacancies in the grade level.

Class Sizes

The average Japanese classroom has about 35 students.

At OWIS, our average class size is 24 students.


The Japanese school system offers instruction in Japanese.

At OWIS, our courses are taught in English, which can help Japanese students become fluent in this global language.


Japanese children typically take public transport or walk to school.

OWIS offers the option of a pick-and-drop private school bus service which makes the commute quite convenient for expat families in Singapore.


Local schools in Japan offer the National Center for University Entrance Examinations as a qualification for admission into a university in Japan.

OWIS offers the IB Diploma qualification in Grade 12, which is being increasingly recognised by Japanese universities and has its own separate special selection procedure.

Returning to Japan from Singapore: The Impact on Your Child’s Education

Not all expatriate families permanently relocate to Singapore. Some Japanese families want to return to Japan, and they want to make sure that their children can easily reacclimate to their native country. While an IB education at OWIS will be beneficial in creating a lifelong love of learning in your child, here are some considerations in case your family returns to your home country:

  1. Some international schools in Japan are able to accept Japanese students, provided certain conditions are satisfied, such as that the child has been educated exclusively or primarily in non-Japanese schools overseas etc. 
  2. Most universities in Japan recognise the IB DP and graduate students with this qualification are typically eligible for a separate selection procedure than local students.  

What Japanese Parents are Saying About OWIS

Our children enjoy interacting with their teachers and friends, both in and out of the classroom. The younger one comes back from school every day saying, "School was super fun again today!

Hisato Y.

Feel at Home in Singapore

There are many benefits to living in Singapore, but that doesn't mean that the transition from one country to another is always easy. You can help your child adapt and acclimate by selecting a school such as OWIS, which offers a supportive multicultural environment where many students have gone through a similar experience. Our values-based education coupled with our positive community culture ensures that all students and their family members feel as if they are a part of the OWIS family.

If you’re keen to know more about our multicultural international school, please schedule a virtual tour today.

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