Don't know your IB from your PSLE? Past the point where it's acceptable to ask? Our trusty guide to school acronyms in Singapore should sort you out.
If you’re from Singapore, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a new parent whose baby’s just started walking, or a veteran mum who’s had kids in the school system from pre-nursery all the way to university. There’s bound to have been a school acronym in the prospectus or in a parents’ letter that’s left you flummoxed. Yes, there’s been more important issues to worry about like deciding between sending your child to an international or local school and school fees, but those acronyms have always struck a chord of guilt in you as you reel them off in front of other parents. It’s time to drop that sheepish grin – we’re here to educate! Bookmark this page for easy access – here’s what PSLE, GCE, MOE, IB (and more!) stand for.
School acronyms you need to know
AEIS: Admission Exercise for International Students to join local primary or secondary schools.
AEP: Art Elective Programme – an enriched arts program offered at O levels.
AP: Advanced Placement – an American program which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students.
BB/GB: Boys/Girls Brigade – a uniform group offered as a CCA for students aged seven/eight to 16.
BCME/PCME: Abbreviations of Biology/Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Economics subject combinations for A-Levels.
BSO: British Schools Overseas – a scheme of standards that British schools based overseas must meet in order to be British-accredited.
CBSE: Central Board of Secondary Education – a Board of Education for schools, under the Union Government of India.
CCA: Co-Curricular Activities – non-academic activities that are compulsory for students to participate in.
CEW: Curriculum Enhancement Week – a school camp, usually overseas.
DAS: Dyslexia Association of Singapore – a non-profit organisation which provides resources and support to students with dyslexia.
DP: Diploma Programme – an educational program managed by the IB for students aged 17 to 18 years old.
E2K: Excellence 2000 – enrichment programs for students with higher ability in certain subjects, e.g. Science or Math.
EAL: English as an Additional Language.
ECA: Extra-Curricular Activities – non-academic activities that are not related to the academic curriculum.
ECC: Early Childhood Centre – a school or daycare centre catering for children below the age of seven years.
ECDA: Early Childhood Development Agency – the government agency responsible for the early childhood sector.
GCE A Level: General Certificate of Education Advanced Level – academic qualification used by the majority of JCs in Singapore.
GCE O Level: General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level – an academic qualification offered by the majority of local schools in Singapore.
GGS: Girl Guides Singapore – a uniform group for girls offered as a CCA for students aged 13 to 16.
GP: General Paper – an H1 subject offered at A-Levels.
H1/H2/H3: Higher 1/2/3 – levels of study for A-Levels.
HSC: Higher School Certificate – a secondary school credential awarded by New South Wales, Australia.
HFMD: Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease – a highly contagious virus that affects kids (usually younger than five-years-old).
IGCSE: International General Certificate of Secondary Education – an English language curriculum based on GCE O levels.
IB: International Baccalaureate – a non-profit educational institution that offers educational programs for children aged three to 18 years old.
IBDP: International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme – a two-year educational programme for 16- to 18-year-olds.
ILP: Individual Learning Program.
IP: Integrated Program – a program that allows high-performing students in secondary schools to skip the GCE O level examination and sit for the GCE A Level.
JC: Junior College for teens from 17 to 18 years old.
K1/K2: Kindergarten 1/Kindergarten 2 – preschool for children from four to six years old.
KI: Knowledge Inquiry – a subject offered at A-Levels, similar to philosophy.
LEAPS: Leadership, Enrichment, Achievement, Participation and Service – used for evaluating a student’s participation in a CCA.
MCYS: Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.
MEP: Music Elective Program – an enrichment music program offered at O levels.
MOE: Singapore’s Ministry of Education.
MSF: Ministry of Social and Family Development.
MYP: Middle Years Programme – an educational program managed by the IB for students aged 11 to 16 years old.
N1/N2: Nursery 1/Nursery 2 – preschool for children aged two to four years old.
NCC: National Cadet Corps – a uniform group offered to students aged 13 and up as a CCA.
NLB: National Library Board.
NPCC: National Police Cadet Corps – a uniform group offered to students aged 13 and up as a CCA.
PCF: PAP Community Foundation – a charitable foundation founded by the Singapore People’s Action Party (PAP) that has opened several preschools around Singapore.
POLY: Polytechnic – a higher learning institute of technology.
Pre-Nursery: school program for children aged from 18 months to 2.5 years.
P1-P6: Primary 1-Primary 6 – school for children aged from six to 12 years.
PSA: Parent Student Association.
PSLE: Primary School Leaving Examination – final examination taken by students in Primary 6 to be promoted to Secondary school.
PW: Project Work – a subject offered at A-Levels.
PYP: Primary Years Programme – an educational program managed by the IB for students aged three to 12 years.
SEAB: Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board.
SEC 1-SEC 4: Secondary 1-Secondary 4 – school for students aged from 13 to 16 years.
SLC: Student-Led Conference – a conference led by students.
SPARK: Singapore Preschool Accreditation Framework – an accreditation preschools can apply for to show that they have reached a certain quality or standard.
Spark: Society for the Promotion of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Research & Knowledge – a non-profit organisation to create awareness of ADHD and provide support to families with ADHD children.
SPED: Special Education for students with special needs.
SS: Social Studies – a compulsory subject taken in Primary and Secondary and examinable at O Levels.
STEAM: Programs that include Science, Technology, Engineering/Entrepreneurship, Arts and Mathematics.
STEM: Programs that include Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
TT: Temperature taking – an exercise to ensure kids don’t go to school with a fever.
Top image credit: Hillside World Academy