GEP Schools – Singapore

gep singapore

Gifted Education Programme (GEP) is offered by the following nine prestigious primary schools:

GEP Primary SchoolsAffiliated Secondary School
Catholic High School (Primary Section)Catholic High School
Henry Park Primary School-
Nan Hua Primary School-
Nanyang Primary SchoolNanyang Girls’ High School
Raffles Girls’ Primary School-
Rosyth School-
St. Hilda’s Primary SchoolSt. Hilda’s Secondary School
Tao Nan School-
Anglo-Chinese School (Primary)Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)

Gifted Education Programme (GEP):

The Gifted Education Programme (GEP) in Singapore, initiated by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in 1984, is a remarkable educational endeavor to identify and nurture intellectually gifted students to their maximum potential. This comprehensive program is designed to provide gifted students with an enriched and challenging curriculum that caters to their unique learning needs.

GEP Primary Schools

Rooted in a robust framework, the GEP seeks to identify and cultivate young minds that exhibit a remarkable aptitude for learning, analysis, and problem-solving. By channeling its efforts into refining the educational experiences of these gifted students, Singapore aims to provide them with the resources, challenges, and opportunities necessary to hone their talents to the fullest extent. The GEP serves as a means to empower these students with the tools they need to excel not only academically but also as critical thinkers and creative problem-solvers.

Beyond the immediate educational context, the GEP carries an implicit message about the nation’s vision for the future. It underscores Singapore’s belief in the potential of its youth to drive progress, fuel innovation, and shape the trajectory of the nation’s growth. The program’s emphasis on intellectual excellence aligns seamlessly with Singapore’s broader goals of positioning itself as a global hub of knowledge and innovation.

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GEP Selection Process

The process of selecting students from the primary schools for the GEP is meticulous, beginning in Primary 3. It spans across two stages: screening and selection. In the screening phase, which takes place in August, students are assessed through English Language and Mathematics papers. Those shortlisted move on to the selection stage held in October, where they undertake English Language, Mathematics, and General Ability tests (Paper 1 and Paper 2). This rigorous process ensures that only the most gifted students are admitted into the program.

Selection Process

Selection Process Screening Exercise (“Round One”) Selection Exercise (“Round Two”)
Month August October
Candidates Open to all Primary 3 students Students shortlisted from the Screening Exercise
Pass Rate 10% 10% of the students who were shortlisted of the Selection Exercise. (1% of national P3 cohort)
Subjects Tested English
General Ability

The screening and selection process is a considerable challenge for these young minds. It’s a phase that may evoke anxiety not only in students but also in parents. It’s crucial for parents to understand that while preparation is important, excessive pressure is counterproductive. The term “gifted” inherently implies an innate capacity for advanced thinking and reasoning. Consequently, if a child possesses this inherent ability, excessive preparation might be unnecessary. Conversely, for children without these unique cognitive attributes, no amount of preparation can substitute for natural aptitude.

From my perspective, parents should adopt a supportive role. Rather than solely emphasizing intense preparation, it’s more beneficial to encourage your child to engage with the questions, give their best effort, and recognize that their value extends far beyond the GEP selection process.

Opting to relish the selection process is preferable to intensifying it through specialized GEP enrichment classes that promise a better chance at GEP admission. (some classes starts from SGD $600+ for 3 subjects : English, Math and General Ability). If your child is naturally “gifted,” excessive preparation is optional. Remember that approaching this with a sense of enjoyment, much like a quiz, holds more significance than fixating on the final outcome. Each year, only 1% of students from each academic year with exceptional intelligence are accepted. It’s a journey for every child to embrace, and it should be tackled with ease and in a relaxing mood. Choosing a relaxed approach often yields more fruitful results than pressuring your child into memorizing extraneous terms beyond their regular school syllabus.

What to Expect: A Journey of Intellectual Exploration

The GEP curriculum is tailored to challenge the students advanced cognitive abilities and encourage intellectual curiosity. The classes are more intense, often covering topics beyond the standard curriculum and at a faster pace. This fosters an environment where students are encouraged to explore, question, and expand their understanding of various subjects. Let’s delve into what this journey holds:

1. Content enrichment

Within the GEP’s realm, learning takes on a new dimension. It’s a departure from the ordinary, a journey where the building blocks of traditional education are elevated to new heights. The curriculum stretches beyond the confines of convention, delving into intricate and advanced topics. Students are invited to look at subjects from multiple angles, weaving connections between different fields. It’s not just about absorbing facts; it’s about embracing values like resilience, empathy, and curiosity. These values become integral to students’ daily lives, transforming them into knowledgeable individuals and compassionate and empathetic thinkers.

2. Process Enrichment

In this facet of the GEP experience, students don’t merely gather information – they become architects of their intellectual destiny. The GEP encourages students to venture into unexplored territories, to ask questions that challenge the status quo, and to seek answers through self-directed exploration. Critical thinking and problem-solving become their trusted companions. They’re not just learning but honing skills vital for the 21st century. The GEP doesn’t stop at individual brilliance; it fosters the art of teamwork, where collaborative thinking becomes a superpower.

3. Product Enrichment

Creativity isn’t just a spark in the GEP; it’s the fuel that propels learning. The GEP rejects the notion of one-size-fits-all assignments. Instead, it encourages students to unleash their creativity and express their understanding through diverse and innovative mediums. The curriculum becomes a canvas where students paint with their ideas. It’s about presenting insights through words and projects that mirror the complexity of the real world. Moreover, the GEP instills a sense of responsibility – students learn that their learning can serve as a bridge between academia and the needs of their community.

4. The Learning Environment

Within the GEP’s learning environment, innovation thrives. It’s a safe space where risk-taking is celebrated and comfort zones are left behind. Here, self-discovery isn’t just encouraged; it’s nurtured. Students are urged to embrace their uniqueness and take pride in their perspectives. Collaboration is the heartbeat of this space. The GEP acknowledges that learning isn’t confined to four walls; it’s an immersive experience that extends beyond the classroom. Field trips, partnerships with tertiary institutions, and hands-on activities become the conduits through which education flows.

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Individualized Study Options (ISOs) for GEP Students

ISOs Description
Inquiry Skills Lessons in Primary 4
  • Lessons in Primary 4
  • Teaches core research skills
  • Skills include research scoping, information sourcing, data gathering, data analysis, and presentation of findings
Individualised Research Study (IRS) Project option in Primary 5
Students work on a research project based on their interests
Innovation Programme (IvP) Project option in Primary 5
Focuses on inventive thinking skills and problem-solving
School-initiated Programmes
  • Programmes like Future-Problem Solving (FPS) and Destination Imagination (DI)
  • Emphasize different skill sets including research, IT, inventive thinking, and problem-solving

The Gifted Education Programme (GEP) offers a range of project work options known as ISOs (Individualized Study Options). These ISOs are available to GEP students and aim to develop various skills. Here’s an overview of the ISOs and the skills they focus on:

  1. Inquiry Skills Lessons in Primary 4:
    • These lessons help students build core research skills.
    • Skills taught: research scoping, information sourcing, data gathering, data analysis, and presentation of findings.
  2. Individualised Research Study (IRS):
    • Available in Primary 5.
    • Students work on a research project based on their interests.
  3. Innovation Programme (IvP):
    • Offered in Primary 5.
    • Focuses on inventive thinking skills and problem-solving.
  4. School-initiated Programmes:
    • Includes programmes like Future-Problem Solving (FPS) and Destination Imagination (DI).
    • Emphasizes various skill sets including research, information technology skills, inventive thinking, and problem-solving.

Each ISO emphasizes a unique set of skills, contributing to the holistic development of GEP students.

Criticisms: Balancing Excellence and Equity

Like any ambitious program, the GEP has not been immune to criticism. One of the most significant criticisms is the perception of elitism. Some argue that segregating gifted students inadvertently reinforces social stratification, favoring children from more affluent backgrounds.  It is heartening to witness the dynamic efforts by the government and educational institutions to respond to these concerns and cultivate an educational environment that is both accomplished and inclusive.

gep school poster

1. Diverse Admissions Approach: It is heartening to witness a remarkable fair system in how GEP schools select students. Beyond relying on academic accomplishments, a comprehensive effort has been orchestrated to level the playing field. This concerted endeavor ensures that students from neighborhood schools spanning from Bedok, Punggol, Pasir Ris, Yishun, Jurong West, Simei to Sembawang, are all given an equitable opportunity to compete with their peers in the top primary schools in Singapore.

2. Embracing Collective Learning: The integration of GEP students into collaborative projects with peers from different educational streams resonates as a significant stride. This demonstrates a conscious intent to bridge the gap and promote mutual learning, dispelling hints of isolation or exclusivity. GEP students in the nine primary GEP schools would spend up to 50% of their lesson time with the top 2% to 5% of the cohort, or the top mainstream students. Non-core subjects such as art, music, and physical education are conducted with the mainstream cohort. (mainstream primary schools)

3. Character as a Keystone: The emphasis on character development alongside academic excellence speaks volumes about the progressive ethos of the GEP. Nurturing attributes such as empathy, leadership, and creativity affirms that education extends beyond classroom success.

It is inspiring to witness the dedication to excellence and fairness, laying the groundwork for an educational journey that celebrates diversity, dismantles barriers, and embraces progress. The path to a more inclusive education system in Singapore is something to be hopeful about and to appreciate.

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What to do after GEP?

IP stands for Integrated Programme.  A unique educational path that merges secondary and junior college levels over six years. Students in IP schools bypass the GCE O-Level examination and can directly enter the GCE A-Level examination or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

As for students in the Gifted Education Programme (GEP), multiple pathways beckon once their GEP education concludes. Some may opt to further their studies in IP schools if they meet the competitive admission criteria. However, it’s essential to recognize that gaining entry into IP schools isn’t assured for all GEP students due to the competitive nature of the admissions process.

Alternatively, GEP students who don’t pursue IP schools can continue their journey in their current secondary schools and undertake the GCE O-Level examination. Afterward, they have the option to enroll in junior colleges, polytechnics, or other educational institutions for their pre-university education.

For more insights into the Integrated Programme (IP) in Singapore, you can visit the Ministry of Education’s website: [Integrated Programme (IP)](

Conclusion: Forging Intellectual Prowess

The Gifted Education Programme in Singapore is a testament to the nation’s dedication to fostering brilliance and excellence in education. Through a meticulous selection process, specialized curriculum, and committed educators, the GEP aims to shape the minds of gifted students, empowering them to become the intellectual leaders of tomorrow. While not without its challenges, the GEP remains a vital cornerstone in Singapore’s educational landscape, serving as a beacon for nurturing exceptional talent.

For a comprehensive understanding of the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) in Singapore, please explore the Ministry of Education’s website: [Gifted Education Programme (GEP)](