The Ministry of Education Language Centre (MOELC) was set up in 1978 to offer French and Japanese as a Third Language. A year later, the choices for Third Language were expanded to include German. Subsequent years saw the introduction of Malay as a Third Language in 1986 and Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia in 2008. From January 2014, MOELC offer Spanish as a Third Language, bringing the total number of Third Languages offered at the MOELC to seven.

Asian Languages Arabic / Bahasa Indonesia / Malay (Special Programme)

It opens up new horizons to better understand and appreciate Malay, Indonesian or Arabic culture. It also facilitates better interaction with native speakers and enhances future learning experiences and job opportunities.

Foreign Languages French / German / Japanese / Spanish

They open doors to tertiary education & scholarships in France, Germany, Japan and Spain; they also increase job opportunities in MNCs in Singapore, and local enterprises with overseas networks or operations in Europe, the Americas and Japan.

Additionally, research [1] has shown that the greater the effort made to learn a foreign language, the greater the brain growth in areas “involved in the learning of new material and spatial navigation”. In later life, it has been found to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Research [2] also shows that learning a foreign language to an advanced level – as opposed to second language learning – also “significantly enhances all four divergent thinking abilities, i.e., fluency, elaboration, originality and flexibility. Such enhancement can be attributed to specific cognitive practices that language learning brings, and the psychological consequences of being trained under a system different from school system.”


Foreign Language as a Third Language

To be eligible to apply to study a Foreign Language as a Third Language, applicants must satisfy all three criteria:

  1. Students must be ranked in the top 10% of their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) cohort.
  2. They must be a Singapore Citizen (SC) or Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR), or the child of a SC/SPR.
  3. They must have offered a Mother Tongue Language at the PSLE.

For students interested in Japanese, their Mother Tongue Language must be Higher Chinese/Chinese, as the standard written form of Japanese uses “Kanji” or Chinese characters.

Language options available
Mother Tongue at PSLE French / German / Spanish Japanese
Higher Chinese / Chinese  Yes   Yes 
Higher Malay / Malay  Yes   No 
Higher Tamil / Tamil or Non-Tamil Indian Languages  Yes   No 

In the event that the number of applicants exceeds the number of places available, applicants will be selected by merit based on their PSLE results.

Asian Language as a Third Language

1) Academic criteria :

To apply for an Asian Language course, students must have gained admission to the Express or Normal (Academic) course.

2) Nationality criteria:

For Arabic/Indonesian, students must be a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident, or the child of a SC/SPR.

3) Prior language knowledge criteria:

For Malay (Special Programme) and Indonesian, students are not eligible to apply if they have offered Malay / Higher Malay at PSLE (or equivalent).

No fees are payable for students from government/government-aided/independent schools.

The MOELC follows the standard school term and holiday periods.

Lessons are conducted once a week. Each weekly session comprises 3 hours 15 minutes of in-class instruction at MOELC, followed by 45 minutes of online independent learning at home.

  • Students’ progress is monitored at regular intervals through quizzes, common tests and an End-of-Year or Preliminary examination.
  • Students take the following national examinations:
    • O Level at the end of Sec 4
    • A Level H1 at the end of JC1 (For the foreign languages only)
    • A Level H2 at the end of JC2 (For the foreign languages only)
  • Foreign Language students are also encouraged to measure their proficiency against the various external language examinations in French (DELF / DALF), German (Fit fur Deutsch / TestDAF), Japanese (JLPT) and Spanish (DELE) conducted by the respective examining agencies.

The titles in use may be purchased from the Bookshop at the Ministry of Education Language Centre.

To check the textbook list, please click Textbooks