Supporting The Public Sector of Singapore
Public spending on education was 3.3 per cent of GDP in 2012. By the 1990s, primary education was virtually universal. There are six years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Some 99 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2008). There are a number of high-quality private schools, the most sought after of which can have long waiting lists for pupils.
The Institute of Technical Education launched the first social infrastructure PPP project in Singapore, ITE College West (Institute of Technical Education), which opened in 2010. The private partner is Gamon Capital, which is contracted for 27 years under a design–build–finance–operate model.
The principal universities are the National University of Singapore (founded in 1905), Nanyang Technological University (1981, as Nanyang Technological Institute) and Singapore Management University (2000). SIM University, a private university founded in 2005, offers academic programmes aimed at working professionals. There are several other private universities, most of which are in partnership with business schools or technology institutes in Europe or the USA.
Singapore has successfully transferred a large part of the financial burden of health care to the private sector. Private-sector style health care provides 80 per cent of primary health care services, while the public sector provides 80 per cent of the more costly tertiary care, for instance referral hospitals (2010). Public-sector hospitals constitute private limited companies, encouraging private-sector competition. There are more than 20 hospitals in Singapore, ten of which are government-run. Employees pay into a health insurance fund known as Medisave, which is part of the wider social welfare provision of the Central Provident Fund. Singapore is able to both offer domestic access to affordable health care and attract foreign patients to use its facilities.
Singapore has 3,260 km of roads, all paved, with 118 flyovers, the longest of which is the 2.1 km Keppel Viaduct. The 42 km Pan-Island Expressway is the longest road. Traffic congestion is a major problem and private traffic is rationed. A limited number of permits to put a vehicle on the public roads are auctioned every month, greatly increasing the cost of running a car.
Rail: A highly advanced and efficient metro-rail system, the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRT), connects the city with all residential areas and with the international airport, serving more than 40 stations. Rail networks in the country are publicly owned. A railway across the Straits of Johor causeway connects the island with the Peninsular Malaysian railway system and beyond to Thailand.
Ports: Singapore has an excellent harbour and is one of the world’s busiest and most sophisticated ports. The Port of Singapore comprises six terminals, a container port and several deep-water wharves. It is operated by the state-owned Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.
Airports: Changi International Airport, 20 km east of Singapore City, has three terminals; the third terminal was opened in January 2008. The airport is managed by Changi Airport Group, having been corporatised in 2009. The same group also operates Seletar Airport, another of Singapore’s passenger airports.