Under the bilingual education policy, all students in our primary and secondary schools are required to offer a Mother Tongue Language (MTL).

In implementing the policy, we exercise some flexibility and allow students with exceptional circumstances to offer an approved Foreign or Asian Language in lieu of MTL. There are broadly two groups of students who can be given this permission. They are either students who join the school system mid-stream from non-MTL speaking countries, or students with at least one parent who is foreign born and of non-Chinese/Malay/Indian ethnicity.

Over the past five years, the group of students offering an approved Foreign or Asian Language has remained small, at around 1% of a PSLE cohort on average. The proportion of Singapore students doing so has remained stable, at around 0.2% of each cohort.