United World College of South East Asia

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United World College of South East Asia
Dover and Tampines
Established 1971
Head of College Chris Edwards
Teaching staff 568
Grades K-12
Enrolment 5280(both campuses)[1] (2015–2016)
Student to teacher ratio 10.7:1
Education system UWCSEA designed curriculum, IGCSE, IB Diploma
Campus type Suburban
Colour(s) Blue, White and Green
Mascot Phoenix (Dover campus)
Dragon (East campus)

The United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA) is an independent international school in Singapore, and a member of the United World College (UWC) movement. The school provides a K–12 education consisting of five interlinking elements: academics, activities, outdoor education, personal and social education and service. The UWCSEA learning programme leads to the IGCSE in Grades 9 and 10 and the IB Diploma in Grades 11 and 12. The school has two campuses, with around 3,000 students at the Dover Campus and 2,400 at the East Campus.

The school offers extensive sports, drama, visual art, music, clubs/societies and leadership activities, along with an outdoor education programme. All students contribute to the community as part of the service programme, which can involve service to the school community, the Singaporean community, and overseas communities. The Good Schools Guide International's review of the school, states that: "This school has a deservedly good reputation academically but offers far more than exam success to its students...This is not a school for those who would be happy to sit on the sidelines...".[3]

UWCSEA is somewhat different from many of its sister colleges in the UWC movement, most of which are wholly boarding institutions which offer only a two-year International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for mainly scholarship students of around 16–19 years of age. UWCSEA admits students from the age of 4 and, the majority of students are children of expatriates in Singapore. There are more than 300 boarders from 76 countries across both campuses, and over 100 students from 47 countries in grades 8-12 who are supported by scholarships. Singapore government policy prevents most citizens from attending international schools within the country, and therefore UWCSEA has the smallest percentage of local students of any UWC. There are 30 nationalities represented in the teaching staff.


The site on which the Dover Campus now stands was previously occupied by St John's School, run by the British Families Education Service. Due the British military withdrawal from Singapore in 1971, the Singapore government decided the best use for the site was as a private school for the children of expatriates. The Singapore International School was officially opened in 1971 by Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. It was affiliated with the United World College movement, and formally became a member of the movement in 1975, changing its name to the United World College of South East Asia. Originally a secondary-only school, UWCSEA Dover today has a primary section which takes students as young as four. The total number of students on the Dover Campus (Kindergarten 1 - Grade 12) is now over 3,000. UWCSEA's East Campus opened its doors on 1 September 2008 in a transitional campus in Ang Mo Kio. The East Infant School moved to its permanent home at the Tampines campus in 2010. Initially a Kindergarten 1 - Grade 4 primary school for 420 students, by 2015 UWCSEA East will offer over 2,500 places to Kindergarten 1 - Grade 12 students, including 120 boarders. [4]


The UWCSEA Dover Campus is located at Dover Road (1°18′10.88″N 103°46′38.68″E / 1.3030222°N 103.7774111°E / 1.3030222; 103.7774111). It is located near Dover MRT Station, next to Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), and is a next door neighbour to the British-based Dover Court Preparatory School. The UWCSEA East Campus is located at Tampines Street 73.

Both campuses have a campus-wide wireless network, and a central IT help desk for students. Interactive whiteboards are present in all classrooms. In Primary School, iPad and MacBook sets are provisioned in classrooms, and in grades 6–12 laptops are individually owned.

The Dover campus occupies 11 hectares, and the facilities include:

  • specialist teaching facilities in primary school for music, language and art
  • two libraries, one dedicated for Infant School students
  • play areas and equipment for students in the Infant, Junior and Middle Schools
  • rooms designed for art, drama, dance and food technology
  • science laboratories, and a design and technology centre
  • music facilities include recording studios, practice rooms
  • sports facilities: two sports halls; Olympic-sized swimming pool with diving pit; a learn-to-swim pool; gymnasium; tennis/netball courts; playing fields; high-ropes course and rock-climbing walls
  • multi-purpose main hall, which seats over 400 and several smaller performance spaces including two theatre halls seating 200 and 300
  • two canteens with undercover seating and a coffee shop
  • medical clinics
  • two boarding houses for students aged 13–18 (Grades 8-12)
  • conference centre

The East campus occupies 5.5 hectares, and the facilities include:

  • dedicated Infant School building with facilities including age-appropriate playground, a learn-to-swim pool, specialist teaching facilities for languages, music and cooking, and a multi-purpose hall for physical education, assemblies and performances
  • age-appropriate playground for Junior School students
  • two libraries, one dedicated for Primary School students
  • science laboratories, and design technology workshops
  • art rooms, a dark room, and a ceramics studio
  • specialist music studios, practice rooms, recording studios and teaching facilities
  • drama studios and performing arts spaces
  • food technology facilities
  • sports facilities: Olympic-sized pool; artificial turf playing field; three sports halls; gymnastics centre; fitness centre; two studios for fitness and dance classes; outdoor climbing wall; CrossFit training room
  • performance venues including a tiered auditorium with 420 seats, a black box theatre seating 270 and a multi-purpose main hall seating up to 500
  • canteen with undercover seating
  • medical clinics
  • boarding house for students aged 13–18 (Grades 8–12)
  • conference centre

Learning Programme[edit]

The learning programming is guided by the UWC mission, which is to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. The programme consists of five interlinking elements: academics, activities, outdoor education, personal and social education and service.


Students from K1 to Grade 8 follow a UWCSEA-designed curriculum. Students in Grades 9 and 10 follow the IGCSE programme, with students entering in Grade 10 follow a Foundation IB (FIB) programme. Grade 11 and 12 students take the IB Diploma programme.


An after school activities programme is offered from Grade 2 onwards, though some fee-paying activities are available for K1 - Grade 1 students. The programme includes activities covering sports, arts (music, drama, visual art), leadership, clubs and special interests.

Sports available include athletics, badminton, basketball, climbing, cross country, cricket, football, gymnastics, hockey, netball, rugby, sailing, softball, swimming, tennis, touch and ultimate frisbee.

Outdoor education[edit]

The outdoor education programme provides students from Grade 1 to Grade 12 with opportunities to develop their independence, teamwork and resilience.

There is an annual compulsory trip from G1 to G9, starting with a sleepover in the school classroom for G1 and progressing to overseas trips in later years. In Grade 11 small groups of students research, plan and organise a low budget trip which combines adventure and service, and they travel to a site in the region unaccompanied. Additional optional overseas trips are also available in the middle school & high school.

Personal and social education[edit]

The personal and social education programme helps to ensure that students feel secure and valued, as well as encouraged in their learning, growth and social development. Students explore how they are connecting to their learning, friends, family, technology and the outside world.

The concepts covered are:

  • individual well-being
  • relationships and community (interpersonal) well-being
  • student ability to engage with global issues (global well-being)


Students in all grades participate in service projects. There are three categories of service:

  • College, within the school community. Examples include peer support, ambassadors, student mentors, sports coaching, student and sports councils and green campus initiatives.
  • Local, within the Singapore community. Students work with groups such as the elderly, the sick, people with learning difficulties and/or physical disabilities, disadvantaged children and domestic workers.
  • Global, which covers:
    • Global Concerns, a student run and led programme which partners with grassroots organisations outside Singapore. Students, parents and staff to contribute to, visit and see first-hand how the projects operate.
    • Initiative for Peace, an action-based programme which was founded by a group of students and teachers at UWCSEA in 2001. It offers UWCSEA students the opportunity to promote international understanding and reconciliation in areas of conflict, such as Timor Leste.
    • Gap Year programmes.


The UWCSEA Foundation is the fundraising arm of the college. The Foundation was established in 2008 and by 2015 had raised $12.4 million. The funds collected have supported initiatives including scholarships, teacher professional development and curriculum innovation, and environmental and sustainability programmes.


An alumni relations programme was established in 2006 to connect former students to one another and the school. There are 10,420 alumni members located in 114 countries worldwide.

Notable Alumni[edit]


The mascots for the United World College of South East Asia are the Dragon and the Phoenix. They represent the Yin and the Yang in Asian mythology. The East (Tampines Campus) is represented by the Dragon, while Dover bears the mascot of the Phoenix.


  1. ^ UWCSEA at a glance
  2. ^ Accreditation, memberships and registration
  3. ^ http://gsgi.co.uk/countries/singapore/united-world-college-of-south-east-asia?
  4. ^ "East Campus Infant Guide" (PDF). UWCSEA. UWCSEA. p. 4. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  5. ^ https://www.redsports.sg/2011/09/20/red-sports-interview-mark-cheong/

External links[edit]