In 1959, after Singapore's first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew brought Singapore to independence; he realized that for the country to prosper, level of education had to be increased; therefore the government improved the education system of Singapore. The new system required at least 12 years of education (6 years of primary school, 4 years of secondary school and two years of high school). This system increased the level of education among Singaporeans. Followed by the increased in the level of education, the country experienced prosperity and trade expansion. Unfortunately, this resulted in a more intensive education system, which is unhealthy for the student. Singapore's unhealthy education system does not only refer to the normal physical stress, it also refers to the mental pressure that one has to withstand as a citizen, student and a child. The unnatural amount of pressure from the society and parents creates negative impacts on students, and hence influences the country as a whole.
The intensive education system is comprised of 10 to as many as 45 hours per week for an average student. In addition to that, the student must attend curriculum classes for 8 to 12 hours per week (e.g. piano, computer, drawing, private and school tuition, etc.) for extra skill. To make things worse, these kind of extra curriculums begin at a younger and younger age, e.g. 3 - 4 years old, for children in Singapore. Compared with countries like Australia, United States, England, etc, the leisure time for a child in Singapore is definitely lesser than a child in these countries, which greatly affects the normal growth cycle for the child.
The fact that Singapore is a small and densely populated (population vs. land available) country is one of the main causes of the intensive education. Singapore has about 647.5 square kilometers, slightly more than 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC (Singapore Geography 2000) with almost 4 million (Singapore People 2000) population to "feed”.