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Singapore

 

8 secondary schools to merge into 4

Each will then have 'critical mass' of students, up-to-date facilities

Published on Jul 26, 2014 12:34 PM
 

Tanglin Secondary School celebrated its 50th birthday last month with a concert and dinner attended by old boys and girls.

That celebration, however, has turned out to be one of its last.

Earlier this week, students from Tanglin Secondary, and those in seven other schools with low enrolment, heard that their schools will be merged in 2016.

The Ministry of Education said yesterday that Tanglin Secondary will combine with Clementi Woods Secondary, and be based at the site of the former on West Coast Road.

First Toa Payoh Secondary will merge with Bartley Secondary and operate out of Bartley's campus; Ping Yi Secondary in Chai Chee will absorb Bedok Town Secondary; and Chestnut Drive Secondary will merge with Fajar Secondary.

Chestnut Drive will serve as a holding school from January 2016 to December 2017, while Fajar Secondary's school compound is upgraded. The merged schools will move to Fajar's campus in 2018.

The ministry said the mergers "ensure that each school will have a critical mass of students" and up-to-date facilities. The names of the merged schools are still being considered.

For some schools it will be a second merger. In 2011, Bedok Town absorbed Chai Chee Secondary while retaining its name. Clementi Woods is the result of a 2007 merger between Ghim Moh and Jin Tai secondary schools. It now stands on the old Jin Tai site.

Secondary 4 Clementi Woods student Amjad Mohamed Ali will not be affected by the merger, but said he will be sad to see the place go. "After we graduate, there will be no school to come back to," he said. "Some teachers might leave for other schools and it will be harder to meet them."

Schoolmate Kathiravan Ganesan, 16, agreed: "We will just have memories of the school left. But our principal told us that the building will not be demolished."

Ms Tracy Ng, 26, attended Tanglin from 2001 to 2004. At the time, it had about 1,500 students and 10 classes at each level. But the student population has dwindled and there are only four Secondary 1 classes now. "I will be very upset if the Tanglin name has to go," said Ms Ng, now an engineer.

The situation is similar at Clementi Woods - each level has between just three and five classes, and the whole school has a student population of about 500.

West Coast Road, where both Tanglin and Clementi Woods are located, is also the site of Kent Ridge Secondary. The three schools have roughly the same entry standard, with their aggregate scores for the Express stream hovering around 190.

Tanglin and Clementi Woods students told The Straits Times they had to merge due to a "small student population". The new school could get an indoor sports hall - which neither has now.

Lawyer Loke Siew Meng, 62, a member of Tanglin's alumni management and school advisory committees, attended Tanglin Integrated Secondary Technical School from 1965 to 1968. It was renamed Tanglin Technical Secondary School in 1969, and Tanglin Secondary School in 1993. "Of course I'm sad," said Mr Loke. "The school has a rich history. The Tanglin name should remain because it shows the history of our education system. Technical training, woodwork... they were a big part of that era."

leepearl@sph.com.sg

Background story

School mergers

  • Tanglin Secondary will merge with Clementi Woods Secondary, and be based at the site of the former school on West Coast Road
  • First Toa Payoh Secondary will merge with Bartley Secondary and operate out of Bartley's campus
  • Ping Yi Secondary in Chai Chee will absorb Bedok Town Secondary
  • Chestnut Drive Secondary will merge with Fajar Secondary

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