The rise of mid-tier JCs

Meridian Junior College: Emphasis on work and play draws students

After the mid-year exams every July, Meridian Junior College students get together to organise FunFestique, a day of games for them to unwind. They come up with their own games for the event and have organised unconventional ones, such as laser tag.
After the mid-year exams every July, Meridian Junior College students get together to organise FunFestique, a day of games for them to unwind. They come up with their own games for the event and have organised unconventional ones, such as laser tag.PHOTO: MERIDIAN JUNIOR COLLEGE

It is a young school which opened its doors in 2003, but Meridian Junior College (MJC) has since built for itself a reputation for producing students who work hard and play even harder.

The school in Pasir Ris calls it the Meridian Edge, which has seen it drawing better-performing students over the years. The school's entry requirement has improved by a respectable eight points, from 18 points in 2003 to 10 points this year.

MJC principal Lim Yan Hock said the school stands out with good records on both the academic and co-curricular activity (CCA) fronts.

 
 
 

On the academic front, teachers ensure that students are on track in their assignments and tutorials.

Mr Leon Chua, 20, who graduated from MJC in 2013, said: "They are open for consultation, and they even answered questions as late as 2am."

Mr Chua, who will be entering the National University of Singapore's (NUS) faculty of arts and social sciences in August, added: "There's a lot that the school can be proud of, beyond the academics.

"Even though we are a young school, those who have graduated still return and organise events such as career seminars and leadership camps."

Students said that the school also helps them in their studies by providing extra lessons and closely monitoring their progress. For instance, second-year student Zadzaan Hassan, 18, had bridging classes for chemistry in the first few weeks of school to prepare for the JC syllabus. "Getting into JC was a big jump, so I had to catch up on my studies," he said.

Besides helping students academically, MJC offers a good range of CCAs, along with unique programmes for them to unwind after their exams.

For instance, students get together after the mid-year exams every July to organise FunFestique, a day when they play games and compete against one another.

Students come up with their own games for the event and have organised unconventional ones, such as laser tag, within the school compound.

Mr Lim said FunFestique allows students to "let their hair down after the exams" and also creates meaningful experiences for them during their school days.

Some students were drawn to MJC for its CCAs. Ms Amanda Toh, who graduated from MJC in 2012, chose it because it had archery, a CCA not offered by many JCs.

The 21-year-old, who scored five points for her O levels, had considered appealing to National JC but decided not to as it was far from her Sengkang home. "Personally, I wanted to be exposed to a school environment with people of different backgrounds," she said.

"I didn't want to go into a very competitive and stressful school."

At MJC, Ms Toh had the chance to explore research work as part of a tie-up with local universities. She worked with a postgraduate student at NUS on a year-long research programme comparing the effects of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine.

"There is a strong emphasis on studying and playing hard," said Ms Toh, who is now in her third year at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. "The teachers were our mentors who ran alongside us in every way, even in CCAs."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2016, with the headline 'Emphasis on work and play draws students'. Print Edition | Subscribe