MOE confirms Mount Sinai as holding site for new JC, after reviewing other options

The Ministry of Education has confirmed that the holding site of the new junior college will remain at Mount Sinai, which once housed the former Raffles Junior College. Its new campus located at the junction of Sin Ming Avenue and Marymount Road
The Ministry of Education has confirmed that the holding site of the new junior college will remain at Mount Sinai, which once housed the former Raffles Junior College. Its new campus located at the junction of Sin Ming Avenue and Marymount Road (above) will only be ready at end-2019. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Education (MOE) confirmed on Friday that the holding site for the new junior college (JC) will remain at Mount Sinai, after it reassessed other options based on feedback from parents.

This is because the Mount Sinai site, where the former Raffles JC used to be, has the space and facilities to complement a JC-level education, which other holding sites lack, the ministry said.

The new JC will start in 2017 and enrol mainly Integrated Programme students from Catholic High School (CHS) in Bishan, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School in Ang Mo Kio and the Singapore Chinese Girls' School (SCGS) in Bukit Timah.

The plan is for them to study at an interim site until the campus at the junction of Sin Ming Avenue and Marymount Road is ready at end-2019. The original choice of an interim school site in Bishan became unavailable and a new site had to be picked.

Affected parents and students were informed of the decision on Friday evening, in a letter signed by director of finance and development division Wong Kang Jet, and director of school planning and placement division Lim Huay Chih.

In the four-page letter, MOE said some parents had suggested the former Institute of Technical Education (ITE) campus at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 as a possible holding site at a dialogue session last Monday, as it is nearer to their children's current schools.

"Hence, during the Q&A session, despite our assessment that Mount Sinai site is the best possible holding site for the new JC, we agreed, at the request of these parents, to re-examine the feasibility of available sites nearer to the original holding site, with a specific focus on the former ITE AMK (Ang Mo Kio) site," the ministry wrote.

The ministry added that it had "studied in greater detail" how it could enhance the Ang Mo Kio site. It also considered aspects of the JC programme that had to be scaled down, as the Ang Mo Kio site is smaller than the Mount Sinai one.

"Our assessment continues to be that the former ITE AMK (Ang Mo Kio) site is not as suitable for the new JC as compared to the Mount Sinai site, as it will not be able to support the programmes and provide all the students with sufficient facilities for a positive JC learning experience," it said.

The ministry had decided on Mount Sinai as the interim site for the JC after the original plan of having the temporary campus at the former ITE Bishan campus at Bishan Street 14 fell through.

The change in the interim location had upset some parents, who felt Mount Sinai was too far, and their children would spend too much time travelling.

The permanent campus will be ready by end-2019, a delay from its original timeline of mid-2018, due to the construction of the Cross-Island Line.