School mergers

New farm, new chapter for Marsiling

A view of the greenhouse, which was set up with the help of the school's staff.
A view of the greenhouse, which was set up with the help of the school's staff.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Marsiling principal Mr Goh (centre) in the school's greenhouse with (from left) physics teacher Tan Hwee San; vice-principal (academic) Tay Kim Seng; vice-principal (academic) Fiona Koh; operations manager K. Kailyanasontrom; department head (normal techn
Marsiling principal Mr Goh (centre) in the school's greenhouse with (from left) physics teacher Tan Hwee San; vice-principal (academic) Tay Kim Seng; vice-principal (academic) Fiona Koh; operations manager K. Kailyanasontrom; department head (normal technical) Sharifah Afifah; and science teacher Kong Hui Ai.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Above: Students Noor Atiqah (left) and Noor Hadi, both 15, harvest vegetables in Marsiling Secondary's greenhouse, as teacher Kong Hui Ai supervises.
Above: Students Noor Atiqah (left) and Noor Hadi, both 15, harvest vegetables in Marsiling Secondary's greenhouse, as teacher Kong Hui Ai supervises.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Merged school's programmes emphasise environmental and outdoor education

Students at the newly merged Marsiling Secondary School can look forward to having lessons next year in a water-driven vertical farm that will grow vegetable crops.

The $26,000 farm, set up together with local innovator Sky Greens, will be used for lessons in science and national education - for instance, to teach students about land-scarce Singapore's efforts in ensuring food supply resilience.

Principal Goh Aik Choon said the school, which will have about 1,200 students from Marsiling Secondary and Si Ling Secondary, wanted to show them vertical farming in real life. The idea is also in line with its niche programme on environmental education, which Marsiling Secondary is known for.

The school won a President's Award for the Environment in 2012 in recognition of its efforts in managing its own environmental impact, including the use of light sensors, solar panels, waterless urinals and a rainwater harvesting system.

NEW IDENTITY

We are treating this merger as a chance to merge both schools' strengths and capabilities. It's evolving into a new identity, no longer purely Marsiling or Si Ling.

MR GOH AIK CHOON, principal of Marsiling Secondary School.

It will also adopt Si Ling's emphasis on sports and outdoor education, which includes adventure camps and expeditions.

Said Mr Goh: "We are treating this merger as a chance to merge both schools' strengths and capabilities. It's evolving into a new identity, no longer purely Marsiling or Si Ling."

In preparation for a new retail operations subject, the school has also converted a classroom into a minimart space for students to learn practical skills.Thirty-six Secondary 3 students will be taking the subject, which imparts hands-on knowledge in areas such as merchandise display and customer service.

"This is a new chapter for the school," he said, adding that its vision, mission and school uniform are still being finalised.

For now, the teachers and students have already got to know each other through team-building sessions that began in November.

Some students from the same co-curricular activities (CCA) in both schools also had joint training that started as early as June to prepare for major competitions early next year.

"There's no better way than mixing the students across both schools and different levels through their CCAs like dance, soccer, band," said Mr Goh.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2016, with the headline 'New farm, new chapter for Marsiling School mergers'. Print Edition | Subscribe