School mergers 2019: Teachers from merging schools will not be retrenched, says MOE

Serangoon Junior College is one of the 28 schools that will merge in 2019.
Serangoon Junior College is one of the 28 schools that will merge in 2019.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Staff, including teachers, from schools that will be merged in the biggest schools merger exercise in two decades will not be retrenched, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has assured.

Teachers from some affected schools said they were officially informed of the upcoming mergers on Thursday (Apr 19) morning. However, many had been hearing rumours about the mergers since late last year.

Affected teachers will be posted to the merged school - with its larger cohort of students - or redeployed to other schools or MOE headquarters.

MOE said it will identify suitable jobs for those who may require help finding their new posting.

Some teachers may also be asked other school levels. For example, they may be redeployed from a junior college to a secondary school.

The ministry said those who move across levels will be provided with bridging courses before their new postings. Such courses will equip them with the competencies and content knowledge to teach at the other levels.

These teachers will continue to be supported through regular networking sessions after they take on their new posts.

MOE has cut back on the hiring of teachers in the past few years.

Overall, the teaching force has stabilised at more than 33,000 trained education officers since 2013. An eight-year recruitment drive since 2004 has helped build up the teaching force significantly. At its peak in 2009, MOE recruited 3,000 teachers a year.

In  recent years, it has hired about 1,000 teachers a year.

Teachers from the affected schools told The Straits Times that they are not surprised by the news, given the rumours.

They are now worried about the changes in school environment and work culture.

Some who have been working in the affected schools for years said that they will have to leave what they have built up behind.

A teacher from one of the merging schools said he is proud to have played a part in shaping the history of the school. He declined to be named.

"It is a real pity. All the hard work and years spent building up the school culture will now go down the drain," he said. "The school community has grown to be like a family. It won't be the same working at another school."