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Facelift for JCs with older campuses in the coming years

In the first phase, Yishun Innova JC will be upgraded and three JCs - Anderson Serangoon JC, Jurong Pioneer JC and Temasek JC - will be rebuilt.
In the first phase, Yishun Innova JC will be upgraded and three JCs - Anderson Serangoon JC, Jurong Pioneer JC and Temasek JC - will be rebuilt.ST FILE PHOTO

Junior colleges (JCs) with older campuses, including some of those which merged recently, will be getting a facelift in a few years' time, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said yesterday.

Announcing that the Ministry of Education (MOE) will improve the infrastructure of JCs by upgrading or rebuilding their facilities, starting from 2022, he said: "A few of the merged JCs were among the oldest government JCs, with campuses that have become somewhat outdated.

"We have been progressively improving the building infrastructure of our Institute of Technical Education and polytechnics. Our old JCs deserve new campuses too."

He added that the rejuvenation exercise will consider factors like the age of the buildings, the state of existing facilities and the availability of suitable holding sites while works are being carried out.

"We also considered whether MOE would need time to engage stakeholders for the co-funding arrangements in the case of government-aided JCs," he said.

In response to Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC) and Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok), who had asked about improvements to JC infrastructure, Mr Ong said: "The new premises will support the evolution of JC education, where lessons are now a lot more interactive and learning is more holistic. So, instead of just the classrooms we have today, we will have seminar rooms which are modular and flexible, to support more interactive pedagogies."

He said the campuses will also make use of digital technology and have facilities that encourage sports and co-curricular activities such as indoor sports halls, which can be opened to the community as well.

The majority of JCs were built or had been upgraded before 2002, and a number of their premises are more than 30 years old.

Mr Ong said that in the first phase, three JCs - Anderson Serangoon JC, Jurong Pioneer JC and Temasek JC - will be rebuilt, while Yishun Innova JC will be upgraded. This phase is expected to be completed by 2025.

In Bedok, Temasek JC, which is 43 years old and has the oldest campus among the government JCs, will move to the former Tampines JC site while its current campus is rebuilt.

Elsewhere, Jurong Pioneer JC will be rebuilt at the site of the former Jurong JC site, which is 35 years old.

Further north, Anderson Serangoon JC will move to the former Serangoon JC site while its current campus in Ang Mo Kio is rebuilt. Prior to the schools' merger, Anderson JC was 36 years old, and Serangoon JC was 31 years old.

Mr Ong said that the MOE is also planning for the second and third phases of JC rejuvenation, which will involve upgrading Tampines Meridian JC and Victoria JC, as well as the older government-aided JCs.

Amelia Teng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2019, with the headline 'Facelift for JCs with older campuses in the coming years'. Print Edition | Subscribe