School mergers 2019: 7 things to know

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Jurong, Tampines, Serangoon and Innova. Come 2019, these junior colleges will be no more as they will merge with four other JCs located nearby.
Serangoon JC is one of the 28 schools that will merge in 2019. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Thursday (April 20) that 28 schools will be merged in 2019, in the latest response to the shrinking number of students.

For the first time, junior colleges will be affected.

Here is what you need to know about the mergers:

1. Why merge?

Falling birth rates. From 50,000 in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the number of children being born has dropped to 37,000.

This means falling enrollment in schools, with the impact first felt in primary schools, then secondary and now at junior college level. As housing estates mature, there will also be a drop in demand for Primary 1 places.

Falling enrolment means less popular schools will lack the critical mass needed to provide a wider variety of programmes and co-curricular activities..

2. How were the schools selected?

Location and enrolment were the decisive factors for primary and secondary schools.

JCs were paired based on location, to ensure a spread of JCs across the island .

3. When will the mergers happen?

The mergers will take place in 2019. To minimise the need for students to relocate, Serangoon, Innova, Tampines and Jurong junior colleges will not take in new students next year.

4. Will there be enough JC places from next year?

MOE has given the assurance that all students who qualify for JC will have a place.

5. What will the merged schools be named?

This will be announced at a later date.

6. How will the history of the schools set to move be preserved?

There will be a heritage space in the merged school.

7. What about teachers?

There will be no retrenchment. Instead they will either go to the merged school, or be redeployed to other schools or to MOE headquarters.

Some may end up teaching at a different level, such as moving from a JC to a secondary school.

MOE will ensure that these teachers get the training needed to make the switch.

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