Ask Sandra: JC mergers

The Straits Times received many questions regarding the junior college mergers announced on Thursday. Here are the answers.

Q: My daughter is in Serangoon JC, which will be merged with Anderson JC in 2019. She is in JC1 this year and will move on to JC2 next year. I am worried about disruptions that might affect her A-level preparations.

A: MOE has ensured there will be minimal disruptions. The four JCs that are slated to move - Serangoon, Innova, Jurong and Tampines - will not take in JC1 students next year. Their JC2 students will also take their A-level exams in the same school.

There may be some staff movements, but it is likely their JC1 teachers will move up with them to JC2. Some co-curricular and sports activities, though, may be jointly run with the JCs that they are merging with.

Q: With fewer JCs after the mergers, I am worried that my son will have a hard time getting into a JC of his choice.

A: Instead of 23 JCs, students graduating from secondary school next year will have a choice of 19. But all students who qualify for JC will be given a place.All JCs, including those offering the Integrated Programme, will also expand to cater to more students. For example, Anderson JC may take in 800 to 850 students, instead of the current 750.

One can expect that with bigger intakes, it may be easier to enter the more competitive JCs. Also, based on birth figures, it is likely that fewer O-level school leavers will be competing for JC places next year.

Tampines Junior College will be merging with Meridian Junior College at the latter’s site in 2019, one of four JCs slated to move then. Despite having only 19 JCs to choose from, all secondary school graduates who qualify for JC at the end of next year will be given a place. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Q: I am upset that my alma mater Innova JC will disappear, while Yishun which is much older will stay. How did MOE decide which JCs should move?

A: JCs picked for merger are the ones most likely to be affected by falling enrolments. There is also a need to ensure a good spread of JCs across the island, said MOE.

An MOE spokesman said while Yishun JC's building may be older, it is more conveniently located.

Innova, MOE said, is located too far north. The Yishun site may also be upgraded after the merger.

Q: Why did MOE start Eunoia JC this year if JC enrolments have been falling? Why could it not have offered the Integrated Programme that Eunoia offers in an existing JC?

A: The rationale for starting Eunoia JC was not to increase capacity, but to provide an Integrated Programme for students from Catholic High School, Singapore Chinese Girls' School and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School. MOE also said that starting an Integrated Programme school from scratch would be less challenging than integrating the programme into an existing JC.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2017, with the headline 'Ask Sandra: JC mergers'. Print Edition | Subscribe