Merged JCs to bear original names of both schools: MOE

Tampines Junior College will merge with Meridian JC to form Tampines Meridian JC next year. Each JC's history will be documented and preserved at a heritage space in the merged JC's building.
Tampines Junior College will merge with Meridian JC to form Tampines Meridian JC next year. Each JC's history will be documented and preserved at a heritage space in the merged JC's building.ST PHOTO: BENJAMIN SEETOR
Ms Pamela Yoong will head Tampines Meridian JC.
Ms Pamela Yoong will head Tampines Meridian JC.

Retaining names lets schools unite their strengths; staff, alumni satisfied with move

The niggling issue of new names for eight junior colleges merging next year has been settled.

The four merged schools will take on the colleges' original names, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced yesterday.

For each pair, the name of the older JC will come first to reflect its longer history and heritage, it said.

Anderson JC and Serangoon JC will be known as Anderson Serangoon JC, and Innova JC and Yishun JC will become Yishun Innova JC. Meridian JC and Tampines JC will be Tampines Meridian JC and Jurong JC and Pioneer JC will be called Jurong Pioneer JC.

The issue surfaced when the alumni of some JCs were disappointed to learn that their alma mater would be merged with another school and could lose their name in the process.

Four of the current JC principals will continue as principal-designates of the merged JCs, starting yesterday. The other four will be redeployed to MOE headquarters or to other schools by next year.

MOE said that out of some 1,000 teachers from the eight JCs, about 260 have been or will be redeployed to other primary and secondary schools, JCs or to its headquarters this year and next year.

  • 260

    Number of teachers, out of some 1,000 from the eight JCs, who have been or will be redeployed to other schools or MOE headquarters.

    12,800

    Junior college intake next year, down by about a fifth from 2010.

This is the first time JCs have to be merged.

The MOE, when announcing the move in April last year, had said it was due to Singapore's declining birth rate. JC intake is expected to drop by a fifth, from 16,000 in 2010 to 12,800 next year. With the mergers, there will be 19 JCs next year.

Ms Liew Wei Li, MOE's deputy director-general of education (schools), said that in arriving at the final names, the ministry considered factors such as the schools' history and heritage.

In the past year, the JC principals discussed the naming issue with alumni associations, students, past and present staff and school advisory committees.

Ms Liew said MOE had considered other options such as keeping only one JC's name or coming up with a new name, but decided on retaining both colleges' names.

 
 
 
  • ABOUT THE MERGERS

  • ANDERSON SERANGOON JC

    Principal-designate: Mr Manogaran Suppiah, current principal of Serangoon JC

    Site of school: Anderson JC

    History: Anderson JC was founded in 1984 and Serangoon JC, in 1988

    YISHUN INNOVA JC

    Principal-designate: Mr Michael Nelson de Silva, current principal of Innova JC

    Site of school: Yishun JC

    History: Yishun JC was founded in 1986, and Innova JC, in 2005

    TAMPINES MERIDIAN JC

    Principal-designate: Ms Pamela Yoong Nyok Ke, current principal of Tampines JC

    Site of school: Meridian JC

    History: Tampines JC was founded in 1986 and Meridian JC, in 2003

    JURONG PIONEER JC

    Principal-designate: Dr Hang Kim Hoo, current principal of Jurong JC

    Site of school: Pioneer JC

    History: Jurong JC was founded in 1981 and Pioneer JC, in 2000

She added: "As the eight merging JCs form a substantial portion of our JC landscape, we believe that retaining the names of both colleges will allow the merging JCs to unite their strengths and move forward as a combined entity to forge a new journey together."

The history of each JC will be documented and preserved at a heritage space in the merged JC's building.

Principals, staff and alumni said they were satisfied with the new names of the merging JCs as they reflected "the best of both worlds".

Madam Rosemah Rashid, subject head of Malay language and Tamil language at Tampines JC, said: "It's good to have both names as both colleges have heritage. Alumni from both sides will not be alienated and will come back to contribute as the names are still familiar to them."

Ms Pamela Yoong, Tampines JC's principal, said: "It doesn't make sense to... insist on keeping one name and it's difficult to find a good brand new name."

Similarly, Mr Tung Siew Hoong, 54, who is from the pioneer batch of Jurong JC, said the new name is "good news". "JJC has more than 20,000 alumni, so it would be a shame if the name was lost," said the manager from Singapore wealth fund GIC.

Dr Jeremy Lim, chairman of Meridian JC's school advisory committee, said keeping both names is an "understandable decision".

He added: "Moving forward, we would have to figure out the operational issues, such as how to make the long name work, what would students from the school be known as. But after all the brouhaha of the name change has settled, the work of building on the best of both schools has to continue."

This is not the first time that schools' names have been combined in mergers. For instance, Loyang View Secondary School, which merged at the start of this year, is a combination of Greenview Secondary and Loyang Secondary.

An MOE spokesman said it adopts different naming approaches "to suit the unique considerations of each pair of merging schools".

She said: "For primary and secondary schools, MOE takes into consideration the age profile of its students as younger children may find longer names less manageable."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2018, with the headline 'Merged JCs to bear original names of both schools: MOE'. Print Edition | Subscribe