Merger of JCs can lead to ‘best of both worlds’

A pull-up challenge at a booth set up by the Singapore Artillery during Yishun JC’s annual Celebrating Values Day. Yishun and Innova JCs, which will be merged, are committed to authentically and meaningfully preserving the heritage of both colleges.
A pull-up challenge at a booth set up by the Singapore Artillery during Yishun JC’s annual Celebrating Values Day. Yishun and Innova JCs, which will be merged, are committed to authentically and meaningfully preserving the heritage of both colleges.ST FILE PHOTO

Subjects, programmes, CCAs unique to one will be available to all in merged JC: Principals

When two junior colleges become one, their merger can lead to the best of both worlds, prinicipals say.

For a start, students will have a wider range of academic subjects to choose from, say Jurong JC (JJC) principal Hang Kim Hoo and Pioneer JC's Mrs Tan-Kek Lee Yong.

The two schools - JJC in Jurong, and Pioneer in Choa Chu Kang - will be merged come 2019, along with three other pairs of JCs, as a result of falling enrolments.

JJC offers China studies in Chinese, while Pioneer offers it in English. Students at the new merged JC could choose from both subjects, on top of computing, art and further mathematics.

These are subjects that are now offered at only one of the two schools, but will be available to all students of the merged JC.

Such academic opportunities extend beyond curricular subjects and include enrichment programmes as well.

For instance, Pioneer's partnerships with institutions abroad - such as Fudan University and Zhejiang University in China - will continue. The school's existing Engaging China Programme, held in English, gives its students the chance to learn about China's culture and economy.

The two schools will also expand Co-curricular Activities (CCA) options, so students can choose from activities that are now offered only at one of the two, such as Chinese orchestra or floorball.

Meanwhile, Innova and Yishun JCs, which will be merged, may field joint teams in inter-school sports events and the Singapore Youth Festival.

Student leaders will work across their respective schools to plan orientation activities together.

JJC and Pioneer have also made plans to jointly reach out to secondary schools when it comes to recruiting new students.

The other two pairs of JCs to be combined are Tampines and Meridian JCs in the east and Anderson and Serangoon JCs in the north.

While some alumni of the schools are sad that their alma mater may soon be a thing of history, principals say the histories of the merged schools will not be forgotten.

In a joint statement, Innova JC's principal, Mr Michael de Silva, and Yishun JC's Mrs Edelweis Neo said: "To authentically and meaningfully preserve the heritage of both colleges, we are both committed to taking the time to hear about the experiences that alumni and staff treasure and consider the best ways to showcase them."

A heritage wall will be ready at Pioneer by the end of this year, while Innova and Yishun JCs are mulling over what memorabilia to feature - such as uniforms, badges or flags - in physical, as well as digital, spaces.

With many students cherishing regular events, such as their schools' respective College Days, Mr de Silva and Mrs Neo said that programmes already planned for the year will continue as usual.

All four principals emphasised that the students finishing their studies next year - the final cohort for each school - will be supported "without compromise", in the words of Dr Hang and Mrs Tan-Kek.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2017, with the headline 'Merger of JCs can lead to ‘best of both worlds’'. Print Edition | Subscribe