RI principal Lim Lai Cheng stepping down

Likely replacement is VJC principal; MOE to issue new postings list soon

VJC principal Chan Poh Meng is likely to be her replacement at RI. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
VJC principal Chan Poh Meng is likely to be her replacement at RI. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
(Above) Mrs Lim is believed to be leaving MOE for another position. (Top, left) VJC principal Chan Poh Meng is likely to be her replacement at RI. PHOTOS: BT FILE, ST FILE

Raffles Institution's first woman principal, Mrs Lim Lai Cheng, is stepping down.

Sources close to the school said Mr Chan Poh Meng, the principal of Victoria Junior College, will take over when she leaves at the end of the year.

The confirmation will come when the Ministry of Education (MOE) reveals its latest list of school heads as part of an annual rotation exercise.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday that the list, which could be out as early as today, will see MOE send some of its most experienced principals to head schools in the heartland.

"This is yet another tangible way for us to make every school a good school," said Mr Heng, who was speaking at the Regent Singapore hotel during a graduation dinner for educators who had completed the Leaders in Education Programme.

Mrs Lim, who became the youngest junior college principal when she was chosen to head Temasek JC in 2002 aged 38, is believed to be leaving the ministry for another position.

The 49-year-old oversaw major changes during her six years at RI, including seeing the secondary school merge with Raffles Junior College in 2009 to make its six-year integrated programme (IP) seamless.

In 2011, RI also introduced the Raffles Diploma, a parallel certificate for students which records their achievements in areas like the arts, sports and leadership.

Mrs Lim, an old girl of Raffles Girls' Secondary, entered the education service in 1986 after completing an honours degree in English at Cambridge University on a Public Service Commission teaching scholarship. She first taught English literature and English language at National Junior College for three years before moving to various posts at other schools such as Deyi Secondary.

Her last appointment before heading RI was deputy director in charge of languages and literature at MOE's Curriculum Planning and Development Division.

Former RI student May Tay, 19, who was "surprised" that Mrs Lim was leaving, said the principal was always there for her students. "I remember before the A levels started last year, she sat the whole batch down for a talk. She even gave us her mobile number and told us that we could call her if there was anything urgent," she said. "I thought that was touching."

Mrs Lim's likely successor, Mr Chan, has been at his current position since 2006. Previously, he spent 16 years at Hwa Chong Junior College, where he was an English department head and then vice-principal, before becoming principal of Outram Secondary in 1998.



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