SINGAPORE: Fourteen primary schools and six secondary schools will merge in 2019, due to smaller cohort sizes and changing demographics across housing estates, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Thursday (Apr 20).
The changing demographics have resulted in an uneven distribution of students across primary and secondary schools, the ministry said at a briefing.
Demand for Primary 1 places in mature estates has fallen, resulting in surplus places and low enrolment in some schools. But at younger estates, new schools may need to be built to accommodate a higher demand for school places there, MOE said.
The primary schools being merged are:
- East View and Junyuan Primary, to be located on the site of Junyuan Primary.
- Balestier Hill and Bendemeer Primary, to be located on the site of Bendemeer Primary.
- Da Qiao and Jing Shan Primary, to be located on the site of Jing Shan Primary.
- Damai and East Coast Primary, to be located on the site of Damai Primary.
- Coral and White Sands Primary, to be located on the site of White Sands Primary.
- Casuarina and Loyang Primary, to be located on the site of Casuarina Primary.
- Cedar and MacPherson Primary, to be located on the site of Cedar Primary.
A new primary school in Sengkang, Fern Green Primary, will begin operations in 2018. MOE said this is to meet the high demand for school places in the estate.
The secondary schools to be merged are:
- Yuhua and Shuqun Secondary, to be located on the site of Yuhua Secondary.
- East Spring and East View Secondary, to be located on the site of East Spring Secondary.
- Hong Kah and Jurongville Secondary, to be located on the site of Jurongville Secondary.
For the first time, eight junior colleges will also be merged, making this is the largest school merging exercise in the past decade.
BENEFITS OF MERGING
In explaining the benefits of the merger for students, the Education Ministry noted that schools need a “critical mass” of students in order to run programmes that can meet students’ interests and needs.
In smaller schools, the range of educational programmes and co-curricular activities (CCAs) may be limited, it said. For example, Siglap Secondary was unable to continue with its Red Cross unit and badminton CCA.
With too few classes in a secondary school, the number of subject combinations at the upper secondary level may also be limited.
Students in merged schools will get a good spread of enrichment programmes, and the possibility of more subject combinations and CCA options, MOE said. For example, after Si Ling Secondary merged with Marsiling Secondary, students benefited from one new Learning for Life Programme in outdoor education, and one new Applied Learning Programme in environmental education. There were also two new CCAs.
The merging of schools is not new, the ministry added. Three pairs of primary schools were merged in 2015, four pairs of secondary schools last year, and 11 pairs of secondary schools will be merged this year and next year.