SINGAPORE: The four pairs of junior colleges (JCs) to be merged in 2019 will have names that reflect their history and heritage, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Thursday (Jan 11).
They will be named Anderson Serangoon JC, Yishun Innova JC, Tampines Meridian JC and Jurong Pioneer JC, it announced in its press release.
MOE said the JCs will adopt a combination of the full names of both colleges, with the name of the older JC coming first. Other factors including stakeholders’ interests and the sentiments of all schools involved were also considered in arriving at the names.
“For the last four to five months, the JC principals had reached out to the various stakeholders in different ways, and one of the issues that was discussed and raised was the name,” said MOE’s Deputy Director-General of Education (Schools) Liew Wei Li.
She highlighted several options that came up in these discussions: To retain the names of one of the JCs, to have an entirely new name, or to combine the names. The combined name, she added, was chosen because there was no consensus among the stakeholders.
“A combined name would be useful in the JCs’ case because we feel that it would give them both a good standing to go forward as a combined entity to unite both their strengths.”
JC principals have also held engagement sessions with their College Advisory Committees, staff and alumni associations on the merger of the JCs, including exploring different naming possibilities, said MOE.
Education Minister for Schools Ng Chee Meng said there are understandably diverse views in choosing a name.
"Names can mean a lot to each of us," he wrote in a Facebook post. "It is difficult to get consensus. For each pair we took into consideration the schools' history and heritage, stakeholders' interests and the sentiments of the schools involved.
"We might not be able to satisfy everybody, but from all your feedback, we know that you care for our schools and students," he added.
The merger of the eight JCs was first announced by MOE in April 2017, citing Singapore’s fall in birth rates and a decline in JC enrollment since 2014. This is the first time JCs here are merging.
It is not the first time combined names have been used in school mergers. For example, Loyang Secondary and Greenview Secondary, which merged this year, took on the name Loyang View Secondary. A combined English-Chinese name was also used in the case of the merger between Yio Chu Kang Secondary and Chong Boon Secondary, where the merged school is known in English as Yio Chu Kang Secondary, but in Chinese as Chong Boon Secondary.
“We’ve explored different options before,” said Ms Liew. “But for younger students, we have to bear in mind that longer names can be unmanageable for them.
“So we have to take such things into consideration when combining names.”
PRINCIPALS APPOINTED FOR MERGED SCHOOLS
Principal-designates have also been selected from the merging JCs, said MOE, adding that this is to provide better support and stability during the transition. They are:
- Current Serangoon JC principal Manogaran Suppiah will be the principal of Anderson Serangoon JC;
- Current Innova JC principal Michael Nelson De Silva will be the principal of Yishun Innova JC;
- Current Tampines JC principal Yoong Nyok Ke Pamela will be the principal of Tampines Meridian JC;
- Current Jurong JC principal Hang Kim Hoo will be the principal of Jurong Pioneer JC.
They will begin their appointment as principal-designates from Thursday, and will become the principal of the merged JC in 2019.
MOE also told Channel NewsAsia that it is looking into the redeployment plans for the other four incumbent principals of the merging JCs. In the interim, they will work with the principal-designates to coordinate and plan the merger of the JCs.
About 260 teachers from the affected JCs will be redeployed in 2018 and 2019, it added. The majority of them have been redeployed to other schools in January, while the rest have either joined MOE's headquarters or are still with the merging JCs.
“Those who are with the merging JCs will be redeployed in 2019, and MOE will be providing the necessary training and support to facilitate their redeployment,” the ministry said.
SCHOOLS TO DECIDE ON ISSUES LIKE UNIFORM, SCHOOL BADGE AND MOTTO
Ms Liew added that it will be up to the schools to decide on elements like the new JC’s uniform and school badge over the course of 2018.
“All these elements are very important symbols to the school, and they form their identity,” she said. “So we want to leave it to the merged JCs to make these decisions.”
Even before 2019, the JCs have already begun working together on such issues.
In the case of Jurong Pioneer JC, both colleges collaborated on the design for the interim uniform for 2018, which incorporated the emblems from both colleges. A heritage wall was also set up in Pioneer JC’s premises to display key college artefacts and memorabilia of both colleges.
As for Anderson Serangoon JC, staff and students from both schools came together from August 2017 to develop the concept and work out the programme details of their joint open house to be held this year. A Staff Learning Day was also organised before the start of the 2018 academic year, to encourage stronger ties between staff from both JCs.