Interim site for new JC – parents demand, MOE backs down

Graphics: Straits Times
Graphics: Straits Times

In what is becoming a familiar occurrence, the government’s plans for new infrastructure developments have met with unhappiness.

The latest such incident is the decision to locate an interim site for a new junior college.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) had originally said the interim site would be located at the old Raffles Junior College campus in Mount Sinai.

Parents, however, said it was too far for their children.

The new JC, which will start in 2017, is supposed to cater to mostly Integrated Programme (IP) students from Catholic High School in Bishan, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School in Ang Mo Kio, and the Singapore Chinese Girls’ School in Bukit Timah.

The original plan was that a new JC would be built at the junction of Sin Ming Avenue and Marymount Road by 2018.

However, this had to be pushed back to 2019 because of “complications” in the building and design of the school because of the Cross Island MRT Line which will run underneath the school.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat had explained this to parents at a dialogue on 12 May.

“Are we better off starting the programme and running into certain delays in the infrastructure, or are we better off not starting in the first place?” he asked.

Parents, however, are still unhappy and raised a ruckus over the location of the interim site and demanded that the government considered sites nearer to Bishan.

The MOE had earlier rejected suggestions of alternative sites, including the site at ITE Ang Mo Kio which it said was too small, and that the one at Raffles Junior College had more adequate facilities for a junior college.

The MOE, however, has now backed down and said it will reconsider other sites, including ITE Ang Mo Kio.

So now, parents will have to wait and see if the interim site will be at the old Raffles Junior College at Mount Sinai, or at ITE Ang Mo Kio – or at a new interim location.

“Mount Sinai may be convenient for MOE but it is not convenient for many of us,” housewife Carol Goh told the press.

The furore comes on the back of other incidents where developmental plans by the government were met with resistance or unhappiness.

Just this year alone, residents and members of the public have expressed discontent with the planned location of a new residents committee centre at the void deck of The Peak in Toa Payoh, the plans for a new columbarium-cum-temple in Sengkang, the termination of the lease for the Jurong Country Club to make way for the new rail terminus, and the tearing down of Fernvale Point and the new plans for it.