Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that it has merged some primary and secondary schools and built new primary schools in new estates.
It noted that the fall in live births in Singapore over the past two decades has led to a corresponding decline in overall demand for school places at the national level.
The ministry said that the geographical distribution of the school-going population has also shifted over the years. While there is a higher demand for school places in newer housing estates, the demand in more mature estates has fallen. MOE said that from 2015 to 2017, they merged three pairs of primary schools and 11 pairs of secondary schools. They had also in March 2016 announced that four pairs of secondary schools will be merged in 2018. In 2016, three new primary schools were opened in Punggol.
Sufficient critical mass is needed for a school to offer a good range of educational programmes and co-curricular activities (CCAs) for its students. A school with low enrolment will find it challenging to offer such a range, and this would impact its students’ learning experiences.
MOE said that sufficient critical mass is needed for a school to offer a good range of educational programmes and co-curricular activities (CCAs) for its students. A school with low
“A school with low enrollment will find it challenging to offer such a range, and this would impact its students’ learning experiences,” it said.
MOE also said that falling birth rates will soon affect JCs, in which lower enrollment will make it challenging for a JC to offer a wide suite of subject combinations and co-curricular programmes.
The ministry stressed that the merging is to ensure that schools have an adequate number of students for a meaningful educational experience.
“To address the significant continued fall in cohort sizes, more schools will need to be merged over the next two years. MOE will also merge JCs for the first time to maintain the quality of a JC education. All eligible students are assured of a place in JCs,” it said.
According to MOE, the changes are as follows:
- Open one new Primary School in Sengkang in 2018.
- Merge seven pairs of Primary Schools in 2019.
- Merge three pairs of Secondary Schools in 2019.
- Merge four pairs of Junior Colleges (JCs) in 2019. MOE will merge four pairs out of 23 schools that offer a JC programme.
MOE also mentioned that identifying pairs of schools to be merged is to be based on careful considerations such as enrollment size, geographical proximity, suitability of merger partners and infrastructure capacity.
“The sites for the merged schools are chosen based on accessibility to transport and quality of infrastructure. For JCs, the overall geographical coverage across Singapore is an additional consideration,” it noted.
MOE stated that it will work together with the affected schools to ensure a smooth transition to the merged school for staff and students, and in the process, forge a strong identity for the merged school.
“The history and heritage of both schools will be documented in a heritage space in the merged school building. As with all previous mergers, there will be no retrenchment of MOE staff,” it stressed.
At the same time, to meet the high demand for school places in Sengkang, MOE said that a new primary school – Fern Green Primary – will begin operations and admit its first primary one cohort in 2018.
In deciding on merging or opening schools, MOE said that its key consideration is to be responsive to changing demographics and community needs, whilst providing an optimal student experience at all times. A vibrant and fulfilling educational environment for our students will always be our top priority.
“A vibrant and fulfilling educational environment for our students will always be our top priority,” the ministry added.