7 schools to not take any Sec 1 students in 2016

MOE announced in their media release that 7 schools will not have any Secondary 1 students next year, and mentions the possibility of schools merging.

Due to falling cohort sizes, 7 Secondary schools were not posted any Secondary 1 students.

ChannelNewsAsia reported on the news released by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a media statement on the 23rd December.

The 7 school who will not receive any Secondary 1 students are:

  • Balestier Hill Secondary School
  • Henderson Secondary School
  • MacPherson Secondary School
  • North View Secondary School
  • Pioneer Secondary School
  • Siglap Secondary School
  • Si Ling Secondary School

MOE attributes this move to falling cohort sizes. The schools listed were reported to have insufficient demand in their area to open classes.

Besides falling cohort sizes, other factors include the location and perception of the schools, leading them to be chosen.

Ms Denise Phua, Chairperson of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Education states that "The reasons could be that the schools are located at probably an ageing estate, it could be due to the perception of the school and so on."

She added that there may be minor complications - "In the short term, I think there are inconveniences that arise because some students might have applied to certain schools due to certain reasons, such as proximity or the fact that they like the culture of the school, so I do think the ministry will have to look at it, study it carefully before they make the next move."

Additional measures include the possibility of MOE to merge schools

With the aim of providing a wide range of educational programmes and co-curricular activities (CCA) for their students , MOE is considering merging a number of schools with a low enrolment rate with other schools. More details will be released in early 2016.

Such a move was done before in the past to optimise resource utilisation and allow students to get access to up-to-date facilities.

Ms Phua reaffirms that, "It is quite important to not just look at numbers, we need to look at school culture, we need to look at the impact on the neighbourhood, we need to look at the impact on the school leaders and the teachers themselves and how they fit into the educational landscape of the future,"

Deputy Chair of the GPC for Education Intan Azura believes that there would be no major issues when schools merge, other than nostalgia in "losing" a school name. She states that schools are given ample time to prepare for a merger, as they are planned ahead.

Addressing the concern that merging schools reduces the amount of education institutes in Singapore, she explains that "Some may think there will be fewer secondary schools available but there are more specialised schools now available for students: SOTA (School of the Arts), SST (School of Science and Technology, Singapore), Singapore Sports School, Crest, Spectra, Northlight,"

"This is in line with MOE's quest to provide more education pathways and choices for students."

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