ACS told by education ministry: To move to Tengah, it has to take in girls

ACS Primary remaining single-sex would have constrained options for families in Tengah, said Chan Chun Sing

Anglo-Chinese School at Barker Road.
Anglo-Chinese School at Barker Road. (FILE PHOTO: Facebook)

SINGAPORE — Anglo-Chinese School's (ACS) plan to move one of its primary schools to the Tengah heartlands was based on the premise that the school cannot remain boys-only.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing explained his ministry's position in Parliament on Tuesday (28 February), saying that ACS Primary remaining a single-sex school would have constrained options for families in Tengah, when it relocates there from Barker Road in 2030.

He added that, should ACS Primary not be a co-ed school, the scenario would mathematically result in an imbalance between boys and girls in the other schools in the area.

"MOE (Ministry of Education) was glad that the ACS Board was open to this request," he said.

The minister was responding to parliamentary questions by Yio Chu Kang MP Yip Hon Weng and Aljunied GRC MP Gerald Giam, on how MOE decides which schools to relocate, and if it has plans to convert more single-sex schools to co-ed ones.

Customised approach for each relocation case

Chan said MOE takes a customised approach for each relocation case, and the ministry does not plan to proactively convert existing single-sex schools to co-ed ones. It will nonetheless discuss with key decision-makers in each school, and provide support to facilitate such transition.

“MOE does not have a preference between single sex or co-ed schools. Many of these schools have a history, and that’s why they are where they are now," he said.

In ACS' case, Chan said its board of governors approached the ministry with the idea of moving one of their two primary schools to the heartlands, on the premise of serving a different community and injecting more diversity into their student profile.

MOE offered ACS a site in Tengah, but explained that the school cannot stay single-sex if it moves to the new campus.

“Since the announcement has been made, ground feedback has generally been positive, particularly for the people staying in the West to have added options of the new schools,” Chan said.

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