Come 2019, eight junior colleges (JCs), six secondary schools and 14 primary schools will be merged in pairs, in the wake of falling birth rates over the past two decades and the corresponding lower enrolment numbers.
This is the first time that junior colleges have been merged, said a press statement from the Ministry of Education (MOE).
The JCs to be paired off are Anderson and Serangoon; Innova and Yishun; Meridian and Tampines; Jurong and Pioneer. To minimise the need for students to physically relocate, four of these JCs will not have a new intake in 2018.
“Sufficient critical mass is needed for a school to offer a good range of educational programmes and co-curricular activities for its students,” said an MOE spokesman.
“Falling birth rates will soon affect our JCs. Lower enrollment will make it challenging for a JC to offer a wide suite of subject combinations and co-curricular programmes.
MOE noted that the consolidation of schools is not a recent move – primary and secondary schools have been merged on several occasions in the past.
The schools to be merged in 2019 (see table below) were chosen based on factors such as enrollment size, geographical proximity, suitability as merger partners and infrastructure capacity.
The sites for the merged schools were selected based on accessibility to transport and quality of infrastructure; for JCs, the geographical spread of the schools across Singapore was an additional consideration.
“As with all previous mergers, there will be no retrenchment of MOE staff. A vibrant and fulfilling educational environment for our students will always be our top priority,” said spokesman.
Yahoo Singapore understands that the affected staff will either be posted to a merged school, or redeployed to other schools or MOE’s headquarters.
Some teachers may be deployed to teach at other school levels such as secondary or primary schools. Those who move across levels will be sent on bridging courses to equip them with the necessary pedagogical skills and content knowledge.
A teacher from one of the affected JCs in the east told Yahoo Singapore: “My colleagues and I are anxious about our jobs. I personally don’t want to go back to teaching at a primary or secondary school.”
Separately, a new primary school in Sengkang called Fern Green Primary will open in 2018, to meet the high demand for school places in Sengkang.