Yesterday, MOE announced that 4 pairs of JCs would be merging. The affected JCs are Anderson and Serangoon, Meridian and Tampines, Yishun and Innova, Pioneer and Jurong.
The rationale given by MOE? Falling birth rates, which means lower enrollment numbers in the foreseeable future.
MOE added that these JCs are selected due to the geographical proximity, and gave their assurance that the unique programmes offered by these JCs would still be offered in the newly merged institutes.
I am an old boy from one of the 8 JCs. And I am upset. Here’s why.
1. The lower birth rates and lower enrollment explanation isn’t satisfying
So, MOE tells us that they expect lower enrollments in the coming years, hence the need to merge JCs.
But wait, did you-know-ah, MOE just opened a new JC this year? And they also opened two other JCs since 2000:
- Meridian JC (est 2003)
- Innova JC (est 2005)
- Euonia JC (est 2017)
Eh hello, then you waste tax payers’ money to open so many JCs in the first place for what? Just increase the enrollment slightly in the other existing JCs to accommodate lah!
It does seem like the 8 affected JCs now paying the price for MOE’s poor planning and lack of foresight in the past decade.
There’s no point saying “it is a difficult decision”, “we’ve agonised over it”, “we have very little choice” lah. If you screwed up, just own up and apologise. Get off your high horse.
It would’t change the fact that the mergers will still go, but at least it might make the bitter pill a little less bitter to swallow.
2. Why only the neighborhood government JCs?
Geographical proximity? Oh come on, Why don’t you merger Hwa Chong and National JC? After all, they are located side by side along Bukit Timah.
In terms of geographical distance, Anderson JC is nearer to Raffles. And why not merge Anderson JC with Raffles, instead of Serangoon JC?
Oh sorry, I forgot. We can’t touch the elite, can we? Especially when our natural aristocrat – our ministers and top civil servants – come almost exclusively from these elite schools.
They know nothing about the feelings of those studying in peasant neighborhood schools. But our school culture and our experience aren’t any less valuable and memorable than theirs.
Alas, the elite will do what they will, and the peasants must suffer what they must.
And how come Minister of Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng hasn’t spoken yet? His silence on the issue is deafening. Oh wait, i forgot again. He is from Hwa Chong, ain’t it?
3. Will there be enough spaces for average performers and late bloomers?
The 8 JCs might not be the the best (in terms of entry cut off points), but these JCs gave my friends and I a chance at a JC education when no one else would. And many of us would go on and do well in university – faring better than many of those from so-called better JCs.
But with the merger from 8 to 4, will there still be enough space for the average performer or late bloomer who scores 18 points for his/her L1R5 at O Levels?
MOE had given their assurance that all students who qualify for JC will have a place. We shall see about it in the coming years.
That is all.