There was much talk over the merger of the 8 JCs these few days. MOE was criticized by the alumni for its lack of engagement and many knew about the merger only after the cold and clinical announcement. Even Calvin Cheng who normally sides with the authority stepped in to criticize MOE for coming up with lame excuse such as the JCs were merged because of geographical reasons. If that was true, then why don’t MOE merge HCI and NJC which are opposite each other.
The pink elephant in the room which has yet to be addressed by MOE is: Was MOE being elitist by choosing to merge the bottom few JCs (excluding AJC) and not the top few JCs? Most probably with the aim of calming the storm, Minister of Education Ng Chee Meng posted on FB a long post on how difficult it is for MOE to decide to merge these schools but MOE “will go through this journey together” with those affected. Serious not, the tone? No one has died leh and this emotion doesn’t seem to match MOE’s tardiness?
Everyone knows why only those few JCs were chosen to be merged. It’s not so much about their academic rankings. Look, CJC and SAJC which weren’t top 5 were not merged. It’s because these JCs all have a strong school board which is separated from MOE.
To be fair to MOE, they seem to be stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. I don’t think JCs are merged due to the whim and fancy of a few civil servants. It is after much consideration that they want to do so, knowing well that they will definitely be “bashed” by the public. Falling cohort intake is a fact and it makes no sense if schools are too small.
MOE knows that convincing JCs with powerful school boards to merge will take a lot of time, create much ruckus but still end up not achieving their aim. So, they target the weaker JCs.
Was it done to benefit any individual? Definitely not.
Will it benefit the future batches of students? Most likely so, and that’s why we never hear any complaints from the sec sch kids parents whose children are preparing to go JCs.
But was the anger of the alumni of the merged JCs justified? Of course.
These JCs were picked because they are weak. So, shame on MOE for choosing the easier route although the aim of merger was good. And what will be an even sadder sight? These eight JCs fighting it out among themselves to get their names retained.
Finally, SALUTE to the alumni of the JCs to be merged. Future generations of students of these merged JCs should be taught the heritage and values of the defunct JCs, for it was because of their closure that they could have a better education. Former President of the SRJC Alumni Association Tan Aik Fong illustrated so beautifully how he would rather SRJC to be closed than to be merged.
It is precisely because of how far we have come this 30 years in Singapore’s history, that SRJC needs to be recognised as having accomplished and completed the mission tasked to her. As one of the many pillars involved in nation building, SRJC must be accorded with the dignity to draw her story to a close. We should be allowed to exit Singapore’s history on our own terms and not be dragged into the controversy of the merger proposed…
AJC cannot be denied their heritage by merging with us. AJC is four years older than SRJC and has four more years of heritage. By stating this, I do not mean to say that SRJC’s heritage is worth much less than that of AJC’s. As much as I wish to hold on to SRJC’s unique identity and heritage, I would rather that at least one of us maintains the opportunity to retain her heritage than to undergo an overhaul in identity. This diluting through renaming and reorganising, coupled with the efforts needed to recreate an identity does nothing to help students and only serves to further alienate all the parties involved, whether teachers or students past, present and future.
And I can’t help but think of Nantah during this episode….