FOR the first time in its 185-year history, a woman will head Singapore's premier boys' school.
Mrs Lim Lai Cheng, 44 (right),whowasappointed principal of Raffles Junior College last December, will become principal of the newly-merged Raffles Institution (RI).
Another momentous change: Raffles Junior College (RJC) will merge with RI from January.
The new entity will be known as RI and will be the biggest school in Singapore with 4,600 students.
RI's current principal, Mr Bob Koh, 43, will move to a senior post at the Ministry of Education.
|WHAT HAPPENS TO RGS?
|WHILE Raffles Girls' School will remain a separate school, it will continue to work with the merged RI to strengthen the Integrated Programme currently offered by all three schools.
In the programme, RGS students join RI for the A levels.
The three Raffles schools have been running an integrated programme since 2004. It sees students progressing from Sec 1 to JC2, skipping the O levels and taking the A levels at the end of six years.
Leadership ability important
Mrs Lim, a former Raffles Girls' School (RGS) student, said of the breakthrough: "I don't see that it's important to be a man or a woman. It's the ability to lead an institution that matters. I am open to all challenges.
"With me, I have six deputy principals. One of them, Mr S Magendiran, is a familiar and important figure in the school, who the boys can relate to."
She intends to have more dialogue sessions with the school's secondary students to better understand their needs.
Another area which will have her personal interest: Sports.
Mrs Lim said that when she joined the Raffles family she immediately realised that sports was an essential part of the school's identity.
She has attended all the schools' sports finals since she joined last year.
Old Rafflesians' Association president Cheng Soon Keong said: "She was at a recent rugby match in a rugby jersey cheering the boys on. She is a great leader and very capable of bringing the institution forward."
This article was first published in The New Paper on Oct 14, 2008.