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Raffles JC, RI looking into merger
Sandra Davie, Education Correspondent
Sat, Jan 05, 2008
The Straits Times

RAFFLES Junior College and premier boys' secondary school Raffles Institution are looking at merging.
If the plan goes ahead, the merged school will have 4,600 students from Secondary 1 to the A levels.

The two schools are already on adjacent campuses in Bishan, and almost all RI boys continue to RJC in an integrated programme that skips the O levels.

Raffles Girls' School (Secondary), the third Raffles school and part of the integrated programme, was invited to join the merger, but declined.

If the Education Ministry approves the idea, the change will happen next year.

The merged school will have a bigger enrolment than Hwa Chong Institution, which brought together The Chinese High School and Hwa Chong Junior College in 2005 and has just over 4,000 students.

Another top college considering change is Victoria JC. Its integrated programme already takes in students from Secondary 3; it is now looking at starting from Secondary 1.

The Raffles merger was proposed by the RJC and RI boards to implement a seamless six-year curriculum for the three schools, which are already closely intertwined.

Under their Raffles Programme, RI and RGS students go directly to RJC without sitting for the O levels.

RGS principal Julie Hoo told The Straits Times that her board, headed by Justice Judith Prakash, did not see how a merger would be advantageous in the long-term.

She said RGS had built up its identity as the premier girls' school here and risked losing a rich tradition of producing generations of women leaders.

She added that despite staying out, RGS will look at ways to collaborate more closely with the merged school.

RJC principal Lim Lai Cheng said the merger had been mooted as far back as 2004. Closer integration would allow the schools to go beyond preparing students for the A levels and redefine the quality of education they deliver, she said.

If the merger goes ahead, students who take up work or research stints will receive a Raffles Diploma that records achievements including academic papers written and SAT Test scores used for entry to American universities.

RJC board chairman Cham Tao Soon gave an assurance that even after merging, RJC would continue to take in students from non-Raffles schools.

Every year, about 25 per cent of places in the JC are set aside for students from other schools who join after the O levels.

Professor Cham also said that a steering committee comprising board members from RJC, RI and RGS will study all integration issues, and a final proposal will be sent to the Education Ministry.

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