There will be four fewer junior colleges (JC) in 2019, as eight JCs will be merged to address the significant continued fall in cohort sizes due to declining birth rates.
This is the first time that JCs are being merged, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said in a statement on Thursday (April 20).
The JCs to be merged are:
- Anderson JC and Serangoon JC, to be located at the site of Anderson JC.
- Yishun JC and Innova JC, to be located at the site of Yishun JC.
- Meridian JC and Tampines JC, to be located at the site of Meridian JC.
- Pioneer JC and Jurong JC, to be located at the site of Pioneer JC.
Explaining its rationale for the mergers, MOE said the move was necessary to maintain the quality of a JC education.
"Falling birth rates will soon affect our JCs. Lower enrolment will make it challenging for a JC to offer a wide suite of subject combinations and co-curricular programmes," the ministry said. It added that all eligible students will still be assured of a place in JCs.
Meanwhile, seven pairs of primary schools and three pairs of secondary schools will also be merged in the biggest schools merging exercise in the past decade.
A new primary school, Fern Green Primary, will be opening in Sengkang in 2018 to meet the high demand for school places there.
According to MOE, factors such as enrolment size, geographical proximity, suitability of merger partners, and infrastructure capacity are taken into consideration when choosing the schools to merge. The overall geographical coverage of across Singapore is an additional consideration for the mergers of JCs.
"The sites for the merged schools are chosen based on accessibility to transport and quality of infrastructure," the ministry added.
MOE also assured that there would be no retrenchment of MOE staff, and that the history and heritage of both schools in a merger will be documented in a heritage space situated in the merged school building.
On Twitter, many netizens reacted to the news with surprise, with some also questioning the need to open a new JC (Eunoia JC) given that 8 others were merging.