Alumnus of merging JCs sad to see their schools go

Alumnus of merging JCs sad to see their schools go
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Of the schools she attended, Serangoon Junior College (SRJC) alumnus Krisha Vishinpir, 24, feels the most connected to her junior college.

She was understandably saddened by yesterday's announcement that SRJC will be one of four JCs that will stop taking in students and merge with other JCs by 2019. SRJC will merge with Anderson JC.

Miss Vishinpir, who graduated from SRJC in 2012, said her time at the college left a deep impact.

"My JC days were one of my most formative years - that's where I grew up the most and forged fond memories of teachers who moulded me with work ethic, principles and values."

She said SRJC had built up a strong culture with unique events like WILL run, an annual 10km run by students to raise funds for charity.

The school also had thanksgiving concerts where teachers and staff performed songs and dances to motivate students ahead of their examinations.

"What will happen to all of these things in the merged school?" Miss Vishinpir wondered.

Read also: 8 JCs to merge in 2019 due to falling cohort sizes: MOE

Jurong JC alumnus Magdelene Mok, 21, is also sad her college is merging with Pioneer JC.

Since graduating in 2014, she has been returning to JJC each year to assist in the orgnaisation of orientation programmes.

"I teach them to manage big groups, give feedback on the games and programmes they've planed, and try to pass on traditions from past camps."

The ex-student councillor said her teacher-in-charge has now become a close friend.

"I keep going back because I know it's a place I can always go to and talk to teachers."

For alumni from newer schools such as Innova Junior College (IJC), which will be merged with Yishun JC, the merger will have an impact on its nascent identity.

A statement from the IJC Alumni said: "At 12 years old, the college is just on its way to forging an identity of its own, our pioneering graduates just beginning to build illustrious careers of their own. However, we accept that difficult as it may be, it is a timely and necessary decision to take in anticipation of further reductions in enrolment nationally."

The group added that it hoped IJC will not be forgotten.

NOT ALL BAD NEWS

But it is not all bad news for alumni from these JCs.

The Education Ministry's director of schools Liew Wei Li said some of the co-curricular activities close to students' hearts will continue in the merged schools.

"In fact, some of the school principals were telling us they are probably going to get their JC2 students of both JCs to come together to organise the orientation programme so that they can really transmit some of the special cheers, their special history, their icons that are precious to them, so that they will be able to continue having that merged identity."

Mr Peh Yu Zheng, 27, a 2007 JJC graduate, said the merger allows schools to share resources and have a more generous budget to invest in student programmes.

National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser said that although the merger is practical, there are trade-offs.

"Schools or JCs are also communities with their identities, heritage and traditions, and members of such communities do feel a sense of belonging and attachment," he said.

"'Right-sizing' could therefore be experienced as a loss."

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