IT HAS been three years since Chinese High School and Hwa Chong Junior College became Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), and the union has been a happy one, said the school's principal, Mr Ang Wee Hiong, yesterday.
Students now have a continuum of learning over six years, rather than the previous four in secondary school and two in junior college which were disconnected.
Collaboration between teachers has improved. Students are also able to go on educational overseas trips and exchanges, given the more expansive programme, said Mr Ang during a ceremony at the school.
'The merger has given us the opportunity to go full speed on taking learning beyond the classroom,' he added.
Hwa Chong Institution was the first school to take the bold step of merging its secondary and junior college entities. The latest to do so will be Raffles Institution and Raffles Junior College, which are merging next year.
The proposal to merge had faced resistance from some current and former students worried about loss of identity and heritage, but the merger now has the full support of the alumni, said Mr Ong Eng Chang, president of the Hwa Chong Alumni Association.
Hwa Chong Institution unveiled the statue of an early school leader, the late rubber tycoon and philanthropist Lee Kong Chian, on its premises in Bukit Timah Road yesterday. The ceremony was attended by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Dr Lee sat on the board of directors of Chinese High School from 1927 to 1966, and was its chairman for 18 years.
The school also announced celebrations for its 90th anniversary next year, such as a drama production, art exhibition and a feast for 10,000 current and former students.
This article was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 16, 2008.
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