18 August 2005

Dear Victorians,

Co-Education for VS

The topic of co-education for VS has evoked strong reactions from Victorians on our group discussion list, many of whom would like to know whether OVA is for or against the idea of changing the single-sex status of our alma mater.

The Management Council met to discuss the matter, during which we were given to understand that for many years, with the exception of last year, VS’ academic performance had been below expectation. We were told that the education landscape in Singapore has changed, and that VS must also change in order to stay ahead. More specifically, we were told that schools offering the Integrated Programme, which allows students to skip the ‘O’ Level examinations, will make it increasingly more difficult for VS to attract and retain the top PSLE students.

We were informed that to attract the top PSLE students, therefore, VS must now consider whether she should also offer the Integrated Programme and go co-ed in order to cast the net wider for the top students.

After considering the matter, we are of the view that VS should retain her single-sex status. The main reason being we are not convinced that offering the Integrated Programme is the only way for VS to react to the changes in the education landscape.

We feel that VS should not jump hastily onto the proverbial bandwagon and put herself on the IP path without considering other options. We are confident that VS, using her innovative and enterprising spirit, as well as her wealth of experience, is able to meet the challenges ahead without relinquishing her single-sex status.

We also feel that the assumptions underlying the rationale for VS going the IP way is open to debate. For example, while it is true that the better PSLE students will continue to choose schools offering IP, it would be a mistake to assume that those who do not opt for the Integrated Programme will not excel in their academic pursuits.

Furthermore, considering the fact that VS was located at Geylang Bahru, which is not the best location for attracting the top PSLE students, VS has done relatively well in the past. VS did exceptionally well last year, not only in the academic field but also in the Co-Curricular Activities. With the added advantage of being in a better location and with better facilities now, we are not persuaded that giving up our 129 years old all-boys tradition is the only way for VS to meet the challenges ahead.

We are sure that many parents still view VS as a choice school for their boys. Besides, it would appear that students in single-sex schools perform better than those in co-ed schools. We are, therefore, not in favour of VS going co-ed.

Having said so, it must be clarified that this is merely the view of the Management Council. The view of OVA can only be ascertained at a properly convened General Meeting of the association. If there is a need or demand for it, we will hold a general meeting to discuss the matter. In the meantime, we intend to hold a forum at VS to give members of the Victorian community the opportunity to discuss the issues, as well as to explore other options to properly position VS in the new education landscape. We will inform you of the date of the proposed forum.

Finally, we are happy to see the passionate interests of Victorians in matters that concern our alma mater. We hope to see you at the forum.

Nil Sine Labore!


Yours truly

Aaron Tan
Old Victorians’ Association

Click for scanned PDF of OVA Statement On Co-Education For VS.

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