Old Boys and the turf they guard

by Lin Yan Qin

EDUCATION for all, regardless of exam results, and shared memories of a time when character development came first – it is this sense of pride in their school, they say, that drives them.

So, for the second time in three years, a group of Victoria School (VS) alumni hope to scuttle a proposal that would change things for their alma mater.

More than 1,500 Old Boys – to date – are objecting to Victoria Junior College’s (VJC) proposal to expand its current four-year Integrated Programme to a six-year one.

The proposal, which has been submitted to the Education Ministry, would allow VJC to draw students who do well at the Primary School Leaving Examinations.

And cannibalise VS, turning the two close schools into rivals for good students, ultimately resulting in the loss of an egalitarian ideal, say those against the idea.

“We’re a school that’s for everyone, from all backgrounds, not just those with the best results, and developing each one of us in a holistic way,” said alumnus Kevin Lam, 41, a senior vice-president at UOB.

“With the IP, if we admit students based strictly on academic merit, we would lose that.” This egalitarian ideal, he added, is part of “the greater debate about education in Singapore”.

Call it an ideal, call it heritage, too – the reason why VS alumni vigorously objected three years ago when the all-boys school and the JC considered admitting female students in a merger so as to offer an IP.

The plan was shelved; now this vocal group hopes to dash VJC’s latest bid out of concern their dreams would be dashed.

VS alumnus Mr Sanjay, 21, who started the FaceBook group objecting to VJC’s plans, said: “Even at the late stage in Secondary 4, I was invited to join the school track and field meet to represent VS. This enormous faith the teachers and coaches had in me inspired me to further my goals and dreams.”

Other prominent schools have had it easier when faced with such choices.

Mr Cheng Soon Keong, former president of the Old Rafflesians’ Association, who helped oversee the merger between Raffles Institution and Raffles Junior College said the two schools “had it easier” because both worked together closely even before the merger

“Victoria has a very unique set of problems … I think it’s natural the alumni have such strong feelings because of the shared camaraderie people go through together in their secondary schools,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Old Victorians’ Association (OVA) said it was not clear how much consultation VJC did with stakeholders before submitting the proposal. The association was “disappointed” by the move.

According to the Lianhe Zaobao, VJC vice-principal Fong Yeow Wah said both schools will continue to maintain ties, regardless of whether the proposal is accepted. The expansion, he said, was necessary to give its IP students an uninterrupted education experience to develop holistically.

Today understands the OVA sent a letter to Education Minister Ng Eng Hen last week to explain its stand.

Ironically, a merger of sorts doesn’t seem so bad any longer. “The preferred outcome is for a merger to take place and the IP programme offered to VS students, and other students including female students entering at the junior college level,” said the OVA spokesperson.

There is a gnawing feeling among another segment of alumni that VS may not otherwise be competitive enough.

Education consultant Fang Xiong Kun, 25, who attended both VS and VJC, told Today: “As it is, the good students are going to the IP schools, so we’re losing out on the quality of students we can attract.

“There are parents who are alumni but will not send their child to VS if standards fall behind other schools.”

Mr Lam, who is also an OVA member, hopes both schools can work out a compromise, rather than go their separate ways.

If the schools part ways, VJC will need to reconsider its present use of the Victoria school anthem, badge, and its brand name, said the OVA spokesperson.

“Because, is it still Victoria?” he asked.

Source: Today Online

62 Comments. Leave new

  • From: http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC090814-00

    VS Student
    Updated 11:37 PM August 14, 2009
    While still a student in Victoria School,i think at this crucial juncture, the students of both institutions should have an opinion.I am of the opinion that this is a mockery of the long lasting Victorian path, from Victoria School to Victoria Junior College, and being from a family that has had many members taking this path, I’ve seen how they hold their head high while they bear the pride of being from both fine institutions. If our Junior College counterparts, or Elder sibling, if you will, do execute this venture, it is not only a slight offence to the students, staff and principle of Victoria school but it is also a sad day for all Victorians, for if we ever were rivals, all it would do is give an easier job to our current rivals, whether on the sporting fields, the performing stage or in academic achievements. Both institutions share the motto 'Nil Sine Labore’. Nothing Without Labour, and should both institutions work together, this labour would be a much lighter load.

  • From: http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC090814-00

    Updated 05:37 PM August 15, 2009
    The title of this article should be "Old Boys and the progress they impede." VS and VJC are ultimately losers as they are unable to evolve to compete with the rest (such as Raffles, HC, etc). Old Boys should consider that the environment that we were in and the environment that the schools are now in are very different from the past.

  • "If the schools part ways, VJC will need to reconsider its present use of the Victoria school anthem, badge, and its brand name, said the OVA spokesperson."

    Is this the offical position of OVA ? Is this person a spokesperson of OVA ?

    Sounds like children in a quarrel: Give it to you during friendlier times and give back to me during a quarrel.

    This is giving the Victoria family a bad press and a bad impression in eye of the public.

    Journalist could have also chosen another title:

    "Victoria – A House Divided"

    Please stop commenting to the press.

  • By objecting to VJC from starting it's own 4-year IP programme, the old boys are NOT impeding the progress of our schools and I do not believe that it makes us any less competitive to other brand schools.

    It is about the ideals that we stand for. What does education at Victoria stand for? What is it that we strive to reach? ..To me, Victorian education is about holistic education. We play hard and we study hard. Leadership and character development has been a core focus of Victorian education. There is already much debate about IP programmes creating an elitist class of students.

    To share a personal story, the reason why I chose Victoria School in my days, even though I qualify for any school in Singapore then.. was because of it's good multi-racial mix, it's strong eca/cca track record, and it gave me a sense of feeling that while the students were smart I still felt like a heartland kid. This was in contrast to some schools which really gave me the elitist feeling, and others who were generally of a single race. I am chinese by the way. ..Eventually, I went on to VJC for my A-level years. Even though I was active as a student leader in both VS and VJC, VS did emphasize more on the leadership aspect while VJC was more focused on academic grades (it could be due to the influence of the principals at my time).

    I believe that keeping secondary school aged students in Victoria School, and having the older kids go to Victoria Junior College creates a distinct and colourful experience for the students, and provides better for the holistic education of the students.

    As a family, VJC should also not compete with VS for the intake of PSLE-leaving students. We should compliment each other.

  • apologies.. I meant we should "complement" each other.

  • Reply to Eric:

    VS with 4 year “O” levels.

    VJC with 6 year IP “A” levels from Sec 1.

    How would a student choose ?

    If the student wants the IP, the student will go straight to an IP school (RI, HCI, NJC, Dunman, NUS High)and will not apply to VS.

    If VJC offers a 6 year IP, it may be able to attract some of these students who will not come to VS anyway.

    If a student does not want to do an IP for whatever reason, the student will apply to non-IP schools. VJC is an IP school and so does not compete with VS for such students.

    So, VS and VJC are not really competing for the same subsets of students.

    Granted there may be a common pool of students who may choose 6 year IP or 4 year “O” level at a good secondary school as long as the school is willing to offer a place.

    If OVA manages to scuttle the VJC 6 year IP, other JCs, probably Temasek Junior College will be the next one to offer a 6 year IP. More JCs will follow. All these JCs and existing IP schools will compete with VS for this pool of students.

    So, even if you can stop VJC, can you stop the other JCs ?

    This is an unstoppable avalanche.

    If VS cannot attract the better students like yourself, they are not going to be able to make it to VJC and VJC will have fewer VS students. This is precisely VJC's dilemma and therefore the impetus to implement a 6 year IP to attract the better students.

  • Can OVA stop supporting VJC activities, since it is VJC's actions that relegate VS further? VJC has no regard for VS and OVA.

  • Reply to Ho

    If the current OVA stops supporting VJC, then future generations of VJC alumni will start their own association to support VJC.

    The Old Victorian family will be divided.

  • It was the JC's idea that's alienating itself by putting up the proposal…
    So let it be…
    Just return the name, badge and song!!!

  • The petition is up: http://vs.jonaize.com
    Non-Victorians who believe in our cause can sign it too.

    Can the administrator start a new posting for this petition?

  • Can OVA send the petition link to all its members too?

  • VJC had expressed their desire to go full IP 2 yrs ago. We had a strong debate on this matter but did not resolve the issue. The 2 schools can, with mutual desire and providing a holisyic education platform, merge to form the VICTORIA ACADEMY. YES if we are to scuttle the VJC proposal, what is stopping TJC from going full IP and then both VS n VJC loose out.
    Lets all stakeholders sit down and put forward concrete ideas that we can work on to achieve IP for bith the schools. In the loonngg ruunn whay we want is that VS n VJC develop from strenght to strength and finally there will be only 1 VICTORIS ACADEMY that competes withn the likes of RI, NUS High, HCI and others who jmp on the IP wagon.
    I had initially proposed that VS n VJC conbine offer IP. VS takes in the boys at sec1 level and then at sec 3 onwards VJC admits girls for the IP program. All this is done under the banner of joined VICTORIA ACADEMY. Moving forward 5 yrs on VICTORIA ACADEMY fully integrates into an IP centre that admits both boys n girls.
    We have to sit down and come to an inderstanding that the education environment has changed drastically since our school days and we need to change along with it.
    All the stakeholders should from a committee , with external partners, to brainstorm forward to merging the 2 schools into an academy for the future.

  • 1971 Old Boy
    17 August 2009 18:25

    I am all for the VICTORIA ACADEMY, however with a little "modification" that I think will satisfy both VS and VJC. VS takes in the boys at sec1 level and VJC can proceed with taking in GIRLS at sec 1. Then at sec 3 onwards VS can join VJC for the IP program. Make sense? In this way, VS maintain her BOYS only status and VJC can get her way with admitting from Sec 1. No competition but co-operation. This is a lesser drastic change. We can always fine tune as we move along.
    I have 2 concerns:
    1. Is the VJC principal prepare to co-operate and discuss further? He has demonstrated that he can go back on his words (as evident during 1.5-2 yrs ago when he assured VOAs in a session at VS auditorium, that he will always consult and protray a united front. Alas, he went back on his words).
    2. Is VEC ready to support?


  • Raffles Model

    Raffles Boys: RI (Sec)
    Year 1 – 4

    Raffles Girls: RGS
    Year 1 – 4

    Raffles Boys and Girls: RI (JC)
    Year 5 – 6

    RI and RGS offer a common Raffles Programme


    Proposed Victoria Model

    Victoria Boys: VS
    Year 1 – 4

    Victoria Girls: VJC (Sec)
    Year 1 – 4

    Victoria Boys and Girls: VJC (JC)
    Year 5 – 6

    VJC and VS offer a common VIP


    The girls are in RGS in the Raffles Model whereas the girls are in VJC in the Victoria Model


  • Hi guys (above),
    Please take note that your above suggestions are not valid anymore unless MOE hold back on the decision of VJC's proposal. When that happen, it will be a point of no return.
    Pass the word around on the petition http://vs.jonaize.com/index.php

  • Reply to "Thy Victories We Share Yet",
    I must say that I fully agree with your suggested model.
    This is the first time I have seen this. Previous models are:
    1. another girls' school, eg tkgs
    2. victoria girls' school
    3. girls in vjc (sec 1 to sec 4) – yr model

  • Thank you, Old Boy that we have found a common ground of agreement.

    The Victoria Model is actually the flip side of the Raffles Model.

    Victoria Model
    Girls – 6 years in VJC
    Boys – 4 years in VS and 2 years in VJC

    Raffles Model
    Boys – 6 Years in RI
    Girls – 4 Years in RGS and 2 Years in RI

    In this Victoria Model, VJC will definitely want to have a strong say on admission standards of the boys to VS (VIP) and the standard of the programme. These can be worked out as both schools have a common VAC/VEC.

    No need for change of name. No need for co-ed at VS.

  • Again I reiterate that I am probably in the minority here.

    No, I don't think , in this case, someone should sign a petition to scuttle somebody else's proposal.

    If one thinks that he has a better proposal, one should submit his proposal for consideration as well and not by shooting down another person's.

    That is what I think the Gentleman in a Victorian should do.

  • geylang bahru VS boy
    17 August 2009 22:11

    Hi folks, I don't mean to sound pessimistic but the more I examine the issue, the more the split seems imminent UNLESS VS adopts one change. Here is why (and I stand corrected):

    1. VJC wants to go it alone because it wants to introduce the 6-year IP. From the point of view (this is my guess from my few years of being a teacher) of the VJC management, administration and educators, this would be ideal as it would allow (1) a seamless integration with minimal admin processes and disruption (imagine the headache the admin staff have to face whenever a new batch comes in at any level; (2) a streamlined planning and effective implementation of the academic curriculum; (3) an effective planning and implementation of any co- or non- curricula program (that stretches from IP Year 1 to Year 6).

    2. The proposed Victoria Model (in the mould of the Raffles Programme) would ONLY work if Victoria School decides to go IP and not have 'O' levels anymore. The reason why the Raffles Model works is because both RI and RGS offer the IP and they feed their Year 5 and 6 students to RI (JC). This applies also to the Hwa Chong IP. You may refer to both institutions' websites to verify this.

    3. If VS is willing to compromise, it can think of offering 2 streams – the 'O' level stream and the IP stream. BUT … this really does not make management sense because it will divide resources in the school effectively into 2.

    4. VS can consider offering IP to students whose T-score (to the educator) or PSLE score(to the layman) starts from around 245 (not very far from the PSLE in-take now). This would ensure VS does not become elitist but stay true to what it has been doing – reaching out to the non-elitist high-ability student.

    Just my 2 cents' worth.
    I of course would not like to see a split – I attended both VS and VJC.

    May we be able to reach a decision that will meet the needs and desires of all.

  • Reply to geylang bahru VS boy

    Yes you are right. The proposed Victoria Model is an Integrated Programme.

    In the Victoria Model, VJC is the ultimate destination with the secondary boys (VS) and secondary girls (VJC) educated in separate schools but under a common programme (VIP).

    In the Victoria Model, the path should be smoother because both VS and VJC have a common VAC/VEC.

  • VS had good results for 2008. One of the four Band 1 schools. If the principal of VJC can be patient for 1 or 2 more years, VS is ready for IP. In the mean time, convince one of the present girls' school to join in too. They have no reason to refuse as they can keep their own culture too, like RGS and NYGS. If this is not possible, start a new girls' school. Although it may be tedious in the initial stage, it is still better to separate the 2 schools. OVA and VS old boys had done a lot for VJC. The design of the VJC building was done by an old VS boy. The very 1st JC1 orientation was led by Hwa Chong JC boys who were former VS boys. The softball team was setup and coached by former VS boy, Sunny Sultan, who was a former national coach and player.

  • geylang bahru VS boy
    18 August 2009 20:35

    Does anyone know then whether VS has plans to go IP … SOON?

  • VS could not go IP without VJC. IP lead up to A levels.

  • Can a motion be put up during OVA AGM that OVA cut ties with VJC and put to the vote?

  • 1971 Old Boy
    19 August 2009 17:00

    Guys, I feel that we are going no where. There have been mostly negative reaction to VJC proposal from old boys and some parents alike. There have been many forums to air our views ie. this one, facebook, http://vs.jonaize.com/index.php etc…

    I am just NOT sure all these views are being heard by the people who can make the difference ie MOE and VEC.
    The principals of VJC and VS have remained tight lipped (perhaps they have to cos they are gov servants).

    Why haven’t VEC together with OVA issue any statement or directions? I am beginning to feel that OVA has been sidestepped in all this. OVA has been caught unaware.

    As I mentioned many months ago, if the Principal of VJC dares to make a press statement then about “VJC mulling over a 6yrs IP program”, he must have the blessings of the VEC.

    Guys, let’s stay focus and engage the VEC instead.
    Can OVA organise a dialogue session with the VEC? OR are they apprenhensive of the prospects of facing a largely logical group of old boys? If VEC can table and argue their case and support for VJC, I am sure they have the whole Old Boys community in support rather than this perceived public in-fighting..

    Perhaps the Chairman of OVA can comment?

  • VS for life
    19 August 2009 20:18

    Victoria School C Division Soccer Team will take part in the National Schools Finals at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday. All VICTORIA SCHOOL supporters welcomed!

    Time: 4PM
    Opponents: Singapore Sports School (SSP)
    Date: 21 August 2009 (Friday)
    Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium

    Let support our Victoria School.

  • Whether you are Victoria School or JC, please take note. Character Education is the first priority toward the learning in both schools. It must always be. Victoria School have consistently been up to the standard but what about VJC?

    If VS boys can be so spirited, where are their 'seniors'. The spirit of Victoria is supposed to be FEARED, not TRAMPLED ON.


  • Reply to VS for Life,
    I thought C Division is playing for 3rd placing this Friday?

  • Reply 1971 Old Boy,
    Let's work on the petition. You can contact your mates and for them to contact theirs…let's make it work!

  • As mentioned before, it is too late to contact VEC now. We can seek clarifications after MOE's decision. OVA had done its part. It is now up to us individuals and as an unofficial group, like the Facebook group, to act.

  • I have sent an email to Sandra Davie to see if she can write an article on this matter. Sandra is a Senior Writer with Straits Times and specialize in Education issues. She was from VJC first or 2nd batch.
    We need all the publicity that we can get.

  • 1971 Old Boy
    20 August 2009 13:26

    Well done Old Boy, August 20, 2009!

  • 1984 Old Boy
    21 August 2009 15:41

    Was OVA consulted before the move?. Who gave the go ahead??.

  • Reply to 1984 Old Boy,
    It seem to be VEC. OVA President sit on VEC but seem to be in the dark.

  • The petition has almost 600 signatures within 5 days.
    Perhaps those who believe in our cause can do more to pass the message. Thanks! http://vs.jonaize.com/index.php

  • hi, guys,

    i've posted the contents of an email which i sent to pm, ng eng hen and teo ser luck earlier this week.

    please start writing in to save our school.


    Dear Hsien Loong, Eng Hen and Ser Luck,

    I read with much disappointment in recent media reports about VJC's plans to start a 6-year IP programme.

    I believe that many VS alumni like myself are concerned that this will result in a competition for students between VS and VJC's IP programme should it be approved by MOE. VS could end up on the losing end as an IP programme is deemed to be more prestigious than a normal 4-year secondary school education.

    While this scenario may seem to be far-fetched, history can shed some light. I believe that attempts to start a GEP programme in VS resulted in poor enrolment due to competition from IP programmes launched by other schools in 2004.

    Fast forward to 2009; if indeed VJC does launch an IP programme with the Victoria brand name, then what calibre of students will VS attract and how will this impact on VS's existence and development? Only when we learn from mistakes of the past circa 2004 can we then avoid mistakes of the future.

    VS is not blessed with the legacy of the Raffles schools nor does it possess the financial resources of the Anglo-Chinese family. It is a common man's school but yet its alumni like myself are the common man who are part of Singapore's social and professional fabric.

    The average Victorian could be the office worker who covers for his colleagues in their absence with nary a complaint or the NSMan who fireman lifts his injured buddy down Elephant Hill after a 3-day field exercise. We may not be the leading lights of society or its brightest stars but we are willing to put our nose to the grinder and sacrifice individual interests for the greater good.

    A Victorian education is not merely about results. 4 years in VS takes boys and turns them into principled and passionate young men who believe strongly that they should "ask not what Victoria can do for you but ask what you can do for Victoria". Later on in life, this same credo is applied to family, profession and country.

    I graduated from the class of 4A, VS in 1993. My PSLE result was 252 but yet VS provided the same quality education for my classmates and I regardless of our respective PSLE scores. In return, we kept her flag unfurled by doing well in our "O" Levels to ensure that VS was ranked joint 4th by MOE.

    This is proof positive of the power of a VS education. Do we really want to bring the curtain down on 133 years of Victorian history, culture and heritage?

    This email is written in my personal capacity. It does not represent any organisations linked with VS or the majority of Victorian alumni.


    Hong Chou Hui

  • Straits Times Forum
    25 August 2009

    Solve VS-VJC conundrum by setting up an all-girls feeder school

    I AM an old boy of both Victoria School (VS) and Victoria Junior College (VJC). From newspaper reports over the past few years, I am aware of the irreconcilable rift between VS and VJC over the issue of integration.

    Kindly allow me to offer my suggestion. To achieve the objective and yet satisfy all parties involved, the best way forward is to set up a Victoria Girls School. VJC has always intended to accept girls from Secondary 1, and that will enrich the student population. But I also understand that VS will most likely never accept girls.

    Hence, the best compromise is to set up Victoria Girls School. It will be difficult to set up a new school from scratch, but it is something Victorians have done before, in setting up VJC.

    There may be worries that Victoria Girls School, being new, may not be well received and not attract good students. But once it is packaged together with VJC and VS in the form of, perhaps, Victoria Institution, the overall selling proposition should be good.

    Ng Kok Lim

  • "But I also understand that VS will most likely never accept girls."

    Historical Facts:

    Excerpt from Victoria School Website:

    "In 1951, the Post School Certificate classes were started. A few girls joined the classes.

    In 1979, Victoria School became a Pre-University Center, offering 3-year Pre-University courses instead of the normal two years.

    A new chapter began when Victoria Junior College opened its doors at Marine Parade in 1984, and Victoria School moved to its Geylang Bahru site that same year."

    Victoria School Website http://vs.moe.edu.sg/
    (Click School Information, then History)

    The Post School Certificate Sixth Form Classes (Pre-U Classes of today) were started and Victoria School saw its first female students."

    It is a historical fact that from 1951,VS had girls in her “Post School Certificate” and subsequent “A” levels classes until VJC started classes in 1984.

    For 33 years from 1951 to 1984 (if last batch of VS Pre-U graduated in 1984), 33 long years, longer than the 25 years history of VJC, Victoria School had girls. VS GIRLS.

    “For we shall not forget’ our VS girls.

    It seemed that this impression of VS being an all boys school is held by the VS-VJC alumni who joined VS after 1984.

    However it is true that VS has been an all boy secondary school for Sec 1 – Sec 4 students since it became a secondary school.

  • "VJC has always intended to accept girls from Secondary 1, and that will enrich the student population."

    The even simpler solution is for VJC to take in only girls from Sec 1 and run an all girl secondary school division.

    No need to start a new girl school. No need to look for new site for new girl school.

    Also, it seems that the family is already having difficulties keeping the current two schools (VS and VJC) united, what more with three schools (VS, VJ and VGS) !

  • VJC with secondary classes for girls only will be unique, the first and only JC to offer IP from Sec 1 with single sex education for 4 years (Yr 1 – Yr 4) for girls and should appeal to this group of parents:

    1. who want an all girl school for their daughters for year 1 to year 4 and

    2. who take pride in their daughters entering a premier JC from Sec 1. (A separate Victoria Girls School will not have that effect as it is not a JC).

    and there won't be these worries:

    "that Victoria Girls School, being new, may not be well received and not attract good students."

  • For 88 years, VS (33 years*) and then VJC (25 years), the Victoria family had girls in its post secondary co-ed classes.

    *assuming unbroken enrolment from 1951 and last Pre-U class in 1984 – please correct if you have different information from authoritative source.

  • For 88 years, VS (33 years*) and then VJC (25 years), the Victoria family had girls in its post secondary co-ed classes.

    *assuming unbroken enrolment from 1951 and last Pre-U class in 1984 – please correct if you have different information from authoritative source.

  • However I am more in favour of single sex Sec 1 – 4 classes. The parents of primary GEP and top primary school boys and girls I know prefer single sex secondary schools.

    Take a look at the top secondary schools (Sec 1 – Sec 4), these are single sex schools.

    HCI (former Chinese High)
    ACS (I)
    Catholic High

    CHIJ ST Nicholas

    Exceptions are NUS High, and some SAP schools like Dunman High and River Valley.

    So I would suggest to VJC to rethink about taking in boys and girls in Sec 1 and to take in only girls.

    This resolves the current "conflict of interests" with VS straightaway.

    The next step is to work on a common VJC-VS 6 year VIP.

  • It shoud be:

    For 58 years, VS (33 years*) and then VJC (25 years), the Victoria family had girls in its post secondary co-ed classes.

    *assuming unbroken enrolment from 1951 and last Pre-U class in 1984 – please correct this if you have different information from any authoritative sources.

  • Class 4S alumni
    3 September 2009 21:21

    Not many Singaporeans know many VS alumni have contributed to Singapore, and are holding important positions in government, business or academia.
    I would suggest OVA take up an advertisement in Straits Times to list say 50 VS Alumni who have done very well in society, nd write an open letter to appeal against VJC proposal for the 6-year IP.

    Personally, I only come to know of prominent VS alumni by visiting VS website. When the public appreciate that Victoria is somthing more, they will empathize with the stand taken my many Old Victorians against VJC going for the 6-year IP.It is a great heritage worth perserving.

  • A list of prominent Old Victorians can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=2209767942&…

  • As a VS student in the 1960s i remember with fondness and pride the School Song whenever it was sung at school assemblies, speech day, celebrations at inter school competitions. "Victoria School in Singapore, there are other schools we know, Victoria School is something more……." May it be suggested that the VS Choir put up the School Song on YouTube and let all Victorians wherever they may be have the opportunity to listen to and sing the song that will always be in their hearts. "For others came before and went and carried to the World, Victoria's fame and our intent to keep her Flag unfurled."

  • I think our efforts have paid off. This issue is again on ST again. It is time to put more pressure on the decision-makers.
    I prefer discussion to be on Facebook as it is more readable.

  • Mr Chan Poh Meng:

    “We believe that there are significant educational advantages in having an uninterrupted six-year programme for the students to engage in a wider range of learning experiences for holistic development.”

    Straits Times dated 8 Sep 2009 page B3.

    Open comment for Mr Chan Poh Meng:

    This model will provide the "uninterrupted six-year programme for the students to engage in a wider range of learning experiences for holistic development":

    1. VJC and VS collaborate and run a common VJC-VS 6 year VIP (SBGE).

    2. The VEC/VAC to appoint a VJC-VS VIP Executive Commitee to work with MOE to design, implement and supervise the programme.

    3. VJC takes in only girls and VS takes in only boys for year 1 to year 4.

    4. All the VS boys who meet the minimum requirements to be promoted to year 5 will move to the VJC campus for year 5 to join the VJC girls who meet the same minimum requirements.

  • The situation shouldn't have degraded to what it is now in the first place. This is a disgrace to all Victorians. Cat fight in the glare of the public. Three years of negotiations and no outcome? What a shame!

    Stop all these nonsense both VJC and OVA.

    The solution is so simple I don't understand how both parties screwed up all this while.

    Set up a feeder girl's school. That's it. Full stop.

    Now move on.

  • Reply to Ng Kok Lim:
    Tell that to chan poh meng, and he will say: "I am already winning the war. What is this small battle to me?"

  • Reproducing in full as the link may not work after some time.


    Straits Times Forum
    25 August 2009

    Solve VS-VJC conundrum by setting up an all-girls feeder school

    I AM an old boy of both Victoria School (VS) and Victoria Junior College (VJC). From newspaper reports over the past few years, I am aware of the irreconcilable rift between VS and VJC over the issue of integration.

    Kindly allow me to offer my suggestion. To achieve the objective and yet satisfy all parties involved, the best way forward is to set up a Victoria Girls School. VJC has always intended to accept girls from Secondary 1, and that will enrich the student population. But I also understand that VS will most likely never accept girls.

    Hence, the best compromise is to set up Victoria Girls School. It will be difficult to set up a new school from scratch, but it is something Victorians have done before, in setting up VJC.

    There may be worries that Victoria Girls School, being new, may not be well received and not attract good students. But once it is packaged together with VJC and VS in the form of, perhaps, Victoria Institution, the overall selling proposition should be good.

    Ng Kok Lim
    Delete Post
    Post #7Steven Ho wroteon August 27, 2009 at 5:41pm
    Guys and girls, remember this Sunday 30 August “Prata Session” @VS Canteen, time 9-11am.
    Spread the word. Let’s get together and put a definite plan of counter proposal/petition (whatever you call it) to gain visiblity and initiate a re-think on VJC’s proposal.

    If someone know any press (ex VS/VJC preferred), please inform and invite them as well. Would be great to have some continued publicity and pressure on the decision makers.

    Post #8You wrote2 seconds ago
    VJC's IP plan: Upset alumni write to minister

    By Amelia Tan

    A ROW is brewing between the Victorian alumni association and Victoria Junior College (VJC) over a decision to expand the college's integrated programme.

    VJC submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Education (MOE) last month, seeking to admit students at the Secondary 1 level instead of Secondary 3, which it has been doing for the last four years.

    The Old Victorians' Association (OVA) – the alumni group of Victoria School (VS) and VJC – is against the move, which it feels pits VJC against VS.

    OVA president Vernon Teo said in an interview yesterday that he has written to Education Minister Ng Eng Hen to explain why the association is against the expansion of the integrated programme.

    An MOE spokesman confirmed it has received the letter but did not say when the results of the evaluation process will be known.

    Mr Teo said the association had been talking with VJC on the possibility of expanding the integrated programme for the past three years. But VJC decided to submit the proposal to MOE despite objections from the OVA. 'We said no but they went ahead. We are very disappointed,' Mr Teo added.

    When contacted, VJC principal Chan Poh Meng said: 'We believe that there are significant educational advantages in having an uninterrupted six-year programme for the students to engage in a wider range of learning experiences for holistic development.'

    Mr Teo said in the letter that the move will cause a split in the Victorian family, as VS and VJC will be forced to fight for the same target audience: Secondary 1 students.

    He also said that expanding the integrated programme to Secondary 1 students will attract top Primary 6 pupils and breed a culture of elitism which Victorian schools do not stand for.

    Mr Teo said the association's view is shared by the majority of Victorian alumni, students and their parents. A Facebook group set up to protest against the expansion of the integrated programme has drawn about 2,200 members. All 60 comments posted on a website that OVA launched, to gather views on VJC's proposal, were also against it.

    Mr Teo said that while the OVA is against VJC's proposal to admit Secondary 1 students, it is open to working with the school on alternative ideas that can achieve the same objectives as a six-year programme, and which also ensures VS stays an all-boys school. He added that the VS track record of excellence has proven that an all-boys formula during a student's teenage years works.

    One idea the association has is to have a management team run both VJC and VS and continue with the four-year integrated programme. This means the boys will study with female students only when they progress to Secondary 3.

    The second idea is to adopt a girls feeder school so VJC can attract top female students. The girls will study for the first two years at their girls school before joining VJC in Secondary 3.

    The last idea is to admit Secondary 1 girls to VJC but have them study at a separate campus from the boys for the first two years.

    This article was first published in The Straits Times.

    8 September 2009


  • sorry, i copied too much out from the facebook site. i am not able to edit it out.

  • 1. Get more prominent Victorians to speak up on this issue.
    2. Get those who know the VEC members to talk to them as friends. It could be a very small group who sway the rest.

  • School spirit keeps Victoria diehards going
    Sunday Times, 13 September 2009

    They opposed co-ed proposal in 2005, now they object to VJC's plan to admit Sec 1s
    By Mavis Toh

    How far will you go to preserve the 'family spirit' of your alma mater?

    One group, old boys of Victoria School (VS), went to the extent of writing to ministers, setting up online petitions and Facebook groups, and calling a press conference.

    Four years ago, they objected to a proposal to turn the school co-ed.

    Recently, they were upset again after affiliated school Victoria Junior College (VJC) wanted to enrol Secondary 1 students.

    At the crux of the present brouhaha is this: VJC wants to attract top primary school pupils by accepting them – both boys and girls – at Sec 1 and taking them through a six-year programme to the A levels.

    VJC submitted its proposal to the Ministry of Education (MOE) last month. It currently enrols students from Sec 3 for a four-year integrated programme (IP).

    The old boys oppose the initiative for several reasons. If VJC gets its way, they fear it will vie with VS for the same post-primary cohort and hence 'split up the family'.

    Also, the Old Victorians' Association (OVA) told The Sunday Times it is all for a VS-VJC merger as long as the school's heritage is preserved and VS remains a single-sex school.

    OVA president Vernon Teo, 41, said the group is especially 'disappointed, saddened and puzzled' as to why it was not properly informed and consulted before VJC's submission.

    VS started as an English class in Kampong Glam Malay School in 1876. Over the years, it moved to Victoria Street, Tyrwhitt Road and the present Siglap Link.

    It attracted students from all walks of life and produced three presidents: Mr Yusof Ishak, Mr C.V. Devan Nair and Mr S R Nathan.

    Today, the 133-year-old school is the only all-boys government school left and is a top boys' school.

    VJC, an idea first mooted by Victorians, was set up in 1984 after the late MP Dr Ong Chit Chung, an alumnus, submitted a proposal to the MOE. It has always ranked as one of the top JCs.

    In 2005, after a proposal was floated for VS to become co-ed, then OVA president Teo Ser Luck organised a forum for the involved committees, alumni, teachers and principals.

    Mr Teo, 41, now Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Transport), attributes his leadership qualities to his time at the school, and said Victorians are a 'bonded and vocal bunch' who readily contribute time and money generously to the school.

    'The school spirit has always been very strong. We would cheer our schoolmates in everything, from those involved in the band to drama to sports,' recalled Mr Teo, who graduated in 1984.

    Mr Vernon Teo, the managing director of an events management and production company, who took over as OVA chief in 2007, said he continues the fight to keep the school's heritage.

    Besides holding two more dialogues, he wrote to Education Minister Ng Eng Hen last month to explain why the association is against the expansion of the JC's IP.

    He has also called a press conference and, last week, penned an open letter to the Victoria Executive and Advisory Committee (VEC/VAC). The Sunday Times understands that this 18-member body, which includes old boys, can offer its views on the policy decisions of VS and VJC.

    Mr Vernon Teo said previous meetings had led to an agreement that OVA be consulted on major decisions by VS and/or VJC, especially regarding the implementation of any IP.

    He added that the OVA had not been consulted on VJC's recent proposal, even if the move was apparently backed and supported by the VEC/VAC. He wants to know if there was a voting process and, if so, what the outcome was.

    'My question is, before the proposal was made, had they consulted enough parents, students, stakeholders and old boys,' he said.

    He graduated 25 years ago and spoke fondly of the times he sneaked into the school's Jalan Besar campus after dark with fellow boys for 'ghost walks'.

    'It was there we built our character and grew from mischievous boys into young men,' he said.

    Another Victorian, Mr Teo Yang Song, 55, agreed that VJC's proposal would split the family. But if the proposal passes, he wants VJC to stop using VS' badge and song.

    The senior executive building officer has been voluntarily coaching the VS soccer team for the past 12 years. He met his wife there, when they were in the school's co-educational pre-university classes, and his eldest son, 28, is an old boy too.

    Meanwhile, a Facebook group set up to protest against expanding the IP now has about 2,200 members. Also, all 60 comments posted on a website OVA launched to gather views on VJC's proposal were against the idea.

    But one old boy, engineer William Tan, 57, does not care. He said: 'The education landscape has changed, the principals should do what's best for the students. Retaining heritage is not everything.'

    When contacted, VJC principal Chan Poh Meng said that since 2005, VJC and VS have actively engaged OVA members, former students as well as the VEC/VAC to discuss extending VJC's IP to Sec 1 students, including a possible merger with VS. Several meetings were held, he added, before the proposal was submitted to the MOE.

    Meanwhile, the OVA has three suggestions: a merger with centralised management; a collaboration with an all-girls school to provide students for the IP; or setting up an all-girls school within the Victorian family.

    Said Mr Vernon Teo: 'We just want to look after the interests of the family.'


    What are your views on the moves by the old boys? Send them to suntimes@sph.com.sg

  • SJI could not start IP without 1. turning co-ed (which their old boys will object for the same reasons). or 2. roping in a girls' school (possibly sister sch, CHIJ).
    VS case is different becos there is already VJC offering 6-yr IP (if approved). Why would MOE approve VS 6-yr IP?

  • Reply to Victoria Reunite:

    I don't know about School of Economics. But so far, generals in SAF must be SAF Overseas Scholars first. That's the first pre-requsite, then their performance in SAF. So School of Military may not be feasible.

    So is 6-yr IP VS. The last 2 yrs of which will need to be co-ed. Where do the girls come from. And MOE will not approve 2 Victorias so close to each other having 6-yr IP, and which are now still belonging to the same family.

    Nevertheless, it is great to see all the ideas. What is more important now is resolve the present issue.


    Victoria School of Economics
    Victoria School of Defence


    Victoria School of Economics

    VS may also work with a university to develop a Humanities programme.

    There is a specialist IP offered by NUS High in Maths and Science.

    For example, VS can propose to work with say London School of Economics to do a specialist programme on economics and social sciences.


    VS can consider a Military Academy as the school has a tradition of producing Generals in the Singapore Armed Forces


  • ST Forum
    15 Sep 2009

    Beware of breeding elitism

    I REFER to last Tuesday's report ('VJC's IP plan: Upset alumni write to minister') and understand why the Old Victorians' Association is averse to letting Victoria Junior College implement the integrated programme (IP).

    When the Education Ministry implemented the gifted education programme in 1984, only 1 per cent of Primary 3 pupils were enrolled in it.

    Interestingly, this 1 per cent cohort of gifted programme pupils had priority or access to IPs offered by some 11 schools even though they did not fare as well in their Primary School Leaving Examination.

    The IP was started five years ago to provide a seamless and richer secondary and junior college education whereby students bypassed the O-level examinations.

    It was aimed at letting students develop their intellectual curiosity and giving them a more broad-based education without being stifled by the exam culture.

    But the pioneering IP schools have managed to attract all the top students, leaving some traditionally good JCs with no choice but to offer IPs as well to get their share of good students. Currently, the top 5 per cent of Primary 6 pupils can opt for integrated programmes.

    During the 1970s and 1980s, most Singaporeans who performed relatively well in neighbourhood schools could enrol in the top five JCs without much difficulty.

    Not so now. A good Secondary 4 student from a neighbourhood school, one with even a 'perfect' score of six points (that is, six A1s) in six subjects in the O levels, may find it harder to get into Raffles Institution and Hwa Chong Institution, National JC, Temasek JC and perhaps Victoria JC because most places would have been reserved for the IP students of the schools these colleges have hooked up with.

    The Education Ministry must be sensitive and extremely careful in implementing more IPs for JCs or any other school as it may breed a culture of elitism.

    In the past, we have had ministers, permanent secretaries, senior civil servants and MPs from various secondary schools.

    What should not happen is a reversal of such a healthy trend, that is, future top guns in government coming from a handful of elite institutions.

    Meritocracy works well but breeding elitism is unhealthy, and my sense is that many government-aided or autonomous schools have lost good students to the schools providing IPs.

    David Goh

  • Reply to TJK:
    The cut-off is really a chicken and egg thing. IF VS has IP, it will attract more students and naturally, the cut-off will go up. And if VS does not have IP, the cut-off will go down.

    As VS median mark is 251, it means that only 50 % of a year cohort is eligible for the IP, and not all will like to stay. Therefore, if for one cohort we need 9 classes, we should at most need 5 classes more for one year and 10 classes for two year. Given that IP will be most likely lecture-tutorial system, JC1/JC2 can share the classrooms or some special rooms, such as learning studios, could be used also.

    This will reap some benefits for us, as if there is a reconstruction, we may not be in the time for a direct competition with VJC for the IP program.

  • A reminder: It has been more than a month since Lianhe Zaobao report on 13 Aug 2009 that the MOE is evaluating VJC's proposal. Has MOE made her decision? It is possible. We do not know. What must can be done and still need to be done, need to be done quickly.

  • VJC and Victoria School must not compete for students

    I REFER to Mr David Goh's letter on Tuesday, 'Beware of breeding elitism'.

    I had the privilege of graduating from Victoria School (VS) in 1993 after four wonderful years.

    I believe many VS alumni like me are concerned that should Victoria Junior College (VJC) get the Ministry of Education's go-ahead to start a six-year Integrated Programme (IP), this will result in competition for students between VS and VJC's IP.

    VS could lose out as an IP is deemed more prestigious than a regular four-year secondary school education.

    While this scenario may seem far-fetched, history can shed some light. I believe attempts to start a Gifted Education Programme in VS did not work out because of poor enrolment due to competition from IPs launched by other schools in 2004.

    Fast-forward to this year. If VJC does launch an IP with the Victoria brand name, what calibre of students will VS attract and how will this affect VS' development? Only when we learn from past mistakes can we avoid mistakes in the future.

    My Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) score was 252, but VS provided the same quality education for my classmates and me, regardless of our results.

    During our lower secondary years, each class had an even mix of PSLE scorers and there were no attempts to 'hothouse' or have 'elite' classes for students with better grades. Each and every VS boy was given equal opportunity and treatment. This allowed us to explore our potential to the fullest.

    VS has neither the legacy of the Raffles schools nor the financial resources of the Anglo-Chinese family. It is a common man's school but its alumni are the common men who are part of Singapore's social and professional fabric.

    VS boys like me cringe when we hear talk of elitism or upper echelons of society. This country was built on meritocracy, and school is one of the first places where children learn and understand this concept.

    Do we really need a nation built along the lines of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, where children and society in general are divided into clearly defined castes?

    Hong Chou Hui

    17 Sep 2009
    Straits Times Forum

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