VICTORIA Junior College (VJC) has proposed a change to its current integrated programme which will see it admitting Secondary 1 students, a decision that has sparked ire among Victorian alumni.

VJC, which currently runs a four-year integrated programme admitting students at the Sec 3 level, submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Education about two weeks ago indicating that it hopes to extend its programme to six years, and admit Sec 1 students to the school.

If approved, this proposal will put VJC in direct competition with Victoria School (VS), with which it is affiliated, say some of its alumni.

The move would be similar to what the National Junior College has implemented, as it too has started to admit Sec 1 students directly this year.

Other institutions that have implemented integrated, or through-train, programmes include the Raffles schools and Hwa Chong Institution.

Temasek Junior College is the only other junior college that offers a four-year programme similar to VJC’s.

Some alumni are concerned that if implemented, the programme will pose a threat to Victorian heritage and unity.

‘We are disappointed that they have gone ahead with the proposal,’ said Mr Quak Hiang Wai, spokesman for the Old Victorians’ Association, the alumni association for both VS and VJC.

‘This will split the Victorian family apart and lead to unnecessary competition, as there will essentially be two secondary schools.’

He noted that the committee of the alumni association is not opposed to the integrated programme, but is taking issue with VJC’s decision to ‘go its own way’.

‘In fact, we are all for a merger between VS and VJC…for an integrated programme, as long as the school’s heritage is preserved and VS remains a single-sex school,’ said Mr Quak.

VJC intends to enrol both male and female students in its six-year programme, if it is approved.

When asked about VJC’s decision to extend its four-year programme, vice-principal Audrey Chen said the school believes there are significant educational advantages in having an uninterrupted six-year programme.

She added: ‘Regardless of the outcome of the proposal, VJC will continue to maintain close ties with VS and work in partnership to keep the Victorian spirit strong.’

Both Ms Chen and VS principal Low Eng Teong declined to comment on the alumni’s concerns.


Source: The Straits Times

293 Comments. Leave new

  • I am probably in the minority.

    I would like to suggest that we do not stand in the way of VJC pursuing what it considers to be in the best interests of its stakeholders.

    That VJC has become a premier JC is a victory for Victorians to share, whether VS or VJC.

    Let VJC rise to the challenge in its pursuit of excellence and let primary school leaving students have a choice of VJC or VS.

    If VJC does not "cannabalise" VS, some other school will also compete with VS for the best. I would rather the school be VJC.

    Let us wish VJC the best.

    May we all share in the victories of VS and VJC.

  • I am probably in the minority.

    I would like to suggest that we do stand in the way of VJC pursuing what it deems to be in the best interest of its stakehodlers.

    If VJC does not cannablise VS, some other schools will compete with VS for the better primary school leaving students. I would rather the school be VJC than say NJC or Dunman. Let the students have a choice, VJC or VS.

    Let us share in the victories of all Victorians, whether VS or VJC and keep the Victoria flag unfurled.

  • (Corrected Version)

    I am probably in the minority.

    I would like to suggest that we do not stand in the way of VJC pursuing what it deems to be in the best interest of its stakehodlers.

    If VJC does not cannablise VS, some other schools will compete with VS for the better primary school leaving students. I would rather the school be VJC than say NJC or Dunman. Let the students have a choice, VJC or VS.

    Let us share in the victories of all Victorians, whether VS or VJC and keep the Victoria flag unfurled.

  • The Model for VS and VJC

    The report seems to suggest that the alternative model is that of a merger, the model first adopted by the Hwa Chong schools and then followed by the Raffles Schools.

    I would like to suggest that we do not think in a box and find ourselves enclosed in the Hwa Chong/Raffles model.

    Take a look at the ACS schools for instance. There are ACJC, ACS Independent, ACS Barker with feeder primary schools ACS Primary and ACS Junior. You do not read of them opposing the development of their sister/competing schools.

    Another possible model is that if VJC manages to attract the more academically inclined and VS the more sports inclined, VJC can develop into a premier academic institution in the East (comparable to the premier institutions in Bishan and Bukit Timah) and VS, with an already strong sports tradition, the premier sports school in the East (comparable to the Singapore Sports School.)

    Let us live up to "Victoria is something more", be more creative and come up with more options.

    Change, we must.

  • If VS is keen to provide a 6 year IP, I suggest getting a girl's school to join in so as to balance the ratio. Tanjong Katong Girl's would be a good choice since many TKGS students go to VJC (I stand to be corrected). If no girl's school is interested, then let VJC start the sec 1 program for girls only while boys will come from VS.

    If VS is against IP, then there is no conflict of interest since VJC will provide 6years through train while VS remains a 4year 'O'-level programme.

  • 1971 Old Boy
    15 August 2009 00:48

    Victorians, it’s confirmed, the Principal of VJC has shown his true colour. The Straits Times today has reported that VJC Pincipal has submitted proposal to MOE to start admitting pupils from Secondary 1..

    It’s very disappointing as he was in the panel (held in VS auditorium) about 1-2 years ago assuring the VOAs that he will NOT DO anything without consulting and affecting VS! The same guy now is back tracking. Can we trust him?

    Let’s stand up and do something. Anybody has any idea of an effective “blockage”? Why should we allow him to use the Vistoria name for his advantage at our expense?

  • Reply to "Thy Victories We Share Yet",
    Do not be naive. We can draw parallels with ACS(Independent) and ACS (Barker Rd). ACSI get the cream of the students who want an ACS education. ACS (Barker Rd) become the dumping ground for those who cannot get into ACSI.
    For your info, ACS (Barker Rd) is a Band-8 school. Band-9 is the worst academically and Band-1 is the best, of which VS is one.
    With VJC small compound area, it will be illogical for VJC to absorb VS (since it is redunant any way due to poor academic results). Future Singaporeans can read about VS in VJC's history.
    VS become the 2nd Nantah of Singapore.

  • Reply to "1971 Old Boy":
    Yes. I agree with you on the idea of an effective blockage. I will open a discussion on this today in Facebook.

  • Old Boys and the turf they guard
    by Lin Yan Qin
    Updated 02:10 PM Aug 14, 2009

    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 (Corrected at 1:45 PM Aug 14, 2009).

    "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.

  • A Victorian in the 6
    15 August 2009 09:38

    How is VJC going to maintain close ties with VS and work in partnership to keep the Victorian spirit strong while in the same breath "killing" VS. What a hypocrite you are, VJC! Ms Audrey Chan, you simply don't feel and understand the Victorian spirit when you uttered the statement to the Straits Times.

  • Ever since the introduction of IP, it is understood that each year, a number of VS students (not necessarily all the best, but a majority of them) have opted for the IP after sec 2. In the beginning, it was thought that this was going to hollow out the school's o level cohorts and adversely affect the school's results and ranking. However, since then VS has continued to achieve great results and consistently ranked in band one. Even better, several VS boys from the recent years' o level batches have secured prestigous PSC scholarships, including SAF Overseas and OMS Scholarships.

  • according to psc website, the following are the Scholars from VS in 2008 and 2009:

    Conran Chia, awarded SAF Overseas Scholarship to study Economics at University College, UK, in 2008

    Mansoor s/o Amir awarded Spore Govt Scholarship (Open) to study Law & Economics in UK in 2008 (he was Head Prefect of VS in 2005)

    Calvin Han, awarded OMS (Open) to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge University in 2009

  • I think Old Boy has missed my point. If VS is unable to complete with VJC for the better students, then VS will be unable to compete with other good schools too.

    Talk to the primary GEP cohort at the top GEP primary schools. What are the schools they go to attend the open house and recruitment ?

    Raffles Institution
    Hwa Chong Institution
    NUS High School

    Their choices are probably in that order unless they really want to specialise in maths and science then NUS High will be their first choice.

    Where does VS stand ?

    If a merger is needed to attract the better students then VS is relying on VJC to attract the better students. If VS is unable to attract the better students now, then which institution is carrying the Victoria flag ? VJC or VS.

    Better to have VJC attract the better students than to lose them to other schools.

    VS should compete in open competition without protectionism from constraining VJC.

    It would be a real shame if VS can only stay in Band 1 by protecting it from competition from VJC or any other school.

    Should we ask the Singapore Sports School to withdraw from all sports competition so that VS can become champions ?

    A VS that cannot thrive under competition is not one that I would be proud of.

  • Reply to "Thy Victories We Share Yet":
    There is a limit what the school and its alumni can do for the students. Before the 1990s, SJI and ACS academic standards were way below that of VS. SJI had or intended to take in "N" level students. (I can't confirm this). The school and its alumni can't do anything much, as they have to take in academically-weaker students from their affiliated primary schools. Then came their saviour in the form of independent schools. Each of the independent school was given $1 million (a lot of money 20 yrs ago) to kick off new programmes, add resources, etc. Even then, it took several years before they flourished (again). Think SJI and ACS in the 1st ST Ranking (some years after obtaining independent status) was more than 20th in position. (I do not have the exact figures).

  • What I am trying to say is that schools like SJI and ACS lost out in the open competition you mentioned, until "help" came from MOE in the form of independent schools.

  • A different rallying cry to all VS Victorians

    I would like to suggest a different rallying cry to all Victorians from VS.

    Stop the VJC bashing.

    Come together and think of ways to make VS better !

    VS CAN be better.

  • i think we should avoid drawing in other schools for comparison or whatever. SJI, to most people, will always be an excellent sch whether it is in the top league or not. If SJI wishes to do so, it could have easily drawn on its very big pool of big wig alumnus (counting at least three sr ministers in the present cabinet)to ensure that the sch remains as one of the top schools, academically. Although SJI is today no longer in the top ranking based on academic results (I think it was band 2 in the last ranking), we do not hear of the school or its alumnus making a commotion. To many people, SJI remains a good educational institution to send their children to study and be moulded into well rounded persons. Even one of the ministers, who was a third generation student of the sch, was reported in the press a couple of years ago, to have said that he would send his son to the sch to continue with the family tradition if he qualified for entry.

  • Info for VS forever, conran chia and mansoor both happened to be before VIP even started. And don't mind me saying doesn't one OMS seemed quite a small number relative to other band one schools?

    Also correct me if I am wrong OVA should be helping VS to do better, not attempt protectionism to preserve VS. Forward and not look at history.

  • Good Day,

    It's great to see so many VS boys stepping out to
    answer to Victoria's call.

    Allow me to present my stand:

    1) VJC was set up by old boys in 1984 with the purpose of providing a JC route for VS boys with good O Level scores.

    2) The current thru train trend, which prevails among top JCs, mean that their doors are almost shut to good students who do not share their origins.

    This only serve to accentuate VJC's duty and responsibility to provide good JC education to our bright VS boys.

    We have save VJC before ( in 2005 ), it will only be a mere routine for us this time.

    nil sine labore

  • I was initially put off by Old Boy's comments that "VS become the 2nd Nantah of Singapore".

    On reflection, something good for VS can come out of being the "2nd Nanyang", that is the NTU now offering the more applied engineering and business courses.

    VS can continue to offer the "O" levels and work closely with the polytechnics to prepare her students for entry to the more practical and applied courses there and hopefully these students can progress to NTU and the university partners which the polytechnics are going to work with to offer degree courses.

    On the other hand, VJC through its VIP (starting from Sec 1) can offer the usual more academic JC route to the "A" levels and university.

    The Victoria family will then be offering students a choice of two pathways to university: the VJC VIP "A" level route and the VS "O" level polytechnics route.

  • Pardon my tenses. Did my best 🙂

  • Reply to "Thy Victories We Share Yet",
    Perhaps you should check out with Nantah grads, many of which have distinguished themselves, whether they recognize NTU as Nantah successor. Some even declined comment when asked about Nantah.
    If VS mission is to sent her students to the polytechnics, I don't think there is much difference between VS and a neighbourhood school. But this is the likely scenario in the future, VS will be just another neighbourhood school.

  • VS is not an elite school in the sense that it is not associated with pomposity or wealth or whatever. It is certainly a good government all boys school (the only remaining one) which carries on its traditions of drawing into its fold students from diverse backgrounds and producing alumnus who bring distinction to the school by their great contributions to society be it in government, military services, business, art, sports, etc. There is certainly a place in Singapore for an institution like VS to flourish for eternity. In the meantime, let us give thanks to the principal and teachers of the school for their dedication and devotion which have enable VS to do very well in both academic and CCA in recent years.

  • I think Old Boy has missed my point again.

    I wrote about the "2nd Nanyang" (a pun on Old Boy's 2nd Nantah), NTU and not about the defunct Nantah which as a historical fact has been merged into NUS. NTU is not a 2nd Nantah.

    If VS is merged with VJC, then which instiution will be the new one ? VS or VJC ? If it is VJC or a new institution, then VS will cease to exist. VS will be merged into the new institution and Old Boy's prophecy of VS being a 2nd Nantah will come true.

  • As far as I know, Nantah alumnus registry has been transferred from NUS to NTU.

  • actually in spore, things change so fast that what hold in our memory of the past may not be what it is supposedly today. We are thankful that one of the few constants is VS which is still an all boys school with students hailing from all races and all walks of life and continuing to receive an all rounded education, combining reasonable level of excellence in both CCA and academic pursuits. For all their perceived prestige, the so called elite schools, esp those in the SAP schools are not what they are originally founded to be. Notably, the CHS in Bukit Timah is now known by another name and it is now a predominantly English stream school. What feelings of pride or nostalgia would the old boys of before, comprising people of all walks of life – sons of petty traders, farmers, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, tycoons, scholars – have of the present HCI?

  • This will be my last post on Nantah and NTU as they are not really relevant to the issue at hand.

    If Old Boy is interested, you may want to read an article by an assistant professor in the History Dept of NUS, Huang Jianli, "Dilemma and Anguish of the Chinese-Educated" in a new book by the Institute of Policy Studies, "Impressions of the Goh Chok Tong Years in Singapore" recently launched by Prof Tommy Koh and published by NUS Press.

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

    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 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 next one to offer a 6 year IP and will compete with VS for this pool of students. More JCs will follow.

    Even if you can stop VJC, can you stop the other JCs ?

  • Reply to "alamak":
    CHS and HCI are still known as Hua Qiao Zhong Xue in Chinese. The change in name in English does not really matter to them.
    It is like if VS name is change in Chinese from Wei Duo Li Ya Xue Xiao to Wei Duo Li Ya Zhong Xue, does not really matter to us.

  • The decision of the proposal should lie chiefly with the Education Minister, Ng Eng Hen, a former ACS student. From his perspective, the proposal is likely to go through. There is no reason for him to reject it. The only hope is for him to put the decision on hold and ask VJC to go back to the drawing board, and to further explore the idea of including VS in the IP school, together with another girls' school, eg TKGS. Coincidentally, the principal of TKGS, Phyllis Lim-Chua Suan Gek, is formerly a VJC student.

  • From the analysis in my previous comments, to compete for the top students (say top 10% with PSLE T-Score of 250 and above), a school in the Victoria family has to offer a 6 year IP.

    The school has to be either VS, VJC or a collaboration of VS and VJC.

    If some members believe VS should offer an egalitarian education instead of IP, then don't stand in the way of VJC.

  • I am truly disappointed in VJC going for an IP programme without much consideration of the student(esp current boys) of VS.

    My son scored 25+ in last year PSLE, which allowed him to get in some of the 2nd tier IP schools. We are confident that VS being the only government boy's school, could provide an all-round enduation for him. However, we also had the idea that VJC will take in students from VS and the chances of VS boys getting in are higher.

    Now this is not the case anymore. I am very sure many parents of the current VS boys are very upset over VJC IP proposal. Is there anyway, we as the parents of the VS's boys, could do something to help?

  • To "Thy Victories We Share Yet", there are always 2 sides to a situation.

    I do not think anyone is standing in the way of VJC. Have you ever consider how the current boys and the paretns would feel about this IP proposal? Especailly those who did well and have hight hope of applying for VJC either in Year 3 or after "O" level? Now the chances is nearly close to zero….

    You could be a parent someday(or maybe you are already one), which I wish that you could view the sitution from all angles and try to feel how the other party will feel.

  • Reply to mumofvsboy

    First of all, let me say that I am not privy to the details of the proposal and I don't think anyone jumping on the bandwagon to scuttle the proposal has either.

    My guess is that if your boy is currently in VS your son should be able to apply to enter in year 3 (no affiliation points) and to enter in year 5 through "O" levels (2 affiliation points) and would not be affected. The current schemes should not be affected by the new proposal to take in Sec 1 students. However you should check directly with VJC whether your son is affected by the new proposal. Have you ?

    Turn the clock back. If VJC had an IP from Sec 1, would your son have applied ? Would it have given your son a chance to enter VJC directly ?