Victoria school alumni: Boys only please, but executive committee pushes for co-education and merger with VJC

By Nurul Asyikin Mohd Nasir, newsroom intern

THEY have been labelled as ‘stubborn and in denial’.

Stubborn because they have refused to compromise on their stand, and in denial because they believe there is no need for too drastic a change to bring about progress.

At a press conference called by the Old Victorians Association (OVA), president Vernon Teo ‘stubbornly’ reiterated his stand, which the OVA has held since 2005.

That there is no need for Victoria School (VS) to go co-educational to go up the academic ladder, as it is already achieving this.

But the school’s executive committee has been pushing for it to go co-ed and merge with Victoria Junior College (VJC).

Go public

When the committee backed VJC’s latest proposal to extend its Victoria Integrated Programme to start at Secondary 1 rather than Sec 3, the OVA decided that it was time to make its position public.

Mr Teo and two OVA council members – property developer Lim Chap Huat and former Business Times news editor Quak Hiang Whai – said the OVA was ‘saddened, disappointed, and puzzled’ by the proposal.

If the proposal, under review by the Ministry of Education (MOE), goes through, VJC will be in direct competition with VS both for boys as well as in inter-school competitions.

Mr Teo, 46, managing director of CPD Productions, likened the proposal to ‘seeing a close sibling leave without knowing why’.

‘What is their objective? This is something not thoroughly communicated to us stakeholders,’ said Mr Teo, referring to VS-VJC alumni, parents, and current students alike.

To Mr Teo and the more than 1,000 alumni who have made their voices heard on Internet petitions, VJC’s proposal is ‘not sustainable’ and ‘could hurt both sides’.

The OVA, he added, was not against change and progress.

‘The educational landscape is changing. But surely there must be workable solutions that would not break up the family,’ he said.

‘We are adamant about keeping VS’ legacy as the best environment for education is in a single-sex school.’

The OVA says it arrived at its position in a measured manner.

It conducted several ‘public consultation exercises’ where it sought feedback from stakeholders about the issue.

‘There is unanimous resistance from the old boys, parents and even the public to the current situation (where VJC will go on its own and compete with VS),’ said Mr Teo.

So the OVA has come up with three counterproposals.

The first is a VS-VJ merger, but with a centralised management, in the style of Raffles Institution and Hwa Chong Institution, while maintaining traditions.

The second is for the Victoria family to collaborate with an existing all-girls’ school to ‘provide students’ for the six-year integrated programme. VS would groom the boys and the sister school the girls, before the two streams join in Year Five of the programme.

Or, the OVA suggests, as did The New Paper in July, the establishment of an all-girls’ school within the Victoria family.

The female students would then study at a separate campus.

The 1,100-strong OVA claims it does not intend ‘to interfere with the running of the school or schools’.

Said Mr Teo: ‘We are merely concerned about preserving our heritage and whether the new entity would be fit to carry our ‘brand’ name.’

Mr Teo said the green light for the submission of the proposal was given after a vote by the Victoria Executive and Advisory Committee. However, The New Paper understands that only seven members turned up to vote.

The other 11 members were apparently canvassed for their vote on the phone.

When contacted, VJC principal Chan Poh Meng would say only that ‘the MOE is in the process of assessing the workability and suitability of the extension of the (integrated programme).’

Executive and advisory committee acting chairman Ng Yat Chung also declined to comment.

Mr Teo said: ‘Come back to the family and talk. There’ll be no hard feelings.’

MOE confirmed it had received a letter from the OVA regarding VJC’s proposal to extend its integrated programme. It said it is in the process of evaluating the proposal.

1. A VS-VJ merger with centralised management.
2. Collaboration with existing all-girls’ school to ‘provide students’ for the Victoria Integrated Programme
3. Establishment of its own all-girls’ school within the Victorian family

Source: The New Paper

19 Comments. Leave new

  • Lee Yew Choong
    9 September 2009 16:55

    I support the OVA's proposals to preserve the rich heritage that we have in VS. I am so sad to see VJC act the way it did.

  • OVA should in the meantime stop supporting VJC's activities. In time to come, if the 6-yr IP is implemented, ties with VJC should be cut. A motion can be tabled at OVA AGM to cut ties with VJC. VJC can have her own VJC Alumni.

  • VS & VJC alumni
    9 September 2009 19:52

    LOL!! I am surprised at the extreeme reaction from alumni. VS and VJC are both represented in OVA. No wonder VJC alum are far and few in between in the OVA if the attitudes of people in OVA are like that. OVA – do not forget that you represent the Victoria family, not just VS or for that matter, a small vocal community. No matter what you think of VJC, the fact is that VS has no monopoly on the Victoria name. Otherwise how do you account for all the other Victoria primary/secondary/bridge/etc that some other people dug up in our history?

    Being from both VS and VJC, I find it pointless to have to join two alumni associations. We have become a laughing stock due to our endless roadblocks for the IP, whatever its merits or demerits. So let's not become another laughing stock by becoming two schools sharing the same name but having nothing in common – some people are calling for the school song in VJC to be changed?? Be real.


    1. A VS-VJ merger with centralised management.
    2. Collaboration with existing all-girls’ school to ‘provide students’ for the Victoria Integrated Programme
    3. Establishment of its own all-girls’ school within the Victorian family"

    If you read the OVA's counter proposals carefully, they all suggest working as one Victoria family.

    I think readers of this blog need to distinguish the official public statements of the OVA from personal comments and opinions of individual members.

    Emotional outbursts, VJC bashing and talks of cutting off ties will not achieve the objective of getting VJC to work with VS to develop a common VIP.

    My opinion is that MOE will approve the proposal that best serve the needs of current and future students in the Victoria family in line with current national education policies. Sentiments and tradition may not count much unless they serve these purposes.

    Rather than looking at this episode as a breaking off of ties, use this as an opportunity to get VJC and VS to become "One Victoria".

    With the wisdom of hindsight, I think an opportunity was lost to get VJC and VS to collaborate closer when VJC started its 4 year VIP without any objections. It is now proposing to just "extend its VIP by two years". This time round, do not lose the opportunity to work towards a common VJC-VS VIP.

  • Mun Kwok Theen
    9 September 2009 21:02

    The discussions about Victoria Junior College (VJC)'s Integrated Programme (IP) have been carried out for at least 6 years. I thought the positions of the various vested parties have been well understood after these dialogues here over the years.

    Therefore, I am equally surprised that VJC went ahead to submit the latest proposal to MOE for consideration with the endorsement of the Victoria Executive and Advisory Committee (VEC/VAC) without informing, much less consulting the other affected vested parties.

    All these years, I have hold the opinions as those listed in the above "OVA’S COUNTER PROPOSALS". In the first place, I believe that we should properly evaluate the pros and cons of an IP over the usual 'O' and 'A' Level course path. Has any study been done to prove that which path is better for the overall development of the students?

    I seriously believe that the so-called benefits of extra curriculum under an IP can be equally applied creatively to the usual course path. Therefore, I wish to question the real motives behind an IP, which seem to be not clearly mentioned.: Is it grab students while they are still in secondary schools in order to arrest the dropping enrollment due to the increasing popular polytechnic path?

    In my honest personal opinion, it is risky to commit students to a 4- or 6-year IP at such a young age before they have even experience the full workload of taking over 10 subjects as compared to just 4 subjects in primary schools. What are the available options to those who wish to drop out of an IP along the way to rejoin the other paths of 'O' Level, polytechnic or further studies overseas? Is it possible for the gifted students to speed up graduation by skipping a year of study through taking the 'A' Level or university level (eg. H3 subject) examinations in parts or in full earlier?

    However, if VJC strongly feels that it needs to rely on the implementation of a 6-year IP to get most of its students, it will have to go alone to build up its own reputation in providing a good secondary education and enjoy the fruit of success or bear the consequences of failure. Whatever its final decision, I wish it all the best.

    Any comments to my above opinions are kindly appreciated.

  • Reply to VS & VJC alumni,
    Yes. VS has no monopoly over the Victoria name. VJC Alumni Association can still use the Victoria name.

  • Reply to Mun Kwok Theen,
    Despite much criticism of the Gifted Education Programme since 25 yrs ago, MOE is still pro-GEP. Below is a speech by the Education Minister a few weeks ago. IP is here to stay.

    Gifted Education Programme has positive effect on education system
    Channel NewsAsia – Saturday, August 22SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Gifted Education Programme (GEP) has had a positive effect for the whole education system, said Education Minister Ng Eng Hen.


    Lessons learnt have been applied to design better and more effective ways to help all students learn.

    Speaking at a dinner on Friday to mark 25 years of the GEP, Dr Ng said the ministry’s gifted education branch has continuously adapted the best practices of renowned programmes internationally for the local context.

    Singapore’s success in the programme has also attracted international attention, with several countries sending officials to learn more about it.

    To date, almost 6,000 students have graduated from the GEP.

    Dr Ng said: "Many of the early pedagogical approaches that were introduced to the first batches of GEP — such as research work, infusion of critical and creative thinking skills, special programmes and their mentorship schemes — have been enhanced and are now extended to other mainstream students who can also benefit from them."

    — CNA/yt

  • The IP was first started by the secondary schools with GEP classes (top 1%) as an extension of the GEP programme to the rest of their schools as these schools take in the top 2-3% of the cohort.

    Now the schools and JCs offering IPs have intakes with PSLE T-Score of at least 250 and above.

    In other words, the current situation is that only the top 10% of the cohort get to enrol in an IP.


    VS 2009 intake PSLE T-Score

    Aggregate range of 2008 Primary 6 pupils posted to 2009 Secondary 1

    Lower Upper Mean Median
    246 270 252 251….

    The mean and median from 2006 – 2008 have stayed fairly stable at about 250 which means that the intake is about the top 10% of the cohort.

    Given that VS mean/median PSLE T-Score are at about 250, VS should be able to attract boys with PSLE T-Score of 250 and above for a joint VIP with VJC.


    VS could also run two programmes:

    1. VIP (with VJC)for the higher ability students
    2. "O" levels for the rest

    just like ACS (I)with

    1. IB for the higher ability students
    2. "O" levels for the rest


    MOE Website on IP and GEP


  • Does an IP make VS elitist ?

    Definition of "elite":

    "the best or most skilful people in a group"

    Does attracting the "elite" as defined above make VS "elitist" which means

    "supporting or based on a system in which a small group of people have a lot of advantages and keep the most power and influence" ?

    Somehow I find it difficult to reconcile the action of proudly highlighting a list of prominent Victorians in one breath and then saying in the same breath that an IP will make VS "elitist".

    I recall vaguely that a few years ago, VS did have a GEP class which did not continue for long because of low enrolment after other schools implemented the IP. Then there was hardly any talk of elitism.

  • Reply to Victoria Reunite,
    "Elitism" – perhaps this is best left to the Singapore Government and the Education Ministry to answer. For the record, I have never mention anything about IP being elistist. ;}

  • Victoria School, thy voice we hear yet

    VJC has spoken.

    VEC/VAC was reported to have spoken in support of VJC.

    OVA has spoken.

    Old boys have spoken.

    Victoria School, what is your stand ? What is your proposal ?

    Victoria School, you have yet to speak !

  • Reply to Old Boy

    The commentary on IP being elitist is not a reply to your comments. It is a continuation of the preceding commentary on GEP and IP.

  • VJC has submitted a proposal to MOE.

    OVA has written a letter to MOE.

    Victoria School, what are you going to do ?

  • VS & VJC alumni
    10 September 2009 03:32

    VJC Alumni Association? Then OVA should also change its name to VS Alumni Association.

    Oh wait, then we should have an association for the Bridge School, the Primary School, and so on (assuming, with due respects, that the people who attended them are still alive today).

    Be real. You don't see Raffles having an alumni association for each RI or RGS or RJC.

    OVA cannot continue to be "OVA" if part of the Victoria family is not within its alumni network.

  • OVA can have a name change as well, just don't associate it with a competing school and one that stab you in the back.
    RJC does not compete with RI. As a matter of fact, RJC no longer exist.
    Go back to your papa, Mr Chan.

  • “In the meantime, what more can be done?”

    Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

    What happens if MOE accepts VJC’s current proposal and there is no agreement with VJC ?

    Work on a BATNA now

    B: Best
    A: Alternative
    T: To
    N: No
    A: Agreement

    OVA can propose to VS to propose to run two programmes

    1. 6 year IP or IB for higher ability students
    2. 4 year “O” levels for the rest

    like ACS (I).

    Ask the government for the empty site next to VS and expand VS.

    Master Plan 2008
    Type in 2 in box for Block/House Number
    Type in Siglap Link in box for Street Name)

  • ACS went co-ed for its IP. So this is out of the question.
    VS took 20 yrs to get present Siglap site. This is after Goh Chok Tong step in for RI. Unless there is strong justification, govt unlikely to give the site.

  • "The discussions about Victoria Junior College (VJC)’s Integrated Programme (IP) have been carried out for at least 6 years. I thought the positions of the various vested parties have been well understood after these dialogues here over the years.

    Therefore, I am equally surprised that VJC went ahead to submit the latest proposal to MOE for consideration with the endorsement of the Victoria Executive and Advisory Committee (VEC/VAC)"

    Looking back and with the wisdom of hindsight, VJC has been an excellent negotiator in using BATNA.

    No agreement: implement BATNA which is 4 year IP first.

    Still no agreement: implement the next BATNA which is 6 year IP.

    VJC has a BATNA but OVA and VS don't seem to have come out with one.

    Hence the weaker negotiating position.


    B: Best
    A: Alternative
    T: To
    N: No
    A: Agreement

  • Mun Kwok Theen
    18 September 2009 23:53

    Yes, VJC has a BATNA all these years but OVA and VS still don’t seem to have come out with one yet.

    Going by this line of argument, how about Victoria School setting up a primary school as a feeder school for VIP and other programmes?

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