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