(Source: www.channelnewsasia.com)

SINGAPORE: Rumours of junior colleges merging for the first time were already circulating online, but when it was finally confirmed by the principal at Serangoon Junior College (SRJC) on Thursday (Apr 20), the reaction was immediate.

The students erupted in chatter, discussing the implications of the JC moving out of its current site on Upper Serangoon Road and joining forces with Anderson JC. The school’s principal, Mr Manogaran Suppiah, assured them that standards will remain high, and that the culture of the school will be retained, said a JC 1 student, who wanted to be known as Jaime.

“Many of us came here because of the school’s caring culture,” she told Channel NewsAsia. However, she was not surprised at the merger. Her class has fewer than 20 students, and the debate team shut down this year for lack of members, she said. Jaime was worried that annual events such as a run and a carnival will no longer continue. The school will merge with Anderson JC in Ang Mo Kio, one of four such mergers announced by the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Thursday (Apr 20). The four JCs that will close – Serangoon, Tampines, Innova and Jurong – will stop taking in JC1 students from next year.

Students were given a one-hour break before the principal addressed them. During this break, there was a lot of speculation about what was happening as students noticed photos of their school floating online. They had already figured out then that there was going to be a merger, students told Channel NewsAsia.

In a briefing on the merger earlier on Thursday, the MOE said that the history and heritage of the schools will continue to be passed down to future cohorts through a heritage space in the merged schools’ buildings.

Another concern at SRJC was the future of co-curricular activities (CCAs). Without JC 2 students, some students expressed concern that some of their groups will be shut down. Others were worried about losing the good reputation of their CCA groups. For instance, SRJC is known for its prowess in rock-climbing.

At Jurong Junior College (JJC), rumours had been swirling since the beginning of the year, but students were still surprised about the looming disappearance of the school’s name, which carries with it close to 40 years of history. JJC will be merging with Pioneer JC (PJC).

“In the future, we won’t be JJ alumni. You kind of lose your home. I’m concerned about this because there’s always been a general rivalry (with PJC) when it comes to sports and results because we are so close,” said JC 1 student Rebecca Leong.

Fellow student Ang Hua Bin felt differently. He said that if he had known what was going to happen before he joined the school, he may have chosen to go elsewhere.

“We just started, and they tell us that this school will close down. It’s demoralising. In the future, I’d technically be from an unrecognised school,” he said.

Students from Tampines Junior College (TPJC) were surprised by the news, as there had been no sign at all that a merger was in the pipeline. One student, who did not want to be named, said that there were 20 to 24 students in a class, which is the “standard size”.

Despite some concerns, there was also some excitement, especially about there being extra space. Jaime said: “The seniors usually monopolise certain areas, so I am glad we won’t have to compete anymore.”

JJC student Wong Choon Pin said that while he was sad, he knows that several people were happy that they would have the school to themselves.

Badminton player Bryan Teo said that there was a possibility that the schools would have to merge school teams next year. He took it in a positive note. “There’ll be good players from both sides. Overall, the team will be better,” he said.  

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