Outcry after ACS (Primary) announced relocation to Tengah, alumni create petition in protest
Updated: Feb 15
Images by Google Maps, Change.org and @preferredalways Twitter
A petition on Change.org was initiated for ACS (Primary) to remain at its current location at Barker Road following the announcement of its move to Tengah by 2030.
In addition, ACS (Primary) will admit girls into their school, making it a co-ed school.
The petition, which has garnered more than 2,500 signatures at the time of writing, also suggested that the move to Tengah would remove its long history there.
Changing it to a co-ed school also “ignores its all boys school tradition and culture created by Bishop William Fitzjames Oldham for ACS primary schools from 1886 until now, which has persisted for 137 years,” it added.
“This change would disrupt the traditions and culture built over years, and the passionate and warm feelings we have towards its heritage and location. This is why we should stop this change and allow the ACS tradition to carry on, not only its history, but also its location, which many of us hold dear in our hearts,” the petition added.
Why the move?
According to an internal letter circulated, Mothership reported that the school’s management had expressed its desire to explore how ACS can serve the needs of the community in the heartland.
It would also “inject more diversity” into the students’ profiles.
It also added that the move will provide an opportunity to expand the ACS family with a more diverse population, including people from other socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities and religious affinities.
This, in turn, would strengthen the school’s commitment to Bishop Oldham’s mission of serving the community and the nation by bringing quality education to a wider cross-section of society, the letter added as reported.
Parents, alumni, not consulted
According to an article by CNA, several parents and alumni were welcoming of the move, but they were not consulted.
One alumni, Adrian Wee, interviewed by CNA was supportive of the move but believed that “stakeholders and alumni deserve to be consulted”.
Mr Wee even added that the reason why they were not consulted was possibly because the change “would be unpopular”.
Similar sentiments were echoed by the signatories of the petition.
Whilst parents and alumni were visibly unhappy with the move, other netizens were more befuddled and cynical of the move.
The school has been known to be an “elitist” school so relocating it to the heartlands triggered some comments on how the students would position themselves.
Image from Reddit.sg Goenitz33
Image from Twitter @raygondra
Image from Twitter @lim_jialing
Possible increase in property prices around Tengah
In reporting the move, TODAY described ACS (Primary) as a “popular school” which draws students “who come from families from higher socioeconomic classes”.
The move might affect property prices, as parents are keen to enrol their children in the school, are known to rent or purchase houses near the location, pushing up property prices around the neighbourhood, TODAY reported.
Some Reddit users already noted the popularity of properties in Tengah with the relocation.
Images from Reddit.sg
Even as the best is yet to be at Tengah, the discussion of schools, whether it is located at a prime location or the heartlands, or an all-boys school or co-ed, it behoves to remember the famous words of then Education Minister Heng Swee Keat:
“Every school, a good school”.
Well, he clarified in Parliament in 2014: ““Every school a good school does not mean every school the same school. But it does mean every school good in its own way, seeking to bring out the best in every child.”