Singapore will merge more schools in the next three years amid declining birth rates meaning shrinking classrooms.
Eighteen government schools will be combined in the latest merger, starting with Juying Primary School in Jurong West taking students next year from Pioneer, which will become a train works, the Ministry of Education, or MOE, announced today, attributing its latest move to falling enrollment as people have fewer babies to send to school.
“Declining birth rates, coupled with changing demographics in our housing estates, have led to falling enrolment in several of our schools, even as some areas experience rising demand for school places,” the ministry said in a statement. “To respond to these developments, MOE regularly reviews the need for school mergers or to build new schools in new housing estates.”
Both Juying and Pioneer are also located in older communities that have been around since the ‘70s.
Singapore’s birth rate plunged last year to a historic low of 1.1, well below the population-sustaining level of 2.1. Data shows a baby bump every 12 years on the Chinese Year of the Dragon, which is believed to be an auspicious time to have babies.
A total of eight primary and 10 secondary schools will be merged.
In addition to Juying and Pioneer, Eunos Primary will be absorbed by Telok Kurau, Stamford Primary by Farrer Park, Guangyang Primary by Townsville, Ping Yi Secondary by Bedok Green, Chua Chu Kang Secondary by Teck Whye, Greenridge Secondary by Fajar, Tanglin Secondary by New Town, and Fuchun Secondary by Woodlands Ring.
The remaining nine schools may operate under the same or a new name.
Other than Pioneer’s train yard, no property development plans have been announced for the other eight properties.
Singapore announced in 2017 a round of mergers involving 28 schools, including junior colleges.