10 Really Old Schools That Shaped Singapore’s History

5. Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) Schools

As many of you may already know, there’s more than one CHIJ school in Singapore. To be exact, there are 11 different CHIJ schools, made up of primary and secondary schools.

While founding SJI, Father Jean-Marie Beurel realised that girls needed to be educated too. This inspired him to write to the Infant Jesus Sisters in France, encouraging them to send nuns to Singapore to help set up a school.

When the sisters finally reached Singapore in 1854, they lived at Caldwell House, near Bras Basah Road and Victoria Street.

Caldwell House eventually became a safe haven for orphans and a place where they could learn from the sisters.

CHIJ had to eventually relocate to Toa Payoh, to make way for new developments.

6. Gan Eng Seng School

Following a trend for firsts, Gan Eng Seng School (GESS) is the first school to be founded and supported by a Chinese benefactor in the Straits Settlements.

The school had its first year in 1885, and was known as Anglo-Chinese Free School. It was only renamed after, as a nod to it’s founder, Gan Eng Seng.

Gan Eng Seng was a businessman who had a dream to build a school for the less fortunate, where they could learn English and Chinese. GESS was the only school at the time that offered a bilingual education to its students.

In 1987, GESS accepted its first batch of girls. Prior to that, the school was solely a boys-only school.

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