Schools facing low enrolment in the past were usually ordered to close. However Ministry of Education (MOE) had decided since 2002 to merge these schools instead to “form a good size school”. This is good news to pioneer schools as they are still able to preserve their history after the merge unlike those unpopular ones before 2002, whose name and history are now only remembered by their alumni. If you are an alumnus of any of the absorbed schools, your child is still eligible to be registered in the merged school under phase 2A(2). However, if your school has been closed for good, you’d have to join the back of the queue again.
1. Bedok West Primary School (Bedok)
To merge with Damai Primary School in 2015
Formerly known as Kaki Bukit Primary School, it was renamed Bedok West when it shifted to 50 Bedok Reservoir in 1984. For many years since its relocation, the school functioned as a single session school until the end of 1995 when there was a demand for more places and the school had to function both sessions. Its pupil population increased and hit 1468 in 40 classes in a particular year. The school serves pupils living in Bedok area and the neighbouring areas such as Eunos, Tampines, Pasir Ris and Changkat Changi.
Probably due to population shift, the school suffered a precipitous drop in enrolment in recent years. The last recorded population in 2013 was 600. During P1 registration last year, it only had 35 pupils registered out of a possible 150.
2. Hong Kah Primary School (Bukit Gombak)
To merge with Lianhua Primary School in 2015
I used to live about 15 minutes walk away from the school, which started in 1994. Being a resident of Bukit Gombak for 20 over years, I’m pretty familiar with the schools in the neighbourhood. Moreover, two of my best friends were ex-students of Hong Kah Primary as well. From their account, I have to say that this absorption is inevitable.
There are 4 primary schools in the small housing area of Bukit Gombak alone – St. Anthony’s (my alma mater), Lianhua, Dazhong and Hong Kah – and sad to say, Hong Kah is the least popular among all. It faces very stiff competition from neighbouring schools like St Anthony’s, the most popular in the area with oversubscription in phase 2C. According to my friends, parents only enroll their kids there as a last resort when they can’t get a spot at St. Anthony’s Some never even considered about Hong Kah Primary.
With just 23 applicants for its 150 vacancies in 2014, I’m also unsure of the reason for its unpopularity. Could it be due to its less than exceptional academic performance? Nevertheless, I’m certain that it’s remote location plays a part in its closure.