Features, Highlights

ACS (International) to open in January 2005

Anglo-Chinese School family to have 6th new school

THERE will be a sixth Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) next year. Come January 2005 Anglo-Chinese School (International) – ACS (International), a private school – will open at the Buona Vista area near Holland Village.

It will cater to Singaporeans and foreigners who are attracted to the Singapore system of education, in particular, the “ACS brand of education”. The fee will be about $15,000 a year. The school will embrace the traditions of ACS and will be benchmarked against the high standards of ACS (Independent) at Dover Road.

Besides ACS (Independent), the other four existing ACS institutions are ACS (Junior), ACS (Primary), ACS (Barker Road) and Anglo-Chinese Junior College.

The Ministry of Education has approved the establishment of ACS (International), which will be co-educational. The Economic Development Board will facilitate and assist in its formation.

Its establishment is in line with the Government’s aim of making Singapore an educational centre of excellence to serve Singaporeans as well as students from the region.

And in tandem with that aim, ACS (International) has recruited two top educationists to spearhead the school. It has named an Englishman, the Rev Dr John C. A. Barrett, as the Principal, and the former Principal of the National Junior College (NJC), Mrs Goh Chi Lan, as the Executive Director.

They will report to a Board of Management headed by Mr Tan Wah Thong as Chairman, an appointee of Bishop Dr Robert Solomon. Mr Tan is the Chairman of the Anglo-Chinese Schools Board of Governors and Executive Director of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS).

The Rev Dr Barrett, 60, is currently the Headmaster of The Leys School, the prestigious Methodist private school in Cambridge, UK founded in 1875 by the Wesleyan Methodist Conference. He has been the Headmaster since 1990. He graduated with a B.A. (Hons) Economics from Newcastle University and an M.A. Theology from Cambridge University. He has many years of experience in teaching the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) as well as of working with students of many nationalities.

An ordained minister, he is currently serving as the Vice-Chairman of the World Methodist Council and Chairman of the British World Methodist Committee.

Mrs Goh, also 60, was a member of the fact-finding team that went to the United Kingdom and the United States in 1987 with the then Education Minister, Dr Tony Tan, to look at schools of excellence in the two countries. She was named Principal of the National Junior College in 1989. During her principalship she saw to the re-development of the NJC. She comes with a wealth of knowledge of the Singapore education system and experience with many foreign students from the region as well as Hong Kong, China and India.

Mr Tan said that the “ACS brand of education” imparts not only academic excellence but also leadership and qualities of sound character to the students through academic and co-curricular activities.

ACS (International) will be mission-oriented. There will be “strenuous emphasis” on developing leadership skills and character-building. Equally important will be the emphasis on Christian values and teachings in all the school’s activities, including sports and social competitions. The school’s pastoral care and career guidance programmes will reinforce character development and complement the various leadership programmes.

As the Rev Dr Barrett put it: “We are committed to the education of the whole person, body, mind and spirit. Of course we shall aim for academic excellence, but we shall aim too to have a full programme of physical activities including sports, and also to encourage students to explore man’s quest for meaning in life through art, literature, music, philosophy and religion.”

He has been appointed
Principal of ACS (International). MRS GOH CHI LAN:
She will be the Executive Director of ACS (International).

MCS firmly behind setting up of ACS (International)

The Methodist Church in Singapore is firmly behind the establishment of the school, and Bishop Dr Solomon has given it his personal support.

Added the Rev Dr Barrett: “My appointment will symbolise a partnership between The Methodist Church in Singapore and The Methodist Church in Britain, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue to fulfil my own vocation as a teacher, leader, pastor and preacher.”

When fully established, one special feature of the school will be the offer of a comprehensive programme consisting of two levels – the first level of normally 3½ years leading to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), and the second level of two years for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). (Total normally 5½ years, concluding after the May IB exams.)

The combination of IGCSE and IBDP makes ACS (International) unique as no other national school currently offers such programmes. By offering these two programmes, Singaporean as well as foreign students will be well prepared to meet the challenges of post-secondary and tertiary education.

Significant use will be made of IT to facilitate teaching and learning in which students will be able to use laptops in class as well as for homework.

The bilingual policy of the Singapore education system will be upheld. Singaporean students will be required to take their Mother Tongue. Chinese Language “B” will be offered.

The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) will also be offered to students intending to enrol in American universities.

A further distinctive feature, underlining the commitment to an all-round education will be the inclusion of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme within the school’s programme. All students aged 14 and above will be encouraged to take part, beginning with the Bronze Award.

There will be two intakes a year – in January and July/August – to facilitate students’ requirements and meet the convenience of entry for foreign students who have different school years.

The admission criteria for Secondary 1 entry point for the IGCSE are as follows:

Singaporeans and permanent residents and foreign students living in Singapore who have completed the Singapore Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and are eligible for the Express stream.
Foreign students who have completed primary education or one grade higher (after the first year of secondary school) in their home countries.

Applicants will be interviewed and will have to take a Placement Test.

The admission criteria for the first year IBDP (when the programme commences in 2007) are as follows:

Singaporeans, PRs and foreign students living in Singapore who have successfully completed the IGCSE or the GCE “O” level examination.

Foreign students who have successfully completed secondary education in their home countries. Applicants will be interviewed and will have to take a Placement Test.

Students enrolled in ACS (International) will be admitted in accordance with the stipulated age limit of the Ministry of Education. For each level, the age limit of +3 years over the normal age group will be adhered to.

Peter Teo is the Editor of Methodist Message.