Category Archives: Education

Tanjong Katong Secondary School

Tanjong Katong Secondary School, affectionately known as TK, is an autonomous co-educational school located in Katong. Before its autonomous status, the school was named by the Ministry of Education (MOE) as the ‘Best Non-Independent and Non-Autonomous Secondary School’ in Singapore. TK was presented the School Excellence Award in 2007. This is the most prestigious and highest status of awards presented by MOE to schools in Singapore. The school celebrated its Golden Jubilee – ’50 years of establishment’ in 2006, with Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong as the Guest-of-Honour.

The school was founded in 1956 as Tanjong Katong Technical School (TKT), enrolling only male students. At first it occupied a plot of swampy marsh next to the river Tanjong Katong. The address of 369 Tanjong Katong Road was among a belt of upper-middle suburban housing and old Joo Chiat and Katong shophouses nearby. Its early years were rocky as there was a common misconception about technical schools that only less-academically inclined boys attended. Nevertheless, the school was considered the top technical school then. In 1969 TKT began to take in female students.

The added competition of neighbouring secondary schools in the Katong area also meant that TKT had to fare better academically as most families had originally automatically sent their children to the nearest school. The option of having Pre-U classes helped and the school population soared to an all-time high of 5000 in 1979.

For some years the school was called Tanjong Katong Secondary Technical School. In 1993 the school was renamed Tanjong Katong Secondary School because TKT was losing its technical focus and was focusing on offering mainstream curriculum like Humanities and Science.

In 1996, the school took over the premises of the neighbouring Tanjong Katong Girls’ School and began operating single-session.

In 1998 the school moved to its new premises at 130 Haig Road. The following year, TK was one of the pioneering schools to be awarded the Sustained Achievement Award when the award was first introduced. The opening ceremony of the new campus was held in 2000. The school became one of the Top 20 Value-Added schools in 2001. In 2003, it was presented with the Sustained Achievement Award for Value-Added. In 2004, the school made headlines when its graduating cohort of students achieved a 98% distinction rate for Chemistry in the GCE ‘O’ Level examinations, the highest ever in Singapore.

In 2004 the school was accorded Autonomous status. Following the new status came the School Distinction Award; the school was one of the pioneer 12 schools to be given the award. Another addition that year was the presentation of Singapore Quality Class status in recognition of the efficient organisation of the school. The academic curriculum in the school was recognised when it received the Best Practice Award for Teaching and Learning. Other areas were recognised with the achievements of Sustained Achievement Awards for Physical Fitness, Uniformed Groups and Value-Added.

In 2006 the school celebrated its Golden Jubilee. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong joined in the celebration as the Guest-of-Honour. The school was presented the Sustained Achievement Award for Aesthetics and Best Practice Award for Student All-Round Development. The school band, Tanjong Katong Band, won the Best Display Band of The Year award for 10 years running, a feat no other secondary school in Singapore has achieved.

TK was presented the School Excellence Award in 2007. This is the most prestigious and the highest status of awards given by MOE. The school made headlines again as it is the 8th secondary school to be presented the award, alongside many top schools in Singapore. In the year 2007, the inaugural “Model Class Award” was awarded to Class 4C.

Tao Nan School

Tao Nan is probably the most popular primary school in the District 15. With rich heritage, top ranking and reputation, it has been sought after by parents who seeks to volunteer in the school or register a residence within 1 km of the neighbourhood. Below is an excerpt of the history behind this well known Singapore education institute.

 

Tao NanTaonan school map

Excerpt from Infopedia

One of Singapore’s oldest primary schools, Tao Nan School was established on 18 November 1906 with financing from the Hokkien Huay Kuan. It was the one of the first six modern Chinese schools to be set up in Singapore. Originally located at an ornate building at Armenian Street, the school moved to the Marine Parade neighbourhood in 1982. The original school building at Armenian Street now houses the Peranakan Museum.

Early history
The establishment of Tao Nan School was initiated by Tan Boo Liat, great-grandson of entrepreneur and philanthropist Tan Tock Seng. It gained support from Hokkien merchants and was aided by the Singapore Hokkien Association (Hokkien Huay Kuan). Chen Baochen, purportedly a tutor of the last Qing Emperor Puyi, was credited with naming the school Daonan Xuetang or “Tao Nan Study Hall”. Tan Kim Ching’s residence at Siam House, opposite St Andrew’s Cathedral along North Bridge Road, served as the temporary location of the school. The first enrolments numbered between 90 and 100 students but this number tripled within the first three months.

Initially admitting only Hokkien students, in 1909 Tao Nan became the first modern Chinese school in Singapore to accept students from different dialect groups in order to increase cohesiveness within the Chinese community. Its curriculum was aimed at promoting Chinese culture and appreciating Chinese values, with lesson centred on Confucian classics, history and geography. In 1916, it became the first school to turn away from dialects and use Mandarin as the medium of instruction.

Tao Nan School
Construction of a school building was proposed by industrialist Tan Kah Kee. A plot of land at Armenian Street was purchased with $10,000 donated by sugar baron Oei Tiong Ham in 1910. As President of the School Board, Tan Kah Kee embarked on a donation drive to finance the building project. The drive raised $40,000. The neoclassical school building with features of the French Renaissance was completed in March 1912. The school moved from North Bridge Road to Armenian Street and was renamed Daonan Xuexiao or “Tao Nan School”, according to a directive from China’s Ministry of Education.

English lessons were introduced in 1914. The school subsequently changed its medium of instruction to Mandarin in 1916, making it the first school in Singapore to turn from dialects. It was closed during the Japanese Occupation but was reopened two months after the Japanese surrender. It became a government-aided school in 1958 and improved its standard of English by hiring more English teachers and allotting more time to the subject.

In 1957, Tao Nan School became a government-aided school and the time allocation for English lessons was increased. The Urban Renewal Programme of 1971 moved numerous families from the city to the suburbs. This led to a decline in student population in Tao Nan until 1976, when the Hokkien Huay Kuan decided that Tao Nan be moved to the suburbs to cater to the population there.

Recent developments
Construction at the new site in Marine Parade began in 1980 and by the following year, the building was ready. After 76 years in the city, Tao Nan moved to Marine Parade in 1982. In 1983, the new school building was declared officially open by then Defence Minister Goh Chok Tong. In 1990, the school was selected for the Special Assistance Programme (SAP). Since then, it has established itself as a school providing a well-balanced Chinese and English education.

The original school building at Armenian Street was refurbished as the Asian Civilisation Museum in 1996. In 1998, the building was gazetted as a national monument by the Preservation of Monuments Board as a reflection of the social and cultural roots of early Chinese immigrants in Singapore. In 2005, the building was redeveloped to house the Peranakan Museum.

Tao Nan School graduates include prominent public figures such as philanthropist Lee Kong Chian and former Minister of State Ow Chin Hock. Pan Shou, Singapore’s award-winning Chinese calligrapher, was also an ex-principal at the old Tao Nan School.

Authors
Lim Siew Yeen & Renuka M.