'Smart move' or 'epic fail'? Netizens divided over ACS' decision to move, go co-ed
Never mind the news that Singapore will officially move to Dorscon green on Feb 13, after more than three years of living with heightened health alerts about Covid-19.
The buzz on social media on Thursday (Feb 9) instead centred on a school's decision to relocate and be more inclusive.
Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) announced that it will move from its current Barker Road campus in Newton to Tengah in 2030, with the aim of being accessible to as many pupils as possible.
The new ACS Primary, to be located in the up-and-coming Housing Board town in the west of Singapore, will also accept girls from the same year for the first time.
Comments and opinions on the matter from parents of ACS students, old boys, and the general public have been forthcoming, to say the least.
From tongue-in-cheek comments on chat forums about the school's decision to be co-ed ("because of the falling birth rate is it"?), to its unexpected move to Tengah in 2030 ("which minister's children bought property there?"), the reactions have been as amusing as they have been mixed.
On social media threads, netizens didn't hold back.
“Moving ACS from affluent location to low SES (socioeconomic status) HDB town in far-away western Singapore is considered a downgrade and an insult to the high SES culture of the school and its alum, #epicfail,” said one Jeremy Tan.
“Where is Tengah?” asked Robbi Kuromi.
“So their (uniform) will say ‘ACS Tengah’? Doesn’t sound very atas (upscale),” read one comment.
Then there were those who speculated on property prices in the area, suggesting that Housing Board flats and private houses in Tengah – located some 20km from central Singapore – will “finally increase”.
Real estate agency Propnex wasted no time themselves in issuing a statement on the matter.
“We think the relocation of ACS Primary from Barker Road in the Novena area to Tengah will increase the appeal of Tengah, and draw more younger couples and families to the new estate,” said Ms Wong Siew Ying, Head of Research and Content, PropNex Realty.
The rationale behind the move to Tengah, said Mr Richard Seow, chairman of the ACS board of governors, is to provide both male and female students "with the opportunity to receive a well-rounded primary school education without being constrained by school options in the new neighbourhood".
“If you allow us, we’d open more schools,” he said, adding that ACS hopes to draw in more students of greater diversity beyond those that live within its vicinity.
Some were in agreement of that sentiment and direction.
Facebook user Henry Sharp said: “Thank you ACS and the Methodist Board, you have been magnanimous in making this deep seating change to level up Singapore’s education for everyone. I am not an ACS boy but I applaud your generosity. The Best Is Yet To Be!”
Another user, Wilkie Ong, said: “What the school has done to shake off the snob school image is commendable… cohort size now is very small because of population policies; you remain as boys school (you) make it worse… smart move indeed.”
But there were, of course, those who were a little more cynical:
Referring to the expected merger of the Barker Road campus of ACS (Primary) and ACS (Junior) on Winstedt Road in 2033, Instagram user Vincent Sim said: “The school in Tengah will just be regarded as a regular neighbourhood school. And then there will be an ACS high ses and ACS low ses.
“Old boys who really want to send their kids to ACS won’t send them to the one in Tengah – even if they live in Tengah.”