'Heartland', 'Experienced' used too loosely in education article

Martino Tan| October 11, 10:23 AM

The Straits Times (ST) reported that 60 heartland schools will be getting new principals next year, and the headline touted "experienced principals for heartland schools".


Source: The Straits Times, Oct. 11, 2013


I thought it was a "Teach for America" (TFA) moment, where high-achieving experienced professionals are asked to teach at "heartland, neighbourhood schools".

TFA is an American non-profit organisation, whose mission is to "eliminate educational inequity by enlisting high-achieving recent college graduates and professionals to teach" for at least two years in low-income communities throughout the United States.

But, disappointingly, another article reported that 25 are newly-appointed principals. So not all 60 principals are not quite as experienced.


CNA article

Source: Channel NewsAsia, Oct. 11, 2013


60 - 25 = 35. Among the remaining 35 to-be-appointed principals, nine were formerly from MOE divisions while two were former principals/vice-principals. Some appeared to be highly experienced education policy-makers but I am not sure if all are experienced principals.

The transfer of the remaining 24 principals are listed below, taken from MOE's press release.


Experienced Principals "Heartland" Schools
1 Ms Chong from Dunman Secondary School Anglo-Chinese Junior College
2 Mrs Tan from Hong Kah Secondary School Millennia Institute
3 Mr Chan from Victoria Junior College Raffles Institution
4 Mr Toh from Damai Secondary School Admiralty Secondary School
5 Mr Leong from Coral Primary School Assumption Pathway School
6 Mdm Lee from Orchid Park Secondary School Clementi Town Secondary School
7 Mdm Tan from Riverside Secondary School Fajar Secondary School
8 Mdm Sung from Woodgrove Secondary School Hong Kah Secondary School
9 Mrs Ong from Zhonghua Secondary School MacPherson Secondary School
10 Mr Shawal from Jurongville Secondary School Orchid Park Secondary School
11 Mr Tan from Physical Education & Sports Teacher Academy Singapore Sports School
12 Mdm Koh from Admiralty Secondary School Yusof Ishak Secondary School
13 Mdm Chew from Maha Bodhi School Alexandra Primary School (new school already considered a heartland school?)
14 Mr Ong from Kong Hwa School Gan Eng Seng Primary School
15 Miss Cheah from Xinmin Primary School Jiemin Primary School
16 Mdm Chua from Tanjong Katong Primary School Kong Hwa School
17 Mrs Loh from Xinghua Primary School Kranji Primary School
18 Mrs Quek from Chongzheng Primary School Maha Bodi School
19 Mdm Ng from Peiying Primary School Northoaks Primary School (new school already considered a heartland school?)
20 Mr Lim from Anglo-Chinese Primary School Si Ling Primary School
21 Mdm Phan from Yangzheng Primary School West Spring Primary School  (new school already considered a heartland school?)
22 Mdm Chandrika from Jiemin Primary School Xinghua Primary School
23 Mr Sivam from Si Ling Primary School Xinmin Primary School
24 Mdm Lim from CHIJ Kellock Yu Neng Primary School


From a brief look, one can tell that some of these schools listed are very good schools, if not the best in Singapore.

At the risk of violating MOE's maxim that "Every School a Good School", I know that Anglo-Chinese Junior College, Raffles Institution, Assumption Pathway School, Singapore Sports School, Kong Hwa School, Orchid Park Secondary School, Xinmin Primary School are very good schools.  (Maybe readers can help us identify the good schools?) 

Again, Mothership.sg doesn't want anybody to get hurt, but I've two questions to ask.

1. How did the article assess schools such as Raffles Institution, Anglo Chinese Junior College and Xinmin Primary School to be heartland schools? Is it because Raffles Institution is located in the heartlands of Bishan?

2. ST closed with a quote from Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who noted that  "some experienced and well-regarded principals will be sent to heartland schools." If that is the case, why didn't ST follow up with examples of experienced principals moving to these schools?


Top photo from here

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