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History of Jing Shan Primary School - 70 Good Years
The Story Begins in 1944
1st Decade – 1944 to 1954
Jing Shan Primary School was set up in August 1944 and known as Chin San School (青山学校). It was a Chinese-medium school which was located at what is now known as Serangoon Gardens estate. Before the development of Serangoon Gardens estate, a village nested within this land area. The village was known as Chin San Nei (青山内) or Chin San Li (青山裡), meaning Chin San Village or Chin San Garden. Chin San School was named after this village.
Chin San School was started by a group of civic-minded villagers who felt that there was a need for a school in the locality to provide education to its young. They came together and raised money to build the school. At the same time, they looked for a suitable candidate to head the school, to spearhead the provision of education to the villagers’ children.
527 Cheng San Road
2nd Decade – 1955 to 1964
In the mid-1950s, Chin San School had to vacate from Chin San Village to make space for the development of Serangoon Gardens estate. The school was relocated to Lark Sye Heng (六使园), which is along the current Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3.
The land in which the new school building stood was donated by Mr Tan Boon Kak (陈文确), who was the brother of philanthropist Tan Lark Sye (陈六使). The new school premise was built on a piece of land within Mr Tan Boon Kak’s rubber plantation.
Mr Tan Boon Kak hoped that Chin San School could focus on the learning and teaching of Chinese language, culture and values. He also believed that the school should strive for excellence, by continuously improving on the quality of its education for its pupils. As such, he suggested that the school name be modified to match its mission. Mr Tan suggested adding the Chinese character “争”, (which means “to strive”), to the existing character “青” (which means “green”), to make a new word “静” (which means “tranquil”). The school’s Chinese name “静山小学” has remained to this day.
The Kampong Spirit
3rd Decade – 1965 to 1974
Chin San School had been re-located to the present Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3. Prior to urbanization, before the setting up of Ang Mo Kio New Town, a huge rubber plantation occupied this area. Many rubber tappers and labourers supplemented their livelihood with pig and poultry farming or vegetable gardening.
Though life in the kampong (Malay for “village”) was not as comfortable as life in the city today, those who had been through the kampong era would agree that they enjoyed growing up in the kampong. Life might have been difficult, but the spirit of the community was strong.
When Singapore gained independence in 1965, the key problem which the government faced was the high unemployment rate. In order to solve this problem, the country had to move towards rapid industrialization. Multi-national corporations were invited to set up factories in Singapore. Singaporeans were encouraged to pick up new skills to ensure sustainable growth and development for the country. There was also an emphasis on the learning and speaking of the English language to facilitate good communication with the outside world and also within multi-racial Singapore itself.
Over time, more and more Chinese families enrolled their children in English-medium schools. This was to give the children an edge when they progressed to higher education or when they entered the workforce.
Growth of Ang Mo Kio New Town, Our Home
4th Decade – 1975 to 1984
Development of the present Ang Mo Kio New Town began in 1973, and it was the seventh new town to be built in Singapore. In the 1970s, many new flats sprung up in this new town. The development of Ang Mo Kio New Town led to higher population density in the area. Many schools in Ang Mo Kio functioned at full capacity, and Jing Shan Primary School was one of them.
Two important educational policies in this decade made their impact on Jing Shan Primary School. In 1979, Singapore’s education system adopted the bilingual policy. Every child in Singapore would have to learn English as the First Language and Mother Tongue as the Second Language.
In 1982, the school was handed over to the government as the school board did not have sufficient resources to upgrade the school to meet the standard Primary School criteria set by the government. It was during this period that Chin San School became a full government school. With the handing over of the school, the dialect name “Chin San School” was dropped. The hanyu pinyin version based on the Chinese name of the school was used and “Jing Shan Primary School” (静山小学) became the official name of the school in 1982.
Good, Better, Best
5th Decade – 1985 to 1994
A series of well-planned educational changes were introduced to all Singapore schools from 1985-1991, to reduce wastage, increase flexibility within the school system, give greater autonomy to schools, and provide greater access to higher education.
During this period, many national campaigns were initiated to promote values and encourage productivity among Singaporeans. The key messages and values in these campaigns were cascaded and reinforced through schools.
Pupils in Jing Shan Primary School often participated in activities led by the mascots Teamy the Bee (1982 – 1999), Singa the Lion, and Sharity the Elephant. The values that these mascots represented were infused into the school total curriculum and contextualised to cater to pupils’ learning. The emphasis was to equip pupils with a spirit of innovation and productivity, to have a strong anchor on moral values, and to practise graciousness by contributing to society.
Pushing the Boundaries
6th Decade – 1995 to 2004
In 1997, the Singapore education system started to move in the direction of an ability-driven system with inspiration from then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s vision of "Thinking Schools, Learning Nation" (TSLN).
This vision described a nation of thinking and committed citizens capable of meeting the challenges of the future, and an education system geared to the needs of the 21st century.
The Ministry of Education launched a major programme, “Programme for Rebuilding and IMproving Existing schools” (PRIME) in 1999 to ensure that all schools have a conducive physical environment to enhance
teaching and learning. Under the programme, schools were fitted with state-of-the-art facilities, which included computer laboratories, media resource libraries and Information Technology (IT) learning resource
As Jing Shan Primary School was built prior to 1997, the old building was torn down and the current building was erected at 5 Ang Mo Kio Street 52. Due to the extent of the construction, Jing Shan Primary School moved to a holding school (the present Da Qiao Primary School) while waiting for construction to be completed. In December 2001, Jing Shan Primary School finally moved back to its current premises.
The new building was officially opened by the late Dr Balaji Sadasivan, then Minister of State for Health and Transport and MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, on 11 July 2003. The school held an official opening ceremony to
mark the special occasion.
Onward We Strive
7th Decade – 2005 to 2015
In 2005, Jing Shan celebrated her 60th Anniversary. The theme for the ceremony was “Peaks of Excellence”, as aligned with the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) vision of “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation”. As part of the celebration, pupils and teachers from the Pottery Club CCA designed and crafted pottery pieces in line with the theme. Since the “Peaks of Excellence” series, the pupils’ pottery pieces have been highly sought by organisations including the Ministry of Education to be used as tokens to be presented to guests at events.
Seeing the opportunity to leverage on the school’s strength in pottery, the school developed a six-year spiral programme that developed literacy in visual arts and pottery skills, equipped pupils with critical and creative thinking skills, and built pupils’ social and emotional competencies through values-in-action. As a result of these efforts, the school was awarded the niche status for Visual Arts and Pottery in 2013.
The year 2013 also saw Jing Shan Primary School in the limelight for its pupils’ stellar performance at the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE). The school's performance was its best in nine years. It was a fitting nod of recognition to the quality education that the school provides.
The revamped mission and vision statements of the school in 2014 serve to reinforce Jing Shan Primary School’s continuing commitment to our unique brand of providing values-driven, holistic education that
has sustained us over seven decades.
With the love, care, support and dedication of our staff and the commitment and perseverance of our pupils, Jing Shan Primary School will scale even greater heights in future.