Catholic High School, Singapore

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Catholic High School
Sekolah Tinggi Catholic
Lycée Catholique
Catholic high school crest.jpg
Catholic High School, with primary block
Care, Honesty, Service
9 Bishan Street 22, Singapore 579767
Coordinates 1°21′17″N 103°50′41″E / 1.35472°N 103.84472°E / 1.35472; 103.84472Coordinates: 1°21′17″N 103°50′41″E / 1.35472°N 103.84472°E / 1.35472; 103.84472
Type SAP, IP, Autonomous
Religious affiliation(s) Catholicism
Established 1935
Founder Rev. Father Edward Becheras
Sister school Singapore Chinese Girls' School
CHIJ Saint Nicholas Girls' School
School code 7102
Principal Soh Lai Leng
Vice Principals Koh Kwang Hoon, Liu-Loh Wee Cheng, Tay Chen Lai, Lak Yau Hui, Yap Ai Li
Supervisor Father Henry Siew
Gender Boys
Enrollment 1,400 (secondary)
1,600 (primary)
Medium of language English
Language English
Campus size 7 hectares (17 acres)
Color(s)                 Green, White, Red and Yellow
Affiliation Catholic Junior College
Eunoia Junior College
Alumni Lee Hsien Loong (see also: Alumni section)
Vision The Catholic High School student is a leader, gentleman and bilingual scholar of high integrity and robust character, who is passionate about life, learning and service to others.

Catholic High School (simplified Chinese: 公教中学; traditional Chinese: 公敎中學) (also known as CHS or Cat High) is an all-boys Catholic school in Singapore. It has a primary section offering a six-year primary education and a secondary section offering the four-year GCE 'O' Level education. From 2013, the secondary section also offers the six-year Integrated Programme jointly with Singapore Chinese Girls' School and CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls' School. The school is a Special Assistance Plan school, as well as a Gifted Education Programme centre. Catholic High School is affiliated to Catholic Junior College.

Founded in 1935 by Rev. Fr. Edward Becheras, a French missionary, the school caters for students who are fluent in both English and Chinese. The school has produced 20 President's Scholars and numerous recipients of other scholarships. Some of its alumni are leaders in the public and private sectors. It was ranked in the Band 1 tables of the Ministry of Education school academic rankings until such rankings were abolished in 2012.[1] In 2008, it was awarded the School Distinction Award under the MOE Master Plan of Awards, which recognizes high-achieving schools with exemplary processes and practices.[2]

Catholic High School was selected by Lee Kuan Yew for his children, including current Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.[3]


Sculpture of Rev. Father Edward Becheras in front of the clock tower

Catholic High School was founded in 1935 by the Reverend Father Edward Becheras, a French missionary.[4] Although it is a Catholic school, it accepts both Catholic and non-Catholic students, and is run along the lines of a Sino-English school.[4] The school first started as an extension of the Church of St. Peter and Paul.[5] Becheras envisaged the school as a bilingual institution from the start, emphasising instruction in both English and Chinese, a policy that continues today.[6] In addition, Becheras emphasised the teaching of science, uncommon at that time.[7]

Due to the high demand for places at the school,[5] Catholic High School moved into a new school building on Queens' Street, beside the Church of St. Peter and Paul.[8] Two years after the new school campus was completed, it reached its maximum capacity.[7] Among notable features of the old school is the science room in the school, the first such feature in any Catholic school in Malaya (Singapore was part of Malaya at that time).[7] This former campus of Catholic High School at Queens' Street presently houses 8Q SAM, an extension of the Singapore Art Museum that features contemporary art.[9]

In 1950, the Marist Brothers took over responsibility for the administration of Catholic High; a primary section was opened in 1951, and then a boarding house for Catholic students. Under the care of the Brothers the school developed but in 1974 the administration was handed back to the diocese. Maris Stella High School was founded in 1958 by Brother Joche Chanel in response to the demand for places in Catholic High School. Hence Maris Stella High School can be said to be the "brother school" of Catholic High School.[10]

The school was classified under the Special Assistance Plan in 1979.[4] This enables it to offer students in the top 10% of the cohort both English and Chinese as their first languages. In the same year, pre-primary classes were started to prepare students for primary school Chinese study. Catholic High expanded its campus to accommodate its pre-primary and lower-primary classes on Gentle Road and its upper-primary classes at Norfolk Road. Both the primary and secondary sections of the school moved to their current, permanent campus at Bishan Street 22 in 1992, to cope with increased enrolment.

On 1 September 2010 the Ministry of Education announced that Catholic High School would become an Integrated Programme school in 2013.[11] It partners CHIJ Saint Nicholas Girls' School and Singapore Chinese Girls' School in the programme, and students from the school will proceed to Eunoia Junior College from 2017.[11][12]


Catholic High track and field, with basketball sculpture in foreground

The seven-hectare Catholic High campus consists of two blocks, primary and secondary. A common area is shared between these two blocks, where the secondary plaza and two school halls are located. The two air-conditioned, multi-purpose halls serve as venues for assembly, large-scale talks, performing arts events, and indoor sporting activities. In addition, another smaller auditorium is used for performing arts events. Secondary 4 students have their classrooms on level 5 which are also air-conditioned. The school campus also houses a 400m running track and a multipurpose open field. There is a discus cage and javelin-throwing ground, two tennis courts and a basketball court. The Catholic High Sports and Recreational Centre, also known as the Indoor Sports Hall, was completed in December 2008. This sports hall is used for sporting activities in the school. It houses two basketball courts, volleyball courts and badminton courts, in addition to spectator stands. There are two gyms on the secondary campus. Catholic High is one of few schools with a in-campus sports class, where its students go through a rigorous sports and academic course. Sports Class students may choose to take Physical Education as an 'O' Level subject, in addition to the standard 'O' Level curriculum. A new high elements rope course was completed in 2010.

The school hall of the Catholic High was a training venue for athletes competing in Gymnastics events of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.[13]


Students at Catholic High School sit for the GCE O-level examination after four years of schooling.[14] After 2006, students are able to choose the subjects that they want to study for the examination; previously, students have to choose from sets of fixed subject combinations that the school offers.[14] Catholic High School also offers the Music Elective Programme since 2011.[14] This four-year programme allows students who have an interest in music to study music at a higher level, eventually leading to a GCE O-level Higher Music certificate.[14]

From 2013, the Catholic High School became an Integrated Programme (IP)school.[11] Under this 6-year programme, students by-pass the GCE O-level examinations and take the GCE A-levels examination instead.[11] However, the school is a dual-track school, meaning that both the new IP stream and the mainstream are offered.

School culture[edit]

Dress code[edit]

Uniforms are compulsory for students. Catholic High is one of only a handful of Singapore secondary schools that require boys of all ages to wear short trousers throughout their time at the school. Surveys at the school have shown that CHS boys support this rule.[15] One student interviewed during the survey stated that "Shorts give us more room to move about, and are certainly more convenient when we sit, and especially when running ... Long pants are stuffy and inconvenient".[15]


The house system is used during school sporting events. The four houses — Edward, Noel, Philippe and Joseph — are named after former principals and supervisors of the school.

  •      Edward: Rev. Fr. Edward Becheras was the founder and first supervisor of the school.[16]
  •      Noel: Rt. Rev. Noel Goh was the school's third, fifth and seventh supervisor.
  •      Joseph: Rev. Joseph Chang was principal from 1960-1974.
  •      Philippe: Rev. Philippe Wu was principal from 1950-1956.

Houses are allocated to teachers and students. Students are elected into leadership positions in each house, such as captain, secretary, treasurer and level coordinator. Sports events such as the annual cross-country and sports night help earn points for the houses. At the end of the year, points are totalled up and the house with the highest points wins the Challenge Shield.

School events[edit]

Catholic High Music Awards[edit]

The Catholic High Music Awards (Abbreviation: CHMA; CH Music Awards for short) is an annual school talent search competition held in Catholic High School (Singapore), which presents the school's musical talents a platform to showcase their abilities. This competition organised by the Catholic High School's iMedia Club, a Co-Curricular Activity (CCA), in collaboration with the school's music department. It is currently is one of the large-scale school concerts in Singapore.

The contest was originally a small-scale event held during one of the weekly school assemblies. It has then evolved over the years into its current form under the guidance of Mr Wang Jiunn, the then-concert producer. In its six-year run, CHMA has been held in the Catholic High school hall every year.

Students compete in various categories, namely, Solo Vocalists, Group Vocals, Rock Bands, Instrumental Bands, Duets and Creative Expressions. After several rounds of auditions, judges would select the best students to be the finalists, who will perform on the finale night concert. External bands are often invited to perform during the finale night concert. Several finalists have gained attention and had enjoyed moderate success in other talent competitions, such as Tan Zhi Yi in One Million Star and Paul Twohill in Singapore Idol.

Notable alumni[edit]

The CHA has funded many local/overseas enrichment programmes for students as well as staff development programmes for teachers. The CHA offers the OBA Founders' Scholarships for outstanding Catholic High students. Members of the CHA also volunteer as guest speakers at assembly talks, mentors for CHA scholars, and advisors for special projects such as the OBA-CH Innovative Problem-Solving Competition using IT and the IT Challenge Programme, etc.





Media and Entertainment[edit]




  1. ^ School Achievement Tables and Honour Rolls 2007, Ministry of Education.
  2. ^ Winners of Special Awards 2004 to 2008 Ministry of Education, Singapore.
  3. ^ a b Chew, David (26 April 2007). "Singapore Art Museum to lease former Catholic High building", Today (Singapore).
  4. ^ a b c "Catholic High School: School History". Catholic High School. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  5. ^ a b "Catholic High School Needs Extension.". Malaya Catholic Leader. 11 May 1935. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  6. ^ "School Philosophy". Catholic High School. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  7. ^ a b c "Sino-English Catholic High School Remarkable Progress Within Two Years.". Malaya Catholic Leader. 28 October 1939. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  8. ^ "Catholic Chinese High School.". Malaya Catholic Leader. 1 February 1936. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  9. ^ Chia, Adeline (16 August 2008). "School is hip and cool at 8Q". The Straits Times. Singapore. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c d Yeen Nie, Hoe (1 September 2010). "Seven new schools join the Integrated Programme". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 2012-12-30. 
  12. ^ "New Junior College to be named Eunoia JC: Ng Chee Meng". Channel News Asia. Mediacorp Singapore. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  13. ^ "Youth Olympic Games". , Singapore 2010.
  14. ^ a b c d "Top scorers galore at Catholic High". The Straits Times. Asiaone. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2013-01-02.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "asiaone20090115" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  15. ^ a b "My Shorts Will Go On". Stomp. Straits Times Interactive. Archived from the original on 2009-11-24. Retrieved 2006-08-22. 
  16. ^ School History page, Catholic High School.
  17. ^ "Gan Kim Yong". Government of Singapore. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  18. ^ "Baey Yam Keng". Government of Singapore. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  19. ^ "Chen Show Mao". Government of Singapore. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  20. ^ a b "Singapore Government directory: Air Force HQ". Government of Singapore. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "ClassACT - Paying tribute to inspiring teachers". NTU Alumni e-zine. April 2007. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "NTU Faculty Profiles" (in Chinese). NTU. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^

External links[edit]