Hwa Chong Institution
|Hwa Chong Institution|
Institusi Hwa Chong
ஹ்வா சாங் பள்ளி
Boys (High School Section),
Co-educational (College Section)
(Live with Passion, Lead with Compassion)
|Established||1 January 2005|
Incorporating The Chinese High School (est. 1919) & Hwa Chong Junior College (est. 1974)
|Principal||Mr. Pang Choon How|
|Campus size||72 acres / 29 ha|
|Affiliation||Nanyang Girls' High School|
|Mission||Nurturing leaders in Research, Industry and Government to serve the nation.|
|Vision||Defining Holistic Education, and Empowering our Future Leaders to Live with Passion and Lead with Compassion|
|Guiding Principle||饮水思源 (pinyin: yín shuĭ sī yuán)|
|Philosophy||己立立人, 己达达人 (Win-Win)|
Hwa Chong Institution (HCI; traditional Chinese: 新加坡華僑中學; simplified Chinese: 新加坡华侨中学; pinyin: Huáqiáo Zhōngxué; Wade–Giles: Hua2ch'iao2 Chung1hsüeh2; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hoâ-kiâu Tiong-o̍h) is an independent institution in Singapore offering secondary and pre-university education.
A Ministry of Education-designated FutureSchool, Hwa Chong Institution operates under the Special Assistance Plan (SAP) for bilingualism, and offers the Integrated Programme (IP) and the School Based Gifted Education Programme (SBGE). Hwa Chong has been a top feeder school for international students to University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. The institution is also a member of Strategic Alliance of Global Educators, Strategic Educational Alliance of Southeast Asia and the Global Learning Alliance which involves some of the world’s most innovative schools from the highest performing nations, including Australia, Canada, China, Finland, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, and the United States. Hwa Chong Institution has also forged partnerships with educational institutions across five continents including cross-border research collaboration with the Loudoun County Academy of Science in Virginia, US and Westport Schools District in Connecticut, US.
Previously two separate but affiliated schools—The Chinese High School and Hwa Chong Junior College—Hwa Chong Institution was established through a merger on 1 January 2005 as the first batch of schools to offer the six-year Integrated Programme, which leads to the Singapore-Cambridge GCE Advanced Level examination. In spite of the merger, the High School section remains boys-only, while the College section remains co-educational, which admits students from Nanyang Girls' High School under the Integrated Programme.
The Chinese High School (1919–2004)
The Chinese High School was founded by Tan Kah Kee in March 1919 at Niven Road, as The Singapore Nanyang Overseas Chinese Middle School (traditional Chinese: 新加坡南洋華僑中學; simplified Chinese: 新加坡南洋华侨中学). With an enrolment of 78 pupils, it was the first Chinese institution of higher learning at that time in Southeast Asia, catering to Chinese dialect groups amongst the overseas Chinese. Six years later, the school moved to its Bukit Timah campus.
After its founding, the school offered comprehensive secondary level Chinese education. It remained funded and supported by Tan Kah Kee until shortly before World War II. In 1934, Lee Kong Chian, son-in-law of Tan Kah Kee, became the chairman of the school's board and remained in his post until 1955. During his tenure, the school faced the threat of closure several times due to financial difficulties, but managed to survive due to strong financial support from both Tan and Lee. Together they built a legacy, which the current school body commemorates them for.
During the Battle of Singapore, the school's clock tower, for its height and vantage point, served as a headquarters for the Allied defenders. Following the war, the school resumed its predominant Chinese education. In the 1950s and 1960s, during periods of civil unrest in Singapore, many students, teachers and alumni participated in or led the anti-colonial riots.
After Singapore gained independence in 1965, the school came under the purview of the Ministry of Education and was accorded the Special Assistance Plan (SAP) status in 1979. Later, in 1988 the school achieved the status of an independent school, under a scheme that the ministry perceived as proven successful and which was extended to other top schools in Singapore. On 19 March 1999, the school's clock tower was gazetted as a national monument.
Hwa Chong Junior College (1974–2004)
Hwa Chong Junior College was established in 1974 at the Bukit Timah campus of The Chinese High School as a separate institution offering pre-university education. Inherited from the pre-university section of The Chinese High School, it come under the same management board as The Chinese High. The college was the nation's first government-aided junior college, with its name being an abbreviation of the high school's Chinese name to mark the relationship between the two schools.
Hwa Chong Junior College moved out of its campus at Bukit Timah Road in the late 1980s following the discovery of structural problems with the building to facilitate rebuilding. Lessons continued but conducted at various locations. The rebuilding of the campus finished in 1992 and lessons restarted at the campus in 1993. Following The Chinese High School's accord of independent school status in 1987, the junior college followed suit in 2004, becoming the first junior college in Singapore to be granted the status of an independent school.
Merger as Hwa Chong Institution (2005–present)
Following the introduction of the Integrated Programme into Singapore's education system in the early 2000s, The Chinese High School merged with Hwa Chong Junior College on 1 January 2005 to form an integrated institution, featuring a High School section and a College section. The merged institution kept the native name of The Chinese High School (traditional Chinese: 華僑中學; simplified Chinese: 华侨中学), and adopted "Hwa Chong Institution" as its administrative name. The College section is formally renamed as "Hwa Chong Institution (College)" (traditional Chinese: 華僑中學 (高中部); simplified Chinese: 华侨中学 (高中部))  In the same year, Hwa Chong International School was established under the auspices of the institution, offering independent education that leads to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.
In 2008, HCI was selected by the Ministry of Education to implement the FutureSchools@Singapore programme, one of five initial schools to do so and amongst the eventual fifteen planned. In the same year, the Hwa Chong Diploma was introduced. The diploma is awarded to the best performing 30% of its graduating cohort, stacking upon the Singapore-Cambridge GCE Advanced Level certificate.
Hwa Chong Institution commemorated its centenary on its founder's day, 21 March 2019.
During the celebration, many of the alumni and retired teachers came to mark the 100th Anniversary. It was celebrated in front of the grand Clock Tower and the statue of Tan Kah Kee, the honourable founder of Hwa Chong Institution.
The past and current principals of the integrated Hwa Chong Institution, since its merger in 2005, are listed as follows.
|Name of Principal||Native Name||Years Served|
|Mr. Ang Wee Hiong||洪伟雄先生||2005–2009|
|Dr. Hon Chiew Weng||潘兆荣博士||2010–2017|
|Mr. Pang Choon How||彭俊豪先生||2017–Present|
School identity and culture
Uniform and attire
In the high school section, students in Secondary 1 to Secondary 3 (inclusive) must wear a white short-sleeved shirt with khaki short trousers and white socks, which must cover the ankle. The four metal buttons must be worn on the two front pockets and on both shoulders. The school collar pin should be worn on the left collar. Either white, blue or black shoes with either white or black laces must be worn. Secondary 4 students wear long beige trousers with a beige shirt, similar to the male students in the college section. College girls wear a beige blouse and a beige skirt. The uniform for the college section was retained from the former Hwa Chong Junior College, which was designed by a Malay girl of the pioneer batch.
Students earn demerit points for poor behaviour. Accumulated demerit points can affect final grades and eligibility for certain awards, scholarships and overseas trips. The student handbook states that, for serious offences, male students at Hwa Chong Institution may be punished with detention, suspension, caning or expulsion. Only the Principal or Discipline Master may administer corporal punishment, which consists of a maximum of five strokes of the cane. Students found smoking are immediately caned or suspended or both. Caning may also be given for integrity-related offences (e.g. cheating), uncivilized behaviour (e.g. defiance), and criminal offences (e.g. fighting).
The current school crest of Hwa Chong Institution, is a stylised form of the traditional Chinese character “華” (Huá), which is part of the school name and reflects its Chinese heritage. The crest, with a red background, also bears much similarity to a burning torch of passion.
Nanyang Girls' High School
Hwa Chong Institution offers the Integrated Programme that extends to Nanyang Girls High School (NYGH), an all-girls junior high school, under the name Hwa Chong Affiliate Programme. Under the programme, a supermajority of NYGH students graduate to the College (pre-university) section of HCI for their pre-university education. All students of HCI's high school section also move on automatically to the college section and undertake the GCE Advanced Level examination, unless they fail to meet requirements (students must have an MSG of 3.00 and below at the end of Secondary 4) or specifically applied to leave.
Hwa Chong Family of Schools
Under the umbrella Hwa Chong Family of Schools, HCI is affiliated to Hwa Chong International School (HCIS) and Hwa Chong Institution Boarding School (HCIBS). All three schools share the same prefix in their names, and are located in the same main campus. However, in spite of the multi-sharing, each school possesses its own set of facilities, though students from the different schools may access and use the facilities in other schools.
Hwa Chong International School is a co-educational international school, offering a six-year programme from Grade 7 (11–13 years old) to Grade 12, finishing with the International Baccalaureate. In the interim years, the students will sit for the iGCSE. The fully private independent school saw its final batch of graduating international 'A' Levels students and the first batch of graduating IB students in 2010. Hwa Chong Institution Boarding School is the institution's boarding school, accommodating HCI's international scholars. It also houses international scholars studying in other local schools such as Singapore Chinese Girls' School and Bukit Panjang Government High School. Local Singaporean boarders staying in the boarding school are participants of HCI's Integrated Boarding Programme. The boarding complex was designed by renowned architect Kenzo Tange, consisting of seven six-storey halls providing accommodation for up to 1,000 boarders or guests.
The main campus of HCI in Bukit Timah covers 72 acres, making it one of the largest campus in Southeast Asia. The campus land is shared between the Hwa Chong Family of Schools, which also include Hwa Chong International School and Hwa Chong Institution Boarding School. Also onsite is the Bukit Timah campus of the Singapore University of Social Sciences and its administrative headquarters. Despite the multi-sharing, each entity possesses its own set of facilities, marked by certain perimeters.
There are two libraries in the campus, the Jing Xian Library in the College section and the Kong Chian Library in the High School section respectively. The Jing Xian library was founded in 1974, and was renamed in 1983, in honour of the father of the chairman of the management committee then. The Kong Chian library officially opened as the Kuo Chuan Library in 1957, but was later renamed after one of our founding fathers, Lee Kong Chian in 1967.
Science Research Centre
The dedicated Science Research Centre, built in 2008, has ten purpose-built laboratories in which students experience different research disciplines outside of the usual curriculum, including labs for Robotics and Engineering, Biotechnology and Microbiology, and the Pharmaceutical Sciences. The centre provides resources to support the research and innovation programmes, serving as a central facility for student research activities.
Ong Teng Cheong SALT Centre
The Ong Teng Cheong Student Activities and Leadership Training Centre (also called the Ong Teng Cheong SALT Centre, or the SALT Centre), named in honour of alumnus and former President of Singapore Ong Teng Cheong, aims to develop students holistically, particularly in arts and leadership development. Housed in it are dance studios, music rooms, and a cardiovascular and weight-training room. A moot parliament is also housed in the centre, modelled on the Singapore Parliamentary Chamber, and it is a central venue for events such as student council meetings and Model United Nations conferences.
Other facilities in HCI include a table tennis room, street soccer courts, a judo dojo, three-storey library, a makerspace, a gymnasium, a 400-metre track, a multi-purpose hall, a multi-storey carpark, lecture theatres, general laboratories and classrooms. The 31-metre tall Clock Tower of the school is a national monument, the only one in a Singapore school.
Beijing Satellite Campus
In line with the school's plan to set up a Global Academy, HCI established its Beijing Satellite Campus in 2007, the first of its kind for a Singapore school. An agreement was inked with a top school in China, Beijing's The Second High School Attached to Beijing Normal University, in which classrooms will be leased. A total of four batches of students make their way to the campus every year, staying for up to two months. Priority is given to scholars of HCI's Bicultural Studies Programme and Humanities Programme. Students in the campus take lessons together with students from China in partner schools, carry out community involvement activities, and take field trips to cities such as Xi'an, Tianjin and Shanghai.
HCI has been quoted as saying that it is looking to opening satellite campuses in India and the United States, with the aim of establishing the two in the near future. In July 2010, it was announced that HCI would be developing a school in the Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City in Guangzhou, China, akin to that of its first satellite campus, following the inking of a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This would see HCI partnering a top local school for exchange and mutual learning programmes.
Xi'an Winter Campus
In addition to the Beijing Satellite Campus, the Xi’an Winter Campus was set up in 2011 with its site based in High School Affiliated to Xi’an Jiatong University. Students partaking in the Winter Campus programme would spend four weeks there attending lessons that are conducted in Mandarin and focused on humanities subjects including history, geography, literature, socio-Economic as well as political aspects of China. This programme also provide opportunities for students who are strong in English, Mathematics and the Sciences, but weaker in Chinese, to better master the language and to immerse themselves in a different environment, and at the same time, appreciate Chinese culture and history.
Incorporated within Hwa Chong Institution are the High School (junior high) section and the College (senior high) section, each catering to different cohorts of students in the course of the six-year Integrated Programme
Secondary 1 (age 13) students first enter the high school section and study there for four years, before proceeding to the college section where they prepare to take the GCE 'A' Levels final examinations. The high school section uses the Mean Subject Grade grading system in tests and exams. The school-wide Integrated Programme offered enables students to skip the GCE 'O' Levels, typically taken by Secondary 4 students in Singapore. The Hwa Chong Diploma was introduced in 2008 and is awarded to the best performing 30% of its graduating cohort. It is awarded on top of the 'A' Levels certificate, and is an added qualification to university applications.
The school enrols an estimated 4,000 students, spread across the six levels, with a student-teacher ratio of 13:1. Hwa Chong Institution has produced 58 President's Scholars. The college section's Humanities Programme has a significant percentage of its students going on to study abroad at such universities as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, University of Chicago, NYU, UC Berkeley, Peking University and Tsinghua University.
Consortia and faculties
Students in the high school section are divided into what are called consortia – a different naming convention from the typical house system. The four consortia in the school are Aphelion, iSpark, Ortus and ProEd. The iSpark consortium houses HCI's School Based Gifted Education Programme (SBGE). The consortia work closely with one another and each has its own student council. In the college section, faculties exists in place of the consotrias. There are four faculties, namely – Apollo, Ares, Athena and Artemis – all named after Greek deities.
Various special programmes are offered in HCI, such as the Bi-cultural Studies Programme, the Art Elective Programme (Singapore) and the Science and Math Talent Programme. These programmes offer a degree of specialisation that is generally not possible in the standard curriculum, enabling students in the school to explore respective fields to a greater degree. Despite having similar names, the special programmes offered in the high school and the college section are different; however, most are closely associated with each other. An example would be the Humanities Programme (HP), in which the high school HP focuses on the three core humanities subjects – History, Geography and English Literature, while HP in the college section offers a greater variety of subjects such as China Studies and economics, while gearing students for university humanities programmes locally and abroad.
- Bicultural Studies Programme (BSP)
- Language Elective Programme (LEP)
- Science and Math Talent Programme (SMTP)
- Humanities Programme (HP)
- Art Elective Programme (AEP)
- Malay Special Programme (MSP)
- Research Studies
- School-based Gifted Plus Programme
- Gifted And Talented Education programme (GATE)
- Structured Integrated Programme (SIP-for students who are not faring well in their studies)
In 2008, the Centre for Scholastic Education (CSE) was set up to house all special programmes in the high school section except for the AEP and the MSP. They are the Bicultural Studies Programme, Humanities Programme and the Science and Math Talent Programme. From 2013 onwards, all students participating in Special Programmes are housed under CSE, part of the iSpark Consortium. The Integrated Programme-Special Programme (IPSP) has been abolished in the same year. CSE also used to house the now-defunct Entrepreneurship Programme. CSE is an umbrella term to describe the specialised academic programmes offered at the upper secondary level.
Hwa Chong's AEP students have consistently attained awards such as the UOB Painting of the Year Award, and scholarships from the Media Development Authority, National Arts Council, Urban Redevelopment Authority and Ministry of Education to further their studies within creative fields. All in all, the Programme aspires to produce cultural leaders and entrepreneurs who will contribute to the nation’s cultural capital in the areas of fine art, design, and new media
From 2013 onwards, Special Science and Maths Talent programme (SSMT) is introduced to the SMTP curriculum to train talented students in areas such as Physics and Biology. Sexuality and relationship education programmes are also conducted.
Under HCI's Integrated Programme, the Sabbatical Programme is offered whereby students from Secondary 1 to 4 go on one week sabbatical courses in each term in the first semester (Terms 1 and 2). The programme is unique in allowing the majority of the school populace to put aside formal curricular lessons for a week in pursuit of their passions or interests, though some students are required to attend certain courses by their teachers' discretion. Sabbaticals offered are of a wide variety, in categories as defined by the school: Arts & Aesthetics, Chinese Studies, Humanities, English & Literature, Leadership, Technology, Science and Math, Camps and Student Exchange; they are essentially courses for students to opt for, such as beginner guitar and songwriting lessons, professional music production, Model United Nations training camps, football friendlies with other schools, et cetera. Also, the school requires students to use the specifically designed Online Bidding System – the i-ComP – to organise their sabbatical plans. Students who accumulate demerit points as a result of various offences are penalised in their sabbatical bidding or are recommended for corrective work order.
Hwa Chong Institution offers a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, labelled Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) by the Ministry of Education, and this is in part due to the school's large student population and size.
There are a number of sports CCAs offered in HCI, ranging from soccer to ten-pin bowling, and from wushu to touch rugby. The fencing, canoeing, gymnastics, judo, shooting, table tennis and track & field teams garner nationwide achievements almost every year. HCI has won track & field championships in most divisions. The HCI track & field team used to hold and currently holds a few national records, particularly in pole vault. Other sports which have achieved significant results over the years include the basketball, canoeing, volleyball, water polo and wushu teams. For example, in 2010, the volleyball team, won the championships in both A divisions (Boys and Girls). Nine HCI students were selected to represent Singapore in the Youth Olympic Games 2010, two of them from the championship-winning basketball team.
There are currently four uniformed groups in HCI: National Cadet Corps (Land), National Police Cadet Corps, St. John Ambulance Brigade, and Scouts (and Ventures & Rovers). These CCAs provide a highly structured organisation and a well-defined hierarchy. The HCI National Cadet Corps unit (HCINCC) has been awarded Gold for 15 consecutive years, winning the Best Unit Competition (BUC) in 2000. Also, HCINCC is the only Centre of Excellence in Precision Drill department amongst all NCC units in Singapore. The National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) is currently the largest uniformed group in Singapore, and in HCI, in terms of membership. HCINPCC is also one of the only 2 units in Singapore to have achieved 20 gold awards in the annual Unit Overall Proficiency Award (UOPA). They have received The NPCC Golden Cane, in honour of their achievement. The St. John Ambulance Brigade is one of two School Corps awarded Gold in the Corp Achievement Award for 16 consecutive years. In the Inter-Zone First Aid and Home Nursing Competition 2016, the Ambulance Cadet team finished as 1st runners up, while the Ambulance Adult team finished as National Champions. The Scouts uniformed group hosts the Bugle Band and Lion Dance troupe, which performs at special and commemorative events. All four uniformed groups achieved Gold in the annual national assessment. Apart from regular planned training, other activities include inter-unit competitions in bowling and captain's ball.
The eleven performing arts groups in HCI are: the Chinese Orchestra, the String Ensemble, the Piano Ensemble, the Chinese Drama Club, the Harmonica Ensemble, the English Drama Club, the Choir, the Music And Dance Society, the Guitar Ensemble, the Band and lastly Chinese Dance. The 2010 Singapore Youth Festival, saw the English Drama Club judged, where it attained a Silver Award. The previous year, 2009, saw the other performing arts groups being assessed; a number of awards were won, including two Golds with Honours for the Chinese Orchestra and the High School Band.
Apart from occasional performances held locally in Victoria Theatre and the school's Drama Centre, many of the performing arts groups travel overseas both for exchange and performances. Amongst them, the High School Band, the Choir, the Chinese Orchestra and the String Orchestra are notable for their international achievements. In 2010 the College Choir attained significant achievements in an international competitions, the Festival of Songs in Olomouc, Czech Republic. while in 2011, the choir attained a Gold with Honours in the 2011 Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging of Choirs. The Chinese Orchestra have performed in many overseas performances in China, Malaysia and Australia, and even performed in the SYF closing ceremonies in 2005 and 2009. The Chinese Orchestra has attained Distinction for the Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging for Chinese Orchestras in 2013, 2015 and 2017, while attaining gold from 1993 to 2011. The orchestra attained accomplishment in 2019. The High School Band, which once performed in the Istana, travelled to Hawaii to attend the Pacific Basin Music Festival for the second time in 2010, attaining a gold award. The Band has also performed at the National Day Parade. The High School String Orchestra, more commonly known by the acronym "HCISO", has also travelled widely. It won first runners-up at the open category of the 2006 Gothenburg International Music Festival, and went on tour with the Australian Boy's Choir to Melbourne, Australia, and Johor Baru, Malaysia, to perform at the opening of the 7th JB Arts Festival. Most recently, the string orchestra achieved Gold with Honours at the 2011 Singapore Youth Festival for String Ensembles. It was also one of the six schools, and the only school in Asia, to be invited to participate in the 2012 Los Angeles International Music Festival at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Hwa Chong Institution organises academic competitions and conferences, both for its students and external participants. The school organises the Asia Pacific Mathematical Olympiad for Primary Schools (APMOPS) and the Singapore Mathematical Olympiad for Primary Schools (SMOPS). The International Science Youth Forum (ISYF) is hosted at HCI and co-organised by Nanyang Technological University, Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), bringing students from across Asia-Pacific together to network and dialogue, with Nobel laureates coming down to share their experiences in the scientific field; a record five Nobel laureates were involved in 2010. Hwa Chong also annually hosts the Asia-Pacific Young Leaders Summit (HCAPYLS) which brings students all across the world to discuss global issues in summit dialogues.
Hwa Chong Institution and its predecessor schools, TCHS and HCJC, have a wide alumni base extending to various sectors and industries in Singapore and other countries. Its best known alumnus is probably Ong Teng Cheong, the fifth President of Singapore, who graduated from TCHS in 1955. Other prominent alumni in the public service include Grace Fu, and Ng Chee Meng, Ministers in the Prime Minister's Office, and Ministers of State such as Lee Yi Shyan, Sim Ann, and Sam Tan. Ng Yat Chung, the fifth Chief of Defence Force, Ng Chee Khern, the former Chief of Air Force, Hoo Cher Mou, the former Chief of Air Force, Ng Chee Peng, the former Chief of Navy, Goh Si Hou, the current Chief of Army and Kelvin Khong, the current Chief of Air Force are among the HCI alumni in the Singapore Armed Forces top brass. HCI's more notable alumni in business and finance include Olivia Lum (the founder of Hyflux), Tan Chin Hwee (the Asia CEO of Trafigura),Toh Soon Huat (the founder of Novena Holdings), and Wee Cho Yaw (the Chairman of United Overseas Bank). In the arts and media scenes, there are also notable HCI alumni such as Warren Fernandez, the editor of The Straits Times, musicians Liang Wern Fook and Eric Moo, and artist Tan Swie Hian. Current principal of Hwa Chong Institution, Pang Choon How was also an alumnus of the school. Additionally, South Korean boy group PENTAGON's Yang Hongseok was a student of Hwa Chong International School, a sister school of HCI.
Statue of Mr. Lee Kong Chian, a major donor, after whom the Kong Chian Administration Centre in the background is named
Another view of the Clock Tower, with a statue of Tan Kah Kee in front of it
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