Ong Teck Chin

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Ong Teck Chin
DR ong.jpg
Born 24 November 1949
Residence Singapore
Citizenship Singaporean
Alma mater National University of Singapore,
University of Oxford
Title Principal/CEO of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)
Term 1994–2010
Predecessor Lawrence Chia
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Ong.

Ong Teck Chin (simplified Chinese: 王德进; traditional Chinese: 王德進; pinyin: Wáng Déjìn; born 1949) is a Singaporean educator. He was formerly the Principal/CEO of Anglo-Chinese School, and resident warden of its boarding school.


Ong is an alumnus of Raffles Institution and graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science (with honours) in chemistry.[1] He went on to earn his Doctor of Philosophy in clinical biochemistry at the University of Oxford in 1975 under a Rhodes Scholarship.[1] On his subsequent return to Singapore, he became a physiology lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine of the National University of Singapore (NUS) until 1991.[1] While lecturing in the NUS, he concurrently held the position of Vice-Principal in ACS(I) from 1988 until 1994, when he was appointed Principal.

Ong has also published papers in international journals on exercise physiology, sports ergonomics and fitness assessments as well as research papers on education.[1] During his reservist days in the Singapore Armed Forces, he received a Merit Award for his essay Discipline and Control in the Military, submitted for the 1989 Chief of General Staff Annual Essay Competition.

In addition, Ong was the chairman of the now-defunct Broadcast, Publications & Arts Appeal Advisory Committee (BPAAC),[2] one of the committees that advised the Government of Singapore on censorship issues. He was also an executive committee member of the now-defunct Singapore Centre for Teaching Thinking, established in 1998 at the National Institute of Education, as part of the Thinking Schools Learning Nation initiative launched by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1997. Ong is recognised as a Solemniser of Marriages by the Registry of Marriages, Singapore.[3]

Ong has also been the recipient of many awards,[1] including:

The SAF Sword-of-Honour[1]
The Outstanding Young Person of Singapore (Silver) Jaycees International Award in 1975[1]
The National Day Commendation Medal (Military) in 1994 in recognition of his contributions to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)[1]
The National Institute of Education Dr Ruth Wong Gold Medal for the Diploma in Education Administration(Secondary)[1]
The Public Administration Medal (Silver), awarded during National Day 1997[1]

Ong is an executive elder and member of the Bethesda Frankel Estate Church in Siglap, an area in the southeast of Singapore.[4]

Appointment as Principal[edit]

Ong was appointed Principal of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in 1994 when his predecessor, Lawrence Chia, stepped down after six years.[1] Ong's appointment was initially controversial, as he was a former student of Raffles Institution, a rival school.[1]

During his tenure as principal, ACS(I) gained the Singapore Quality Award and the Singapore Quality Class[5] in recognition of administrative and educational excellence. Singapore Quality Class (SQC) is the certification for the overall business excellence standard, and the Singapore Quality Award (SQA) is conferred on organisations that demonstrate the highest standards of business excellence. The school received many other awards, such as the School Excellence Award (an award for academic excellence), the School Distinction Award, the Best Practice Awards and many awards at the Odyssey of the Mind (OM) World Finals.[1] Ong also serves as the Odyssey of the Mind Singapore Tournament Director.[6]

Ong was initially the Vice-Principal for pastoral care in the school. This is currently a core component of the school's curriculum.[1] Ong introduced the practice of naming classes after biblical heroes, books or cities in 1997, as well as the practice of dedicating each academic year to an inspirational theme from the Bible.[1]

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme was introduced during his tenure. The school was the first in the Singapore education system to implement the programme. This was a significant step in the reform of Singaporean education system,[7] which had been cited by critics as being too harsh and rigid in its regimen, not to mention its examination-centric approach towards achieving academic excellence.

Ong maintained the school's reputation for strict discipline. He has said:

"We have corporal punishment for serious offences. If parents disagree, then they should not have put their child in this school".[8]

The Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) publicity material for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme additionally emphasises that IB students guilty of serious violations of academic dishonesty, if male, may be caned.[9]


On 4 October 2010, Ong announced his resignation as Principal/CEO of Anglo-Chinese School.[10]

It was implied that he stepped down for health reasons. However, his resignation came shortly after allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards a male teacher, Mark Richie Tan[11] had been made about him to the ACS Board of Governors.[12] An inquiry committee was formed, comprising members from both the Anglo-Chinese School Board of Governors and the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) Board of Management.[13]

Mark Richie Tan made statements to The New Paper stating that he filed the complaint because he "wanted justice to be served" and that there were "possibly a few people" involved in this matter.[14] According to a report in The Straits Times, "Mr Tan told The Straits Times that he had e-mail, text messages and recordings to prove his claims of Dr Ong's inappropriate behaviour."[15]

The panel convened found that these allegations were reinforced by their findings: "Dr. Ong Teck Chin has conducted himself in an inappropriate manner and that his conduct has fallen short of the standards expected of a principal".[16] The Board did not state the nature of the allegations.

In a press statement on 22 November 2010, the ACS Board of Governors and the ACS(I) Board of Management said that Ong deeply regretted his actions and had apologised. His last official day of work was 30 November 2010.[17]


In April 2008, Ong underwent major open heart surgery to correct coronary disease, after tests that indicated serious blockages of his coronary arteries.[18]


Ong is married to Goh Li Shien and they have three children – Marcus, Melissa and Matthias.

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Yi-Sheng Ng; Fanny Tan (2008). On His Wings: Soaring twenty years on. Singapore: Anglo-Chinese School (Independent). OCLC 225868100. 
  2. ^ Singapore Government Directory Interactive. Retrieved 7 October 2008.
  3. ^ Licensed Solemnisers, Churches p.7 (n.d.)
  4. ^ Bethesda (Frankel Estate) Church website. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  5. ^ Singapore Quality Awards
  6. ^ Odyssey of the Mind.
  7. ^ A.M. Chew (2008). 'The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme & TSLN' in J. Tan and P. T. Ng (Eds.), Thinking Schools, Learning Nation: Contemporary Issues and Challenges, 206–230. Singapore: Prentice Hall/Pearson Education.
  8. ^ Want to complain about your child's teacher?, The Straits Times, Singapore, 16 July 2001.
  9. ^ Briefing by Principal to Parents/Guardians, ACS(I), 27 May 2006.
  10. ^ Satish Cheney (4 October 2010). "Principal of ACS Independent steps down". Channel News Asia (Singapore).
  11. ^ (23 November 2010). "Mark Richie Tan". World Newspapers (Singapore)
  12. ^ "Statement from Mr Richard Seow (Chairman, Board of Governors) with regard to the resignation of Dr Ong Teck Chin" (Press release). Anglo-Chinese Schools Board of Governors. 5 October 2010. 
  13. ^ Jane Ng; Sandra Davie (6 October 2010). "Probe into ACS Principal". The Straits Times (Singapore).
  14. ^ Bryna Sim (8 October 2010). "I Have Done Nothing Wrong". The New Paper (Singapore).
  15. ^ Jane Ng (12 November 2010). "Ex-aide back to teach in ACS (I)". The Straits Times (Singapore).
  16. ^ Jane Ng (11 November 2010). "Panel 'reinforces allegations". The Straits Times (Singapore).
  17. ^ "Statement from the ACS Board of Governors and ACS(I) Board of Management" (Press release). Anglo-Chinese School (Independent). 22 November 2010. 
  18. ^ Anglo Chinese School (Independent), Principal's Circular to Parents, Term 3 2008 (2008).