Raffles Institution

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Raffles Institution
Institusi Raffles
இராபிள்ஸ் கல்வி நிலையம்
Raffles Institution Coat of Arms.svg
Raffles Institution from field.jpg
1 Raffles Institution Lane
Singapore 575954

TypeIndependent School
MottoAuspicium Melioris Aevi  (in Latin)
(Hope of a Better Age[nb 1])
Founded5 June 1823; 196 years ago (1823-06-05)
FounderSir Stamford Raffles
Sister schoolRaffles Girls' School
SessionMorning Session
School code3009
ChairmanChoo Chiau Beng[1]
PrincipalFrederick Yeo (Mr) [2]
Deputy PrincipalsS Magendiran (Mr) (Senior Deputy Principal, Student Development, Year 5-6)
Theresa Lai (Dr) (Academic Studies, Year 1-4)
Reavley Munn Ye (Mrs) (Academic Studies, Year 5-6)
Brian Lagman Ang (Mr) (Corporate Development, Year 1-6)
Edward Ng (Mr) (Student Development, Year 1-4)
Chen Ziyang (Mr) (Organisational Development, Year 1-6)
Teaching staff550[3]
GenderBoys (Year 1-4)
Mixed (Year 5-6)
HousesYear 1-4: Bayley, Buckley, Hullett, Moor, Morrison
Year 5-6: Bayley-Waddle, Buckle-Buckley, Hadley-Hullett, Morrison-Richardson, Moor-Tarbet
Colour(s) Green   White   Black 
MascotGryphon and eagle
Team nameTeam Raffles
PublicationThe Rafflesian Times
YearbookThe Rafflesian

Raffles Institution (RI), founded in 1823, is the oldest school in Singapore for pre-tertiary education. It is an independent school, providing secondary education through a boys-only Year 1-4 section and pre-university education through a coeducational Year 5-6 section. Its current campus is in Bishan near Marymount MRT station at Raffles Institution Lane off Bishan Street 21.

Since 2007, the school has offered the six-year Integrated Programme, which allows students to bypass the GCE O-Levels, and take the GCE A-Levels instead. Known as the Raffles Programme, it is offered jointly with its sister school, Raffles Girls' School (Secondary), or RGS.

RI was among the first schools to receive the Ministry of Education's School Excellence Award.[4] It is a member of various academic partnerships and alliances, such as the G20 Schools and The Winchester Network. It also co-founded the Global Alliance of Leading-Edge Schools.[5]

RI was awarded the Singapore Quality Award in 2011.[6] RI is notable for having produced 94 President's Scholars, 3 out of 7 Presidents, 2 out of 3 Prime Ministers,[7] including the first elected Prime Minister in Lee Kuan Yew, 4 Speakers of Parliament, 7 out of 20 members of the current Cabinet, 6 Ministers of State and 13 CEOs of government-linked statutory boards and agencies.[8] It is often cited as Singapore's "premier school" and has been recognised as "the top feeder school for the Ivy League universities plus Stanford and MIT, as well as the top feeder school for Oxford University." [9][10][11]

School history[edit]

An undated photo of the original Raffles Institution building at the junction of Bras Basah and Beach Road (the site diagonally opposite SAF Warrant Officers and Specialists Club building)


Raffles Institution was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles, who proposed the establishment of the Institution or Singapore Institution at a meeting he convened on 1 April 1823.[12][13] Raffles wanted to establish a college for the people of Singapore since the founding of the colony, and wrote on 12 January 1823 that a site for a planned college had been selected.[14] His intention was to provide education for the children of local leaders in the new British colony of Singapore as well as the Company's employees and others who wished to learn the local languages. Another objective was to "collect the scattered literature and traditions of the country" so that the most important may be published and circulated.[15][16][17] Raffles referred to the plan as his "last public act"; by setting up the Institution, he hoped it that it could, through its generations of alumni, serve as "the means of civilising and bettering the conditions of millions" beyond Singapore.[18] Those involved in the plan for the Institution included Reverend Robert Morrison, Sophia Raffles, William Farquhar, and William Marsden. It was initially suggested that the Institution would merge with the Anglo-Chinese College founded by Morrison in Malacca, but this plan did not materialise.[19] Raffles secured a grant from the British East India Company, drafted the curriculum and set up the structure for the board of trustees that included William Wilberforce. Funds for the building of the institution were also raised through subscription. The original building of Raffles Institution was sited on Bras Basah Road.[20]

The first building at Bras Basah was designed by Lieutenant Phillip Jackson, the Garrison Engineer. Raffles laid the foundation stone of the building on 5 June 1823, a few days before he left Singapore for the last time on 9 June.[20] No classes were held while the building was under construction, but the project stalled and the building was left unfinished for some time.[18] Raffles' vision was also not shared by the Resident John Crawfurd, who felt the scale of the project excessive, and that the government should focus its efforts on elementary education instead.[21] In 1835, a group of European merchants raised money for the Raffles Monument Fund to commemorate Raffles' contribution to Singapore, and proposed that it should be used to complete the Institution.[20] George Drumgoole Coleman was then hired to finish and extend the original building by Jackson.[21]

Early years[edit]

On 1 August 1834, Reverend F.J. Darrah opened the Singapore Free School with 46 boys, which quickly grew to nearly 80. When the building for the Institute was completed in 1837, the school applied to occupy the building, a proposal the trustees of the Institution accepted.[22] The Singapore Free School moved into the building in December 1837, and became the Institution Free School.[17] It was however established as an elementary school rather than the college that Raffles had initially intended.[20] Originally the school offered classes in Malay, Chinese and English, but the Malay classes soon closed in 1842 due to low enrolment, and it would eventually become an English-medium school.[17] In May 1839, the first wing extension was completed, and the second at the end of 1841. In 1856, the Singapore Institution Free School was renamed Singapore Institution.[20]

In the 1860s, the school was gradually turned into a high school. In 1868 the school was renamed Raffles Institution.[20] The most significant headmasters of the period were J.B. Bayley and R.W. Hullett, who oversaw the transition and ran the school for a cumulative period of 50 years.[17]

The school is Singapore's first institution to enrol girls, with 11 pupils accepted in 1844.[17] In 1879, the girls wing of the school was established as Raffles Girls' School.


The school moved in March 1972 to Grange Road.[23] The old building was demolished and replaced by Raffles City Shopping Centre. The Bras Basah campus's library building is featured on the $2 paper and polymer note in Singapore currency.[24]

Bust of Sir Stamford Raffles at the Year 1-4 atrium

In 1984, it became one of two schools selected by the MOE to pilot the Gifted Education Programme to cater to intellectually gifted students.[25]

In 1990, the school moved again, this time from Grange Road to a new campus at Bishan, a recently-created new town.[26]

Raffles Junior College[edit]

In 1982 Raffles Junior College (RJC) was established at Paterson Road to take over the school's burgeoning pre-university enrolment. It subsequently moved to Mount Sinai Road.

In 2004, the new Raffles Programme was offered to Secondary 1 to 3 students. It allows RI students to enter RJC and sit for the GCE A-Levels at 18, without having to sit for the GCE O-Levels, giving them more time to engage in enrichment and co-curricular or passion-driven activities. The curriculum serves to "seek to nurture the best and brightest into men and women of scholarship who will be leaders of distinction, committed to excellence and service in the interest of the community and nation."[27] This subsequently led to the merging of RI's GEP and Special/Express streams to form a single Raffles Programme stream, and the establishment of its in-house academic talent development programme, Raffles Academy, catering to exceptionally gifted students via subject-specific pullout classes from Year 3 onwards, in 2007.

In 2005, RJC, along with Hwa Chong Junior College, became one of the first junior colleges in Singapore to attain independent status. RJC moved to its new Bishan campus adjacent to RI at the start of the 2005 school year, after attaining independent status and becoming the first Pre-University Institution in Singapore to be awarded the School Excellence Award.

In 2009, RI and RJC re-integrated to form a single institution under the name Raffles Institution to facilitate the running of the Raffles Programme and better align processes and curriculum.[28]

School identity & culture[edit]


The school motto - Auspicium Melioris Aevi - comes from the coat of arms of its founder, Sir Stamford Raffles. The official translation by the school is 'Hope of a Better Age'.[29] [nb 1]

Mission & Values[edit]

The school's mission of nurturing thinkers, leaders and pioneers of character who will serve by leading and lead in serving is further supported by the institution's FIRE Values - Fortitude, Integrity, Respect and Enterprise.[29]

Rafflesian Principle of Honour[edit]

In intellectual pursuit, I shall reflect discipline and passion for learning, and in personal conduct, I shall live in integrity and regard individuals, groups and the community with kindness and respect, and in so doing uphold the Rafflesian Principle of Honour.[29]


The five houses, three of them named after former headmasters, are Bayley, Buckley, Hullett, Moor and Morrison, represented by the colours yellow, green, black, red and blue respectively.

J.B. Bayley was a Headmaster who "raised Raffles Institution to a large and flourishing establishment", as recorded by the Board of Trustees.[30]
C.B. Buckley was the Secretary to the Board of Trustees of Raffles Institution.
R.W. Hullett was Raffles Institution's longest-serving Headmaster (31 years).
J.H. Moor was the first Headmaster of the school, and whose 4th great-grandson is Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.[31]
The Reverend Robert Morrison was the co-founder of Raffles Institution.

Year 1 students are sorted into houses by class. In the early years of RI's history, there were ten houses, including a sixth Philips house (purple), later disbanded. House allocations used to be student-based, instead of class-based. Each House is led by a House Captain, a Year 4 student, who carries out his role along with the respective House Committee. The Houses participate in inter-house tournaments and activities, notably including the annual Inter-House Sports Carnival, Dramafeste and the Inter-House Debate tournament, with points earned from each activity contributing to the House Championship which is awarded at the end of the school year.[32]

Students of the college section were divided into five Houses, the name of which is an amalgamation of its counterparts in RI and RGS:


Students from the Raffles Programme (RP) remained in the same House for the entire six years, while students enrolled into RI through the Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) were assigned to a House upon admission.[citation needed] Houses compete in Inter-House Competitions (IHC) annually. Organised by the Students' Council, the events span across disciplines and challenge participants both physically and mentally. The IHC Remix is generally held earlier in the year and comprises the non-Sports events whilst IHC Sports is held later in the year.[citation needed]

Institution Anthem[edit]

The Institution Anthem was written by E.W.Jesudason, RI's headmaster from 1963 to 1966. It is sung every Wednesday at both Y1-4 and Y5-6 morning assemblies, at the closure of all formal Institution events as well as in celebration of the Institution's triumphs.[citation needed] Although the anthem refers to Prometheus and God, the school maintains secular principles. The inclusion of Prometheus is due to the literary allusion to passing the torch, signifying the importance of education while 'God' in this context is a historical legacy of the school's British roots.[citation needed]

Orientation programmes[edit]

Year 1: Orientation Camp[edit]

The new intake of Year 1 students go through a 3-day orientation camp, involving understanding the school's culture and knowing the campus grounds, and various activities to facilitate class bonding, leadership development, etc. Year 4 Peer Support Leaders (PSLs) guide them through this camp and the rest of the orientation period. At the end of the camp, the Year 1s receive their school badges in the Junior Rafflesian Investiture Ceremony (JRIC), which occurs on the Friday of the Orientation Week.[33]

Year 5: Orientation Camp[edit]

The Y5 Orientation Camp is an event organised by members of the Student Council. Between their acceptance into the Junior College and the start of school, Year 5 students are split into Orientation Groups (OGs) of about 20 each led by 5 Orientation Group Leaders (OGLs) according to houses and participate in a 3-4 day long orientation programme filled with activities and games designed to help students better integrate into Junior College life. A notable activity of every orientation is the learning of the batch dance (4-song medley unique to the batch, done in boy-girl pairs) and either the Sun dance or the Legacy dance (in 2-year rotations). Despite the short period of the orientation, strong bonds lasting for the entirety of two years may be formed among OG mates.


The Raffles uniform from year 1-4 is all-white, including a white short-sleeved shirt with the Raffles badge at the top-right corner of the shirt pocket. Lower secondary students (Years 1 and 2) wear white short trousers and white socks. From Year 3 onwards, students may continue in short pants or opt for white long trousers. Shoes are white-based for all students, with the exception of laces, which must be fully white. Year 3 and 4 prefects must wear formal black shoes, except for Physical Education lessons, where they are required to change into appropriate shoes. School ties are worn only for formal occasions. Teachers have a formal gown for special occasions.[34]

For the college section, boys wear white shirts and long white pants while girls wear medium-sleeved, pleated white blouses and a short, pleated green skirt, with some choosing to wear shorts along with it. Uniform for Year 5-6 boys is largely similar to that for Year 1-4 boys, except in the pleats in the pants and the back of the shirt and the cotton material. The college badge is identical to RI's pre-1990s design; during that period RI slightly modified its badge design.

As of 2014, Fridays are dress-down days (also known in the school as Team Raffles Day); students may don the black Team Raffles polo shirt. This day used to be on Wednesday, until it was changed in early 2014.

Up to 2016, all students were required to wear their ties on schoolwide assembly days. Due to heat-related concerns, administration eased up and made it such that students are only required to wear their ties during formal events.


In former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's book The Singapore Story,[35] he mentions being caned for chronic lateness in the 1930s by the then headmaster, D.W. McLeod. In 1956, a former RI prefect wrote that, during his time there, "boys were caned on their bottoms for even winking at the girls. We did have very good discipline in our time and the boys became good citizens, lawyers, doctors, etc."[36]

The school continues to maintain strong discipline with a strict set of rules and regulations. Disciplinary measures are based on the Raffles Online Discipline system, introduced in 2011 and adapted from the Year 5 - 6 Section. Prior to the present system, student records were maintained based on a demerit point system, with Reformative Work Order and detention sessions for repeat offenders. These systems are primarily targeted at petty offences. Current school rules include prohibitions on eating and possessing sweetened drinks outside the canteen, physical activity in school uniform (as opposed to PE attire), and changing in class. The discipline framework is administered by the Discipline Master, in collaboration with the RIPB, for Year 1-4 students, and the Assistant Department Head (ADH) for Discipline for Year 5-6 students. For more serious offences, all male students are liable to receive corporal punishment in the form of caning if necessary.[34]


Raffles Academy[edit]

The Raffles Academy (RA), implemented in 2007, is a programme for students with higher capabilities in specific subjects. RA offers a curriculum pitched at a deeper level. During the academic periods, RA students leave their normal classes to join a special pull-out class. For some subjects, compulsory extra classes are also held. The subjects available are History, Geography, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Literature. RI had also offered RA Music from 2010, but stopped offering it in 2016 due to the low cohort size.[citation needed]

At Year 2, students can apply for RA via a submission of portfolio of achievements, selection tests and interviews, before they are identified for RA. Minimum requirements for application include a minimum GPA of 3.6, and an 85th percentile rank in the cohort for the subject in question. Each student is allowed to apply for a maximum of three RA subjects and take a maximum of two RA subjects, to allow students to focus their time and effort on the subjects they are truly passionate about.[citation needed]

If a student decides to take one of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics RA, he will be required to take the triple science and one humanities subject combination in Year 3 and 4.

The Raffles Academy has also been initiated in the Junior College section in 2009 so that there is a continuation of the curriculum. However, only the Sciences and Mathematics is offered, and students who wish to take a RA subject in JC will have to sit for a separate placement test at the end of Secondary Four.[citation needed]

Raffles Leadership Programme[edit]

The Raffles Leadership Programme (RLP) is an initiative of the Leadership Development Department, aimed at preparing Rafflesians to take on positions of leadership in school and in life. All Year 3 pupils go through the programme which includes going through the Leadership Challenge Workshop and taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Instrument. It also features a one-term residential component at RI Boarding.[37] The boarding programme started as a trial in 2008 and has now become a full-cohort programme.[38][39]

Under the RLP, Year 3 pupils also get to take part in a ten-week residential programme in RI Boarding to learn about independent living skills.[40] The RLP Boarding Programme was adjusted to a 7-week programme in 2019.

Student Leaders (consisting of all CCALs, ACCALs and Prefects) also get additional training which includes the annual Student Leader Camp, or SL Camp. This takes place around late Term 2 to prepare the student leaders to take up their responsibilities as leaders of their CCAs. Participants board in the school's boarding complex and take part in several team-bonding and leadership-oriented activities both locally and overseas.[citation needed]

Language Elective Programme[edit]

Raffles Institution (JC) will be offering the Malay Language Elective Programme (LEP) from 2020[41]

Prefectorial Board (Secondary School Section)[edit]

Raffles Institution Prefectorial Board logo.

The Raffles Institution Prefectorial Board (RIPB) aims to serve as role models of character, committed to inspiring and rallying the school, so as to forge a united Rafflesian community.[citation needed]

Since its founding, the RIPB had comprised 5 departments - Communications, Discipline, Human Resource, Welfare and the Gryphon's Committee (the latter's mandate was to drum up school spirit). Its Executive Committee constituted the Head and Deputy Head Prefects, together with the 10 Heads and Deputy Heads of each department. However, in July 2012, after an acrimonious schism between the previous Executive Committee and the teachers who oversaw the RIPB, the teachers initiated a comprehensive review of the RIPB's structure. It was the first in many years for the Board; and after 3 months of dialogues with students, teachers and the school management, the RIPB was streamlined to comprise 2 key branches, Standards and Spirit, reflecting the core mission of all prefects. The work of these 2 branches was supported by the Development branch.[citation needed] This top-down change generated a fair amount of controversy as the objections of numerous alumni to the changes were overruled by the school management.

In 2015, the RIPB had another review of the role of prefects in RI, and after discussions with the school management, the RIPB has come up with a more pertinent board structure that further enables the RIPB to serve the school. As of 2016, the RIPB has 3 main branches, namely Standards, Spirits and Outreach. The RIPB is headed by the Head Prefect and Deputy Head Prefect, together with 3 members of the RIPB Executive Committee. They work closely with the prefects and a team of RIPB teachers to fulfill the mission of the Board.[citation needed]

The selection of prefects is a rigorous process. Prefects are first nominated by students and seconded by teachers and prefects. The RIPB will then shortlist a number of candidates for interview. A selection camp may also be conducted. Subsequently, potential prefects will be voted in by the school population. This may make it into a somewhat "popularity contest", so teachers have the right to veto a person deemed unfit to be a prefect. In addition to helping maintain order in the school, the Board organizes activities ranging from interest groups to formal occasions. In 2005, the Board raised S$40,000 to buy a van for use by the handicapped at a voluntary welfare organisation, as well as co-organising a Guinness-record-breaking attempt with Dr. William Tan, in aid of a cancer foundation.[citation needed]

In late 2018, the RIPB Student Executive Committee, along with the teacher mentors, decided to streamline the PB as a whole. The Standards Branch, consisting of Offence Record Systems and Duty Systems Department, remained unchanged while other branches underwent major changes. The Outreach Branch, which previously did not have any divisions, is now split into the Internal and External Outreach. The Inter-Intra Board Relations Department from Spirits branch was disbanded, and a new Student Welfare Department was created. Other departments, such as Match Support and Gryphon's Lair from the Spirit Branch remained unchanged. Prefects were allowed to leave old departments and join new ones.

Students' Council (Junior College Section)[edit]

The Students' Council of the Year 5-6 section is divided into a total of eight departments, namely the Welfare Department, the Communications Department (Commz'D), the CCA Department (CCAD) and the five House Directorates. Each councillor also takes up one or two of the six functions, which are college events organised by the council: National Day, Teachers' Day, Grad Night, Open House, Orientation and Council Camp.[42] Members of the Students' Council are selected through a college-wide election process. Each batch undergoes a rigorous selection process, which culminates in the Council Investiture. The Students' Council is headed by a President, who is assisted by his/her EXCO consisting of two Vice-Presidents, two Secretaries, the three Heads of Departments and the five House Captains. As of 2018, the school is served by the 38th batch of Student Councillors.

Class Executive Committee[edit]

Every class in Raffles Institution has its own Class Executive Committee (CEC). This consists of three students: a Monitor and two Vice-Monitors. Often, students vote for classmates to take up these positions, but some Form Teachers may choose to select students themselves.[citation needed]

The CEC Council is made up of representatives from the CEC from each level. These representatives are nominated and voted by all the CEC members in their respective level. It works closely with RIPB to organize events. It also organises inter-class events, such as the inter-class classroom decoration competition and the inter-class soccer tournament.[citation needed]

Student activities[edit]

Co-curricular activities[edit]

Secondary School section[edit]

Raffles Institution offers about a forty CCAs under the co-curricular activity (CCA) programme, including sports, uniformed groups, performing arts, and clubs and societies.[43]

CCAs are categorised as either core or merit CCAs. Core CCAs comprise all sports, uniformed groups and performing arts, as well as Raffles Debaters while merit CCAs consist of all other clubs and societies. Every student of the school takes up at least one core CCA. Merit CCAs are optional, but students are encouraged to take up at least one merit CCA to supplement their core CCA. Certain merit CCAs, such as the Infocomm Club, however, may substitute for a core CCA instead.

The school's sports teams and uniformed groups have earned top places in many national inter-school competitions, doing well in Red Cross Youth, Rugby, NCC, Floorball, Boys' Brigade, and cross-country among others.[44][45]

The performing arts groups have also done well in the Singapore Youth Festival, held once every two years,[46] while the clubs and societies have also won awards.[47]

Junior College Section[edit]

The Year 5-6 section offers over seventy CCAs including sports, performing arts, and clubs and societies. Unlike in the first four years of the Raffles Programme, no distinction is made between core and merit CCAs. Students may offer up to two CCAs, no more than one of which may be a sports or performing arts group.

Teams from RI performed well nationally in 2011, with the performing arts groups clinching 15 Golds (including 9 with Honours) and 5 Silvers at the biennial Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging[48] and the sports teams winning 32 championship titles as well as 24 Silvers and 11 Bronzes at the National Interschools Sports Championships.[49] The school's Clubs and Societies have also performed excellently in their various national competitions, with Raffles Debaters clinching championship titles and the History and Strategic Affairs Society clinching best school delegation awards at international Model United Nations conferences.[50]


The college community is served by Raffles Press, the school's journalism society, which publishes its flagship online student newspaper Word of Mouth. The newspaper includes features, op-ed columns, sports reports and concert reviews. In addition, all staff and most students also receive a copy of the Rafflesian Times, the school's official magazine, from the Communications Department.

The journalism society regularly publishes articles dealing with daily school life, recent assemblies and events as well as wider national issues including the SG50 sentiment[permanent dead link] and the 2015 Southeast Asian haze[permanent dead link].

In 2015, students from the school also started an unofficial satirical publication called "The Waffle Press" (a play on the official Raffles Press) that made fun of school events and examinations.


The 13-storey twin towers next to the boarding complex

Raffles Institution Boarding is housed in a Boarding Complex consisting of five blocks. These are named after the five Houses; Bayley, Buckley, Hullett, Moor and Morrison. Each block, apart from the new Hullett block, can accommodate 90 pupils. All blocks have their own staff, and the Boarding Complex is overseen by several Boarding Mentors.


The foundation stone of the Boarding Complex was laid by Lee Kuan Yew on 25 March 1994. The first batch of boarders moved into the Complex in 1996.

During the upgrading works in 2006, the former Moor block was demolished to make way for a 13-storey twin tower hostel, the Hullett block, completed in July 2007,[51] and the former Hullett block in turn renamed Moor. The three blocks of Buckley, Moor and Bayley houses boys enrolling in Raffles Leadership Programme, whereas Morrison block catered to girls previously.

The boarding complex underwent a major renovation which was completed by the end of 2012. The renovation resulted in a new facade that blends in with the contemporary looks of Hullett block with new windows and new exterior coat of paint. The tiles along the common areas like the staircase and corridors were also replaced with new ones. New lifts were installed at every block to imporve accessibility. The current games rooms in the four blocks were shifted into the current reception lobby and in its place, the Buckley block now has a new mini-mart, Bayley has a new gym cum dance studio (only for RIB boarders), Morrison and Moor will have new offices for ORA/RPA and the Internationalisation Office. All rooms would also be fully air-conditioned too.

Boarding traditions & culture[edit]

Boarders consist of local Raffles Institution pupils and scholars from other countries (mostly China and ASEAN countries), as well as pupils from other secondary schools and junior colleges. The Raffles Leadership Programme's first two cycles, in 2008 and 2009, which first phase was mandatory for CCA leaders, included a semester long (Term 3-4) residential component. The remaining two phases, open to applicants through their CCAs, each had a one term long boarding component. Since its third cycle in 2010, all three phases have been open to all interested Year 3 students, and had a one term long boarding component.

Boarding traditions include formal dinners that are held twice a year, as well as an orientation programme for newcomers. Other programmes include the annual RIB Night.


Entrance to RI and RJC

The Raffles Institution Year 1 - 4 campus consists of six main blocks on 18.65 hectares of land.[citation needed]

Yusof Ishak Block (Former Admin Block)[edit]

Raffles Institution Yusof Ishak Block

The main building is the Yusof Ishak Block, comprising offices, staff rooms, lecture theatres, study areas and computer labs, as well the Main Atrium. It houses the Year 1-4 General Office and the Raffles Archives & Museum. Major upgrading works were completed in early 2007.[51]

Science Hub[edit]

The Science Hub, opened in 2008, includes facilities for specialised research such as Xploratory-Labs;[52] as well as Chemistry, Physics and Biology labs. It also houses the Discovery Labs, a Laser Animation/Technology Studio, the Materials Science Lab and the Raffles Academy Home Room. It is connected to the Yusof Ishak Block.

Marshall Block (Former Senior Block)[edit]

The Marshall Block, named after Singapore's first Chief Minister David Marshall, houses classrooms for Year 1 students, since year 2013. In the past, the block was solely reserved for Year 4 seniors of Raffles, later the Year 1 students.

Humanities Hub[edit]

The Humanities Hub comprises history, geography and literature rooms as well as two circular theatres on the ground floor, and an open-air experimental area. It was in use by Term 3 in 2009. It is connected to the Yusof Ishak Block.[citation needed]

Sheares Block[edit]

Sheares Block

The four-storey Sheares Block was built in 1997. It was named after Benjamin Sheares and used to be called the Junior Block. It houses the Year 2 classrooms, computer laboratories, an English Studio used by the Raffles Players, one Chinese language room used by Chinese Cultural Club and a class room used by the Tamil class. It is four storeys high and is designed as a closed building with the classrooms surrounding a central, covered atrium, which is sometimes used for gatherings and activities. In 2012, several seminar rooms were renovated and converted into the Raffles Discovery Studio, which houses recording, video-editing and other related facilities managed by the Education Technology Department. The Raffles Discovery Studio aims to be a model futuristic classroom facility that encompasses smart technology into lesson plans and design, and is in the early stages of development.[citation needed]


Formerly known as the Design Centre, the first floor of the ARTSpace houses the art galleries, classrooms, and art and music studios. The second floor has a Gymnasium, which has a roof 2.5 floors tall, and bathrooms. The third floor of the ARTSpace houses the CCA rooms of RI's Uniformed Groups and Guitar Room. The roof of the ARTSpace houses the school's mini-weather station.[citation needed]

S. Rajaratnam Block[edit]

S. Rajaratnam block

The 7-storey Rajaratnam Block was completed in 2006 beside the Sheares Block, nicknamed by students and staff as the "Raja" Block. Year 3 and 4 classes occupy the new block, named in memory of the late Mr S. Rajaratnam. The first floor, called the Rajaratnam Block Foyer, has many tables and is used by students to study and Uniformed Groups for training. The second to seventh floor houses 40 classrooms. There are also vending machines in the foyer that sell sandwiches and drinks. Next to the Rajaratnam Block is the Raffles Green, a grass patch used for activities and sports.

CCA Block[edit]

The CCA block houses the canteen, CCA rooms and the Albert Hong Hall (AHH), as well as an auditorium which also serves as a drama theatre and performing arts centre. Two squash courts are below the stage in AHH. There is also a gym on the second floor.

Hullett Memorial Library / Shaw Foundation Dining Hall[edit]

The Hullett Memorial Library (HML) stands between the Sheares Block and ArtSpace. Co-founded by Dr Lim Boon Keng and Sir Song Ong Siang, it was named after Raffles Institution's longest-serving Headmaster, Richmond William Hullett, in 1923. The Library's official founding (even though a library and museum, from which the National Museum originated, had existed for decades prior to 1923) also marked the centenary of the founding of the institution.[53] The Library traces its roots to the founding of the Institution, making it the oldest library in Singapore.[15][54] The origins of Singapore's National Library lie in the HML.[55]

The library possesses around 50,000 books in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil, also including books written in other none- core languages such as Germanic, and around 40 computers with wireless internet access. It employs full-time staff for administrative purposes, and other tasks are performed by the members of the Hullett Memorial Library Club as well as parent volunteers.[citation needed]

The library is below the Shaw Foundation Dining Hall, which is where boarders eat. During camps, campers eat here occasionally.

Sports facilities[edit]

Raffles Institution offers sports facilities, including an Olympic-size swimming pool. The former 400-metre track and field was replaced by a rugby union field and a softball diamond during the school's upgrading works in 2006.[citation needed]

The school's gymnasium underwent renovation in 2010, and was used as a training venue for gymnastics in 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, together with that in the Year 5-6 campus.[56] The school also has two tennis courts, two basketball courts, two squash courts, and two cricket nets.[citation needed]

There is an artificial soccer turf known as the Astroturf. It used to serve as the Parade Square; the artificial turf was installed around 1995. It was used for school assembly in the morning, and later in the day for hockey training and for individual sports and games, until upgrading works in 2006. Since upgrading works in 2006 were completed, morning assemblies are held at a new area called the Raffles Square, which had been a carpark.[citation needed]

Following the re-integration with Raffles Junior College from 2009, more sports facilities are available. Floorball, table tennis, judo and gymnastics are RI sports now able to use the Year 5-6 Campus facilities.[57]

IT facilities[edit]

The school has six general-purpose computer labs, one music studio with Prodikeys, and one X-lab, short for Experimental Lab for research in computer studies. Connectivity is supplied to all buildings by the campus LAN, with additional wireless access covering most areas such as the Administrative Block, the Hullett Memorial Library (HML) and the S. Rajaratnam Block. Tablet PCs are supplied by the IT department to facilitate the use of eLearning in a classroom setting.[citation needed]

The first week of the second term of the academic year used to be dedicated to eLearning. During this week, lessons and materials would be disseminated online for students to study at their own pace, and students were not required to attend school. The programme was initiated in 1999 but scrapped in 2006. Since then, e-learning has been integrated into the school calendar. It is often used by teachers during holidays during term time, for instance on Staff Training Days during term time when students are not required to attend lessons; instead, teachers attend courses held in the campus.[citation needed]


RI's alumni body, the Old Rafflesians Association (ORA), includes former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, and three former presidents of Singapore: Yusof bin Ishak, Benjamin Henry Sheares, and Wee Kim Wee.[58][35][15]

Notable alumni[edit]




Public service[edit]




In popular culture[edit]

Raffles Institution was featured in an episode of the Australian version of The World's Strictest Parents. In this episode, teenagers Zaine and Memphis attend the school, only to truant class midway through the day and attempt to take a taxi towards Orchard Road without being caught.[60]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b While the school's translation of its motto is "hope of a better age",[61] this is a mistranslation. Auspicium primarily means an augury or auspice, which is a divinatory omen derived by an augur from watching the flight of birds.[62] It may mean omen, token or sign, but not hope.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Board of Governors". Raffles Institution. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Organisation Chart". Raffles Institution. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Raffles | ABOUT". Raffles Institution. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  4. ^ "School Excellence Award (SEA)" (Press release). Ministry of Education. 28 September 2004. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.
  5. ^ "Raffles | GLOBAL". Raffles Institution. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Nine Organisations Win Business Excellence Awards 2011" (Press release). SPRING Singapore. 19 October 2011. Archived from the original on 12 November 2011.
  7. ^ http://issuu.com/ripub/docs/school_brochure_2012
  8. ^ http://issuu.com/ripub/docs/2011_school_brochure
  9. ^ http://issuu.com/ripub/docs/2011-institution-report
  10. ^ "Gateway to the Ivy League". Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Behind the RI curtains". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  12. ^ Sophia Raffles, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1830). Memoir of the Life and Public Services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, F.R.S. John Murray. pp. Appendix 74–75.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ Charles Burton Buckley (1902). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore. p. 139.
  14. ^ Charles Burton Buckley (1902). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore. p. 122.
  15. ^ a b c Wijeysingha, E. (2004). "1–11". The Eagle Breeds a Gryphon. Singapore: Raffles Institution. ISBN 978-981-00-2054-5.
  16. ^ Glendinning, Victoria (1 November 2012). Raffles: And the Golden Opportunity. Profile Books. ISBN 9781847658241.
  17. ^ a b c d e Cheeseman, H.R. (8 October 1935). "A Century of Education in Singapore". The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser. p. 16.
  18. ^ a b Glendinning, Victoria (1 November 2012). Raffles: And the Golden Opportunity. Profile Books. ISBN 9781847658241.
  19. ^ R. L. O'Sullivan (1988). "The Anglo-Chinese College and the Early 'Singapore Institution'". Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 61 (2 (255)): 45–62. JSTOR 41493102.
  20. ^ a b c d e f "Raffles Institution". Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board, Singapore.
  21. ^ a b Jane Beamish, Jane Ferguson (1 December 1985). A History of Singapore Architecture: The Making of a City. Graham Brash. p. 43. ISBN 978-9971947972.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  22. ^ "Singapore Free School is Opened". History SG. National Library Board, Singapore.
  23. ^ "The old Raffles Institution premises at Grange Road". Roots.
  24. ^ "The Singapore Mint:Note Facts", The Singapore Mint, 2013.
  25. ^ "Gifted Education Programme: Development and Growth". Ministry of Education. n.d. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  26. ^ Lee, June (11 May 2012). "RI's Bishan Campus: And the Twain Shall Meet". Raffles Institution.
  27. ^ "Mission and Goals". Raffles Institution. Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2009.
  28. ^ Huang, Ryan (13 October 2008). "RI, RJC to merge next year; new school will be Raffles Institution". Channel NewsAsia. Singapore. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  29. ^ a b c "Our Vision and Motto". Raffles Institution. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011.
  30. ^ Bayley House page Archived 1 May 2008 at Archive.today, Raffles Institution.
  31. ^ "Person Page". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  32. ^ "Raffles Institution". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  33. ^ "Year 1 Milestones". Raffles Institution. Archived from the original on 31 December 2011.
  34. ^ a b "School Rules" (PDF). Raffles Institution. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 October 2011.
  35. ^ a b c "The Singapore Story". Time Asia (Hong Kong). 21 September 1998.
  36. ^ "A bit of discipline is good for boys". The Straits Times. Singapore. 8 October 1956.
  37. ^ "The Raffles Programme". Raffles Institution.
  38. ^ Yuen Sin (13 June 2016). "Boarding programme: Living with peers". The Straits Times.
  39. ^ "Raffles Leadership Programme". Facebook.
  40. ^ "Raffles Leadership Programme". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011.
  41. ^ Tiah, Corine (28 May 2019). "15 secondary schools to offer language elective programmes from 2020". Channel News Asia. Singapore. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  42. ^ "Functions". teamraffles.
  43. ^ "CCAs". Raffles Institution.
  44. ^ "2005 Sports & Games Achievements" Archived 2 September 2006 at Archive.today, Raffles Institution, 2005-2006.
  45. ^ "2005 Achievements by Uniformed Groups" Archived 2 September 2006 at Archive.today, Raffles Institution, 26 November 2005.
  46. ^ "2005 Achievements by Music, Drama & Aesthetics Groups" Archived 2 September 2006 at Archive.today, Raffles Institution, 2005-2006.
  47. ^ "2005 Academic Competition Achievements" Archived 2 September 2006 at Archive.today, Raffles Institution, 2005-2006.
  48. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  49. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 January 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  50. ^ "Raffles Institution - a leading Singaporean pre-tertiary institution". www.ri.edu.sg.
  51. ^ a b "Hot News", Raffles Institution, 26 November 2005.
  52. ^ "MSD Singapore", Raffles Institution/ Merck Sharp and Dohme Exploratory Laboratories, 22 April 2000
  53. ^ The History of The Hullett Memorial Library Archived 27 September 2006 at Archive.today.
  54. ^ " It houses over 50 000 books. From Books to Bytes - The story of the National Library", National Library Board, 2006.
  55. ^ "The Singapore Institution Library" Archived 21 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, National Library Board, Singapore, 4 November 2002.
  56. ^ "Singapore Candidature File Volume 1" (PDF). BOCOG. n.d. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 April 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
  57. ^ Lim Say Heng (20 January 2009). "But other sports benefit from merger". The New Paper. Singapore.[permanent dead link]
  58. ^ Honorary Members Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Old Rafflesians' Association, 2005.
  59. ^ "Director-General of Education Ho Peng to retire after 36 years of service". The Straits Times. 24 February 2015.
  60. ^ "Did S'pore stint help change Aussie teens?". www.asiaone.com. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  61. ^ "Our Vision and Motto". Raffles Institution. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  62. ^ Lewis, Charlton T.; Short, Charles (n.d.). "A Latin Dictionary". Tufts University. Retrieved 8 April 2012.


  • Wijeysingha, Eugene et al., (1992), One Man's Vision - Raffles Institution in Focus.
  • Wijeysingha, Eugene (1985), The Eagle Breeds a Gryphon. ISBN 981-00-2054-6
  • Raffles Programme. "Raffles Programme - Nurturing the Thinker, Leader and Pioneer", Raffles Family of Schools, 2006, retrieved 7 December 2006.
  • Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people (pp. 6–16). Singapore: Times Books International. ISBN 978-9971-65-097-1
  • Wijeysingha, E. (1963). A history of Raffles Institution, 1823-1963. Singapore: University Education Press. OCLC 36660
  • Makepeace, Walter; Brooke, Gilbert E.; Braddell, Roland St. J. (Eds.). (1991) [1921]. One hundred years of Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press. OCLC 473736327
  • Ng Sow Chan (1991). She is from the East (她来自东 /Ta lai zi dong). Singapore: Raffles Institution. OCLC 48176153

Coordinates: 1°20′51″N 103°50′38″E / 1.347598°N 103.843951°E / 1.347598; 103.843951