Raffles Institution (Junior College)

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Raffles Institution
Institusi Raffles
ராப்பிள்ஸ் கல்வி நிலையம்
Raffles Junior College Facade.jpg
One Raffles Institution Lane
Singapore 575954

Type Independent
Motto Auspicium Melioris Aevi  (Latin)
(Hope Of A Better Age[nb 1])
Founded 5 June 1823 (1823-06-05)
Founder Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles
School district South Zone
Session Sing session
School code 3009
Chairman Cham Tao Soon (Prof)[1]
Principal Chan Poh Meng (Mr)[2]
Deputy Principals S Magendiran (Mr) (Senior Deputy Principal/Student Development & Alumni Relations)
Theresa Lai (Mrs) (Educational Development)
Tan Nam Seng (Mr) (Senior Deputy Principal/Planning & Resources)
Leong Yew Wah (Mr) (Special Projects)
Tan Siok Mui (Mrs) (On Secondment to MOE)[2]
Teaching staff 500[3]
Gender Boys (Year 1-4)
Mixed (Year 5-6)
Enrolment 4600[3]
Houses Year 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
Mascot Griffles
Team name Team Raffles, Gryphons
National ranking 1st (2003)[4]
Publication Eagle Eye
Newspaper Rafflesian Times
Yearbook The Rafflesian
Affiliations Raffles Girls' School

The Year 5-6 section of Raffles Institution (RI) offers the Raffles Programme at pre-university level. RI, the oldest centre of learning in Singapore, is an independent public school founded in 1823 by Sir Stamford Raffles. Its current campus is in Bishan.

Formerly Raffles Junior College (RJC), it merged with Raffles Institution on 1 January 2009,[5] with whom it had shared a common Board of Governors since June 2008.[6] The first Principal of the merged institution was Mrs Lim Lai Cheng, who took over in 2007 from Mr Winston James Hodge, who had left the school to assume a position at the Ministry of Education.[7] The current Principal of Raffles Institution is Mr Chan Poh Meng, who took over in 2014 from Mrs Lim Lai Cheng.

To date, Raffles Institution has produced 94 President's Scholars and the bulk of Public Service Commission scholars. It remains the only Singaporean member of the G20 Group of Schools. RI 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." [8] In the article "Gateway to the Ivy League," the Wall Street Journal named then RJC the "Ivy League Machine." [9] However, more students matriculate into top UK universities such as Cambridge University, London School of Economics and Political Science, Oxford University, University College London, King's College London, and Imperial College London (among others).


Raffles Junior college chemistry lab students in the early 1990s.

In 1982, Raffles Institution’s pre-university section was transferred to a temporary campus at Paterson Road. There, Raffles Junior College was established to offer the GCE A Level curriculum. It was the first junior college to be established with both JC1 and JC2 students, with the JC2 students having just completed their first in pre-university year in RI.

RJC then moved to Mt Sinai Road in 1984 which provided better facilities and a larger site to cater to junior college education. 21 years later, the college held its moving ceremony on 29 December 2004 from its previous Mount Sinai campus to Bishan, adjacent to the current Year 1-4 campus. Students took a chartered MRT train to Bishan and walked to their new campus, which was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 8 April 2006, in conjunction with the college's 25th anniversary celebrations.

On 1 January 2005, the college became an independent institution. In the same year, RJC became the first junior college to be awarded the School Excellence Award, the highest award in the MOE Masterplan of Awards.


  • Mr Rudy Mosbergen (1982–1987)
  • Mr Lee Fong Seng (1988–2000)
  • Mr Winston James Hodge (2001–2007)
  • Mrs Lim Lai Cheng (2008–2013)
  • Mr Chan Poh Meng (2013–Present)


  • School Excellence Award (2005–present)
  • School Distinction Award (2004–present)
  • Best Practice Award (Organisational Effectiveness) (2007–2011)
  • Best Practice Award (Staff Well-Being) (2007–2011)
  • Best Practice Award (Student All-Round Development) (2007–2011)
  • Best Practice Award (Teaching and Learning) (2007–2011)
  • Outstanding Development Award (Character Development) (2007–2011)
  • Sustained Achievement Award (Sports)
  • Sustained Achievement Award (Aesthetics)
  • Development Award (National Education)(2009–present)
The Raffles bust


Institution Anthem[edit]

The Institution Anthem was written by E W Jesudason in 1961, who served as RI's Headmaster from 1963 to 1966. Being born from the bosom of RI, the college has adopted Auspicium Melioris Aevi as its anthem since its founding in 1982.

When Stamford Raffles held the torch
That cast Promethean flame
We faced the challenge of the day
To give our school a name
The eagle eye and gryphon strength
They led us to the fore
To reign supreme in every sphere
The sons of Singapore
Come heed the call Rafflesians all
And let our hearts be stirring
We'll do our best whate'er the test
And keep our colours flying
Let comradeship and fervent hope
With one voice make us pray
Auspicium Melioris Aevi
With God to guide the way

Coat of arms[edit]

Auspicium Melioris Aevi

The school badge is a modified version of the Raffles coat of arms, permission for use of which was granted by his family. This replaces the original erminois portion of the field with gold and the purpure of the gryphon crest with gules.

The gryphon on the crest is a stately creature, majestic and strong, symbolising stability and success for the school. The double-headed eagle on the shield signifies the looking back onto the past and onto the future, symbolising the institution's tradition of drawing strength and experience from the past in order to excel in the future.

The motto "Auspicium Melioris Ævi", displayed at the base of the shield, is officially translated as "Hope of a Better Age". While a mistranslation, this has become the standard version.[10] It is also the motto of the Order of St Michael and St George.

Rafflesian Principle of Honour[edit]

The Rafflesian Principle of Honour, taught to every Rafflesian at the Year 1 Orientation and reinforced at the Year 5 Orientation, encapsulates the academic and social expectations of every Rafflesian.

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.


Main entrance to Raffles Institution's Bishan campus, which before the 2009 reintegration was a common driveway between RI and RJC.

Raffles Institution is affiliated to the Raffles Girls' School (RGS) through the Raffles Programme (RP) as well as a shared history. In the RP, boys receive their first four years of secondary education in RI and girls in RGS, before completing their pre-university studies in RI together.

Prior to reintegration, Raffles Junior College already shared its college anthem and coat of arms with Raffles Institution, being born from the latter's bosom. In 2004, when RJC moved next to RI in Bishan, the two schools ran an open campus; each school's students could visit the other campus, sharing CCA facilities and a sheltered linkway between the campuses.


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.


Raffles Academy[edit]

Started in 2007 in Raffles Institution, prior to the 2009 RI-RJC merger, the Raffles Academy (RA) was a talent development programme designed to meet the learning needs of students exceptionally gifted in a particular subject. The programme originally spanned Years 3 and 4 but in 2009 was expanded to Years 5 and 6.

The Year 5-6 Raffles Academy offers four subjects, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics, of which students can offer up to two, although Mathematics may be offered only with Physics and Biology with Chemistry. Students in the Raffles Academy attend pull-out lectures and tutorials as well as a weekly enrichment session, although they follow the H2 curriculum.

At the end of Year 4, students may apply for the Year 5-6 Raffles Academy by submitting a personal statement and portfolio, and sitting for a selection test. Approximately 100 students per batch offer the Raffles Academy.[11]

Raffles Diploma[edit]

The Raffles Diploma (RD) is a certification that recognises student participation and achievements in a wide spectrum of programmes in the five development domains - Cognitive, Character and Leadership, Community and Citizenship, Arts and Aesthetics, as well as Sports and Health. The class of 2011 was the first batch to receive their Raffles Diploma.

Under each development domain are three tiered levels of achievement, each with a set of criteria - Raffles Diploma, Raffles Diploma with Merit and Raffles Diploma with Distinction. Upon meeting the base criteria across all five development domains, Rafflesians are automatically awarded the RD, with exceptional students obtaining a merit or distinction in a particular domain. To receive a Distinction in any domain is considered highly prestigious.

For the Merit award, submission of a short reflection essay is required to ascertain students' quality of experience within the domain(s). For the Distinction award, students must submit a written statement of his/her interest, involvement and reflections in the respective domain(s), which is awarded upon recommendation by a Select Committee which comprises external readers.[12]

Raffles Humanities Programme[edit]

The Humanities Scholarship Programme is the Arts equivalent of the Raffles Academy for sciences, accepting exceptionally gifted humanities students who take the Arts subjects (including but not limited to Literature, Economics, History, Geography, English Language and Linguistics). Students accepted are placed in separate classes and occupy a distinct Humanities building within the school, complete with a lecture hall and classrooms. Lessons conducted under the programme aim to be more interactive, involving students in discussions to a greater extent so as to promote critical thinking skills. Over the course of the programme, Humanities Programme (HP) students benefit from various enrichment activities including weekly guest speakers and humanities workshops.[13]

Student activities[edit]

Block H

Co-curricular activities[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[14] and the sports teams winning 32 championship titles as well as 24 Silvers and 11 Bronzes at the National Interschools Sports Championships.[15] 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.[16]


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 and the 2015 Southeast Asian haze.

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.

Students' Council[edit]

The Students' Council 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 seven functions, which are college events organised by the council: Founder's Day, National Day, Teachers' Day, Grad Night, Open House, Orientation and Council Camp.

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.

House system[edit]

Every Year 5-6 student is a member of one of the five Houses, the name of which is an amalgamation of its Year 1-4 predecessors in RI and RGS:

  • Bayley-Waddle (yellow)
  • Buckle-Buckley (green)
  • Hadley-Hullett (purple/black)
  • Morrison-Richardson (blue)
  • Moor-Tarbet (red)

Students from the Raffles Programme (RP) would remain in the same House for the entire six years. For example, a student from Tarbet in RGS would proceed to Moor-Tarbet in RI (Year 5-6), while a student from Morrison in RI would proceed to Morrison-Richardson. Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) students entering in Year 5 would be assigned to a House upon admission.

The current house system replaced the faculty system in place before May 2005. Under the faculty system, students belonged to one of the five faculties:

  • Arts (red)
  • Commerce (black)
  • Computing and Pure Science (green)
  • Engineering (blue)
  • Medicine (yellow)

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.

Graduation Night[edit]

Known colloquially as 'Grad Night', this is a graduation dinner organised by the incoming Students' Council for the outgoing batch of students. The annual event is usually held outside of the school compound.


Raffles Institution has produced 94 President's Scholars since Singapore's independence in 1965, topping all Singapore schools. 47% of Singapore Government scholarships also go to Rafflesians, including the prestigious SAF, Singapore Police Force and Public Service Commission scholarships.[17]

Each year, about 345 places in top UK universities and 140 places in top US colleges are offered to Rafflesians. In 2013, 92 students were admitted to Oxford and Cambridge.[18] This is one of the highest, if not the highest, number of students from a single institution admitted to UK's Oxbridge universities.[19] 49 students have also received early admission offers from top US universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Stanford.[20] In 2013, there were 81 admits to the Ivy League Universities plus Stanford and MIT.[19] 50% of places in the NUS Medical and Law faculties also go to Raffles Institution graduates.[21]

The class of 2012 produced a record-breaking 10 students who offered 13 units of study scored distinctions in all of their 9 subjects, since the A Level curriculum was revised in 2007.[22]


The bridge connecting Blocks A and B and the courtyard between the two blocks

The Year 5-6 campus consists of 11 blocks and three fields. Facilities include six lecture theatres, a Performing Arts Centre, the Singapore Pools Indoor Sports Hall and the Shaw Foundation Library. On campus are also a Popular Bookstore and a cafe (Manna Cafe).

Notable alumni[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.[23]

Amos Yee, a controversial Singaporean blogger also criticised Raffles Institution for elitism and for the "conformist" attitudes expressed by students in its local publication, the Knowledge Skills Bulletin.[24] An unofficial student-driven satirical school publication released a response to his video the next day.


  1. ^ While the school's translation of its motto is "hope of a better age",[25] 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.[26] It may mean omen, token or sign, but not hope.


  1. ^ "Board of Governors". Raffles Institution. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Organisation Chart". Raffles Institution. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "2009/2010 Institution Report (Section 1)". Raffles Institution. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Raffles JC, RI looking into merger", Sandra Davie, The Straits Times, 4 January 2008
  6. ^ Welcome to Raffles Junior College Homepage
  7. ^ "Top schools get fresh faces at the hemp", Maria Almenmoan; Diana Othman, The Straits Times, 11 October 2007
  8. ^ http://issuu.com/ripub/docs/2011-institution-report
  9. ^ http://www.mrbrown.com/blog/2004/05/raffles_junior_.html
  10. ^ Refer, for example, to One Man's Vision: Raffles Institution in Focus (1992): "Hope of a Better Age, the school motto, is the vision perceived by Raffles Institution, a perception every Rafflesian hopes to achieve for the future."
  11. ^ http://www.ri.edu.sg/main/rafflesprog/academic
  12. ^ http://www.ri.edu.sg/main/rafflesprog/rafflesdiploma
  13. ^ "Raffles Institution". www.ri.edu.sg. Retrieved 2015-11-17. 
  14. ^ http://www.ri.edu.sg/main/rafflesnewsdetail/?id=644
  15. ^ http://www.ri.edu.sg/main/rafflesnewsdetail/?id=645
  16. ^ http://www.ri.edu.sg/#Page/NE/
  17. ^ "Raffles Institution". admissions.ri.edu.sg. Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  18. ^ http://issuu.com/ripub/docs/ri190-brochure
  19. ^ a b http://issuu.com/ripub/docs/ri-190foundersday-report-fa-full
  20. ^ http://www.ri.edu.sg/main/rafflesnewsdetail/?id=868
  21. ^ http://admissions.ri.edu.sg
  22. ^ http://www.ri.edu.sg/main/rafflesnewsdetail/?id=740
  23. ^ "Did S'pore stint help change Aussie teens?". www.asiaone.com. Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  24. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOjSCRuZF_M, retrieved 2015-11-23  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ "Our Vision and Motto". Raffles Institution. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  26. ^ Lewis, Charlton T.; Short, Charles (n.d.). "A Latin Dictionary". Tufts University. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 

External links[edit]