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Highlights of Xinmin's History

Chapter 1: It all started with a bold dream

Mr Yap Fun Hong had a dream.  He wanted to provide education to the predominantly Chinese community in the Hougang-Serangoon area.  During those times, many people were uneducated or had their education stopped halfway, due to the Japanese occupation.  Schools, including kindergartens and high schools, were limited and only those who were considered “rich” among the rest were able to attend classes.

Together with Mr Heng Chin Soo and Mr Tan Choon Teng, Mr Yap planned to set up a school for the needy and those who lived far from the central district, where most schools were located.  At that time, raising funds was not easy as most people were poor and would rather use their money to buy daily necessities.  Determined to turn his dream into a reality, Mr Yap sold his five pigs to rent three bungalows along Upper Serangoon Road to accommodate 620 students.

Thus, Sin Min School was born on 1 November 1945.

Chapter 2: The challenges of the early years

Sin Min School's early years did not go by smoothly.  The main problem was the lack of funds to maintain the school.  When Mr Heng Chin Soo took over as the Principal of Sin Min School in 1950, the school bought one of the three bungalows and student enrolment increased to 1,000.  However, the students were provided with only very basic facilities.  They had limited desks and chairs made of cheap and rough wood, and sometimes the students even had to share a table or sit on the floor.  They also had very few toilets, a small canteen with only one stall, a muddy little grass patch as their school field, and insufficient classrooms.

With the lack of school funds, the school was unable to give the students the education they needed.  The poverty-stricken students who yearned to see the world beyond the classroom were unable to do so as the school was not able to bring them on excursions or field trips.  The teachers also did not get much pay from the principal as the school was low in funds.

In 1954, Mr Tung Sey Yew became the Principal of Sin Min School.  He recognised that a secondary school was sorely needed in Hougang and appealed to the Ministry of Education to establish a secondary school.  He also opened doors to allow girls to attend school.  When the Ministry approved his application, secondary school sessions were added in January 1956.  This was a historical moment for many poor families in the neighbourhood as it symbolised a dream of a better future coming to realisation.

As for the teachers and students, they saw that the lack of funds deterred the school’s progress, and decided to come together to overcome this problem.  In 1958, they decided to stage a 2-night concert at Broadway Theatre, New World City, for fund-raising.  They worked together tirelessly to rehearse and also to prepare the props and costumes.  As they were short of cash, they had to improvise.  With the dedication of the staff, and the cooperation of the students who loved their school, they managed to put up a spectacular performance and raised $10,000!  The money was used to build 6 additional classrooms and to purchase a plot of land for future expansion.  Thus, Sin Min came to acquire its location at Hougang-Serangoon area.

Chapter 3: Don’t be pushed by problems, but be led by dreams

Mr Chew Peng Leng started on his arduous journey as Principal in 1965.  He continued to expand the school premises and facilities through various fund-raising events, such as inviting Teochew Opera troupes to perform and screening movies in the cinemas.  In addition, groups of students would be seen going from house to house, village to village to ask for donations.

With the surge in intake of students, the 2-storey block was rebuilt into a 3-storey new school building in 1974. Through the generous donations of the Alumni Association and the School Management Committee, a new administrative block was also added to the school compound.

Mr Chew’s next task proved equally demanding.  As Singapore was undergoing many changes following its independence, the housing development situation and the new English education system drove numerous students away.  Nevertheless, Mr Chew continued to strive to provide a well-rounded education for the students.  He oversaw the conversion of Sin Min from a Chinese medium school to an English medium school, and the proclamation of the primary section as an independent primary school.

Thankfully, Sin Min’s new status as a government school revitalised the school.  Mr Chew continued to lead the school and became the longest serving Principal of Sin Min High School.  Given that even his children were educated at Sin Min, it is no surprise that his love for the school has deep roots.  Until today, Mr Chew continues to serve in Xinmin Secondary’s School Advisory Committee as an Advisor, and visits the school regularly, especially to grace its special occasions.

In 1986, Mr Teo Ting Kok assumed the role of Principal and worked to raise the level of English proficiency among the students.  He established the School Advisory Committee, which provided invaluable support and immense contributions to the advancement of the school.  It was during his tenure that Sin Min High School was relocated to Hougang Ave 8.

Chapter 4: The turning point of Xinmin’s history

In 1991, when Mr Goh was asked to lead a school, he requested to be posted to his alma mater, Xinmin Secondary School.  His decision touched the hearts of many teachers.

When the Ministry agreed and appointed Mr Goh as the Principal of Xinmin Secondary School in 1992, he started his task of transforming Xinmin into a choice school in Hougang.

Mr Goh started by tackling the disciplinary problems as he believed that teaching and learning would not be able to take place without good discipline.  He believed that every student could be moulded as long as they had the correct attitude.  To improve academic results, he introduced the Self-Study Programme and set up Study Corners.  He often encouraged students to give their best in every aspect of school life.

In 1994, Xinmin Secondary School adopted a new school logo to reflect the school’s new philosophy.  The school also received its first Academic Value-Added Award.  By 1997, within five years of Mr Goh’s leadership, he had brought up the ranking of the school from 134th position to the 50th position.

Chapter 5: The continuing transformation of Xinmin Secondary School

Mr Lee Hak Boon continued Mr Goh’s dream of transforming Xinmin into a premier educational institution that prepares students for life and work in the global economy.  When he took over the leadership of the school in 1998, he revamped the school image and placed emphasis on the all-round development of students.  To symbolise the beginning of a new era, the school uniforms were changed and Mr Lee put in place a new set of school values and the student’s creed.

In 1999, Xinmin’s ranking soared to the 31st position, and in 2001, Xinmin Secondary School became the first neighbourhood school in Hougang to be awarded the Autonomous School status and receive the prestigious Singapore Quality Class (SQC) certification.

Mrs Low Ay Nar took over as Principal of Xinmin Secondary School in 2003 and continued to lead the school to new peaks of excellence.  Her simple yet powerful formula X=Q (Xinmin = Quality) reflects the school’s belief in quality education.  She spearheaded many bold and innovative initiatives, such as “Take Charge! Own Your School!” to reinvent itself as a quality school, and formed Parents@Xinmin (P@X) to involve parents in the school’s decision-making process.

During Mrs Low’s leadership, Xinmin achieved many awards, including the School Excellence Award (SEA) in 2005, the highest and most prestigious award in MOE’s Masterplan of Awards framework, and was ranked a Band 1 school as its students emerged among the top 10% of their cohort in the GCE O-Level examinations.  Xinmin also received the Outstanding Development Award for Character Development for its innovative and exemplary approaches to character development.

In 2006, Mdm Liew Wei Li (formerly Special Assistant to Director-General of Education) took over the helm of leadership from Mrs Low as the Principal of Xinmin Secondary School.  Her direction was for Xinmin to be a Finishing School for Leaders, who, equipped with the necessary Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge (ASK) become change leaders with a heart.  Together with the staff, she focused on quality teaching and learning, and created opportunities for the students to excel holistically.

In was during Mdm Liew’s tenure that Xinmin organised the 1st Secondary Schools Mother Tongue Teachers and Students Symposium in 2008, and the 1st Science and Technology Symposium in 2009.  She also initiated the building of the Performing Arts Centre to recognise the talents in the performing arts groups.

Under Mdm Liew’s leadership, Xinmin received the Outstanding Development Award for Character Development for its innovative and exemplary approaches to character development, and continued to be ranked a Band 1 school.

第一章:一切从敢于梦想起步


叶帆风先生有这样一个梦想:他想为后港、实龙岗一带的学子提供接受教育的机会。日据时期,许多人没有机会接受教育,目不识丁,有些人则中途辍学。当时的教育体系,上至高等学府,下至幼稚园,招生人数都很有限,而且只有家境富裕子弟享有受教育的机会。
 
当时,大多数学校都设立在新加坡的中心商业区,为了让居住在偏远地区的学生有机会接受教育,叶帆风、王振翥、陈春霆三位先生萌起创校壮志。由于大部分家庭一贫如洗,收入微薄,仅够支付日常生活开销,因此筹募创校基金困难重重。为了实现兴校办学的梦想,叶帆风先生卖掉家中养的五头猪,以此租下了实龙岗上段的三间旧洋楼,当年招收了六百二十名学生入学。
 
1945年11月1日,公立新民学校正式创校。
 

第二章:创校伊始的破冰期

新民创校初期历经风霜,最主要的问题是学校运转资金匮乏。1950年,王振翥先生接任校长,学校买下了三座洋楼之一,学生注册人数增至1000人。尽管如此,仍只有最基本的教学设施可供学生使用:桌椅粗陋,有时学生甚至要共用书桌,或坐在地板上;厕所数量极少;食堂很小且只有一个摊位;学校操场是一块小小的泥泞的草地;课室也不敷使用。
 
由于资金匮乏,学校无法满足学生的受教需求。一贫如洗的学生渴盼看看课室以外的世界,但却无法梦想成真,学校不能带他们去远足或进行户外教学活动。教师也是薪金微薄。
 
1954年,董息游先生担任校长,他有感于后港、实龙岗一带亟需一所中学,于是着手向教育部申请增办中学,并开始招收女生入学。1956年1月,教育部正式批准新民增办中学课程的申请。对于后港邻里的众多清苦家庭来说,这是个历史性的时刻,它象征着美好的未来初露曙光。
 
学校师生看到了资金匮乏对学校发展的束缚,决定同心合力解决这个问题。1958年,学校在新世界百老汇剧院连办两晚的游艺晚会,以此筹募资金。全校师生为了这意义非凡的演出,倾尽全力,精心排练,自制服装道具,不亦乐乎。师生的通力合作,为大众呈现了一台精彩的演出,共筹得一万元。募款用于增建六间课室,并购买门牌819号校地用于未来的发展。自此,新民开始置入当时的校地。
 

第三章:不要被问题所逼迫,要用梦想来引导

1965年,周炳麟先生接任校长,同时开始面对一段艰辛的历程。他继续着扩校的步伐,周校长通过一系列筹款活动,如潮剧义演、电影义演、师生的沿门募捐等,为学校增建了校舍及附属设施。
 
1974年,由于学生人数激增,学校将原本两层楼高的教学楼改建为三层楼高。许多校友和学校管理委员会的成员慷慨解囊,使新的行政楼得以落成。
 
新加坡自独立以来,历经诸多变化,新的住宅建设和新的英文教育体系,导致学生人数锐减,周校长面临了同样耗费心力的难题,然而,他仍一如既往地为学生提供全面教育。周校长亲自主持了新民由华文源流的学校转型为英文源流的学校,以及小学部脱离新民中学,改名为“新民小学”的历程。
 
新民中学转为政府学校,使它重新焕发了活力。周校长继续任职,并成为新民校史上任职时间最长的校长。周校长的子女也在新民求学,显然他对学校的爱已深深植根其中。直至今日,周炳麟先生仍在新民中学咨询委员会继续为校服务,他常回校视察,尤其当学校的重大场合时,更会应邀出席。
 
1986年,赵镇国先生接任校长,致力于提升学生的英文水准。他建立的学校咨询委员会,为学校的发展提供了宝贵的支持,作出了巨大的贡献。赵校长任职期间,新民中学迁至现址。
 

第四章:新民校史的转捩点

1991年,吴中博先生婉拒了担任某所中学校长的任命,毛遂自荐回到新民中学,以校长的身份继续为母校服务。这一决定深深地打动了每位教师。
 
1992年,教育部同意了吴中博先生的申请,委任他为新民中学的校长,自此,吴校长开始了将新民中学打造为后港区一流学府(a choice school)的大业。
 
吴校长从纪律问题着手治校,他的看法是:“没有纪律,教与学就无法相辅相成。”吴校长坚信,只要有正确的待人处事的态度,每个学生都是可造之材。为了提升学术成绩,他推行了自修计划,并设立学习角落;并常常鼓励学生在学校生活的方方面面都要全力以赴。
 
1994年,新民中学采用新的校徽,以体现全新的办学理念。学校获颁第一个“学术成绩增值奖”。截止1997年,在吴校长五年的领导下,新民中学的全国排名由第134名跃升至第50名。
 

第五章:化茧成蝶的新民中学

1998年,李学文先生接棒成为新民中学的校长,他延续了吴中博校长的梦想,继续努力将新民中学提升为一流教育学府,培养学生为全球经济化下的工作与生活做好准备。他全力提升学校形象,以“五育并重,平衡发展”为治校目标。
 
1999年,新民中学的全国排名跃升至第31名,2001年,新民中学成为本地第一所自治的邻里中学,并获得新加坡素质局的褒扬,跃升为一所高素质的学府。学校设计了新的校服,校训由“勤俭敏慎”改为“坚韧不拔,殷勤为众”,李校长还制定了《新民学生信约》,由此揭开了新民中学新纪元的序幕
 
2003年,沈爱娜女士接手校长一职,带领新民中学再登卓越高峰。她提出了简单有力的公式:新民=高素质。这一简单有力的公式反映了学校发展素质教育的坚定信念。沈校长还提出了众多大胆而又创意的倡议,如:“自治自校” 。同年,新民中学家长会成立,使家长有机会参与学校的决策过程。
 
在沈校长的任期内,新民中学获得了众多奖项,特别是2005年新民中学成为本地第一所荣获“学校卓越成就奖”的邻里中学。这是新加坡教育部在“学校奖励计划总蓝图”下授予学校的最高荣誉 。并连续几年屹立于“第一等(band1)”教育学府的行列。新民中学同时在学生品格发展方面独辟蹊径,由此获得这方面的“卓越发展奖”。
 
2007年,刘慧丽女士(前教育部提学司特别助理)接棒沈爱娜女士,继任校长。她致力于将新民打造成一所培养领袖的精修学府,学生除了应具备一名领袖必需的处事态度、工作能力与领域知识,还应有一颗时刻关怀的心。偕同全校教职工,刘校长孜孜以求高素质的教与学,并为学生追求全面卓越的发展创造机会
 
在刘校长任期内,新民中学母语部门在2008年组织筹备了第一届“中学华文与马来文研讨会”;2009年,新民中学科学部门组织筹备了第一届“科技研讨会”。为了使表演艺术团体充分发挥才能,她还发起了建设表演艺术中心的项目。