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Raffles Institution, Singapore

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Raffles Institution is a boys' secondary school located in the busy district of Bishan, on the sunny island of Singapore. Home to the white-uniformed, top-scoring teenage boys in Singapore, Raffles Institution (known among Singaporeans as 'RI') has long been known as the premier school in Singapore.

A Little History

Originally founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (also the founder of modern Singapore) in 1823, the school was initially known as Singapore Institution, but its name was later changed to honour its founder. It came under government management in 1903, and in 1990 was the first government school to become independent.

The School

The school has moved location three times. From 1823-1972, it was located in Bras Basah. It then moved to Grange Road where it remained for nine years before moving to its present location in Bishan, near the heart of Singapore.

In 1992 construction began on a boarding school to house pupils who come from other parts of Asia. The boarding school opened in 1995 and can house a total of 450 students.

The main building is white and fairly imposing with a clock tower. The school's campus includes a sports complex, a design centre, a pool complex, a hall, a canteen, the aforementioned boarding school complex and various extensions to the main building (a senior block, a junior block and a science block).

The Curriculum

The school has a strong academic background, as the best male students in Singapore are picked to enter its ranks. They enter the school at age 13 and leave it four years later. Most of them will then enter Raffles Junior College. Pupils in RI prepare to sit for the usual Singaporean exams: the Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level Examinations.

The subjects available are much like those in the UK curriculum with the addition of an exam in the mother tongue of the applicant. The subjects include English, Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography, Literature in English, Art, Music and a third language (e.g. German, Japanese, French or Malay). A pupil is to take at least eight of these subjects for the GCE O-Level examinations.

Extra-curricular Activities

RI prides itself in turning out well-rounded pupils, ready to face the world1. The school offers a wide variety of extra-curricular activities to shape its pupils. These include sports (e.g. basketball, squash, badminton), uniformed groups (e.g. scouts, Red Cross), instrumental groups, cultural groups, academic clubs, service clubs and special interest clubs (e.g. chess, bowling).

The Institution's Part in Singapore History

RI is more integrated into the culture of Singapore than many may think. For one thing, the number two school in Singapore, Raffles Girls' School (RGS), had its roots in a wing of the Institution. Raffles Junior College (RJC) was originally formed out of the two most senior batches of Rafflesians (as members of RI, RGS and RJC call themselves). The National Library of Singapore had its origins in the Hullet Memorial Library of Singapore2 located in Raffles Institution. Also, the white raiment of the ruling political party of Singapore - the People's Action Party (PAP) - reflects the RI uniform.

Many of Singapore's leaders, such as Lee Kuan Yew (the first prime minister of Singapore) and Goh Chok Tong (the current prime minister of Singapore), once studied in RI.

In addition to excelling academically, students of RI somehow also find time to go LAN gaming3, play a mean game of soccer4, beat many others in the sporting arena, and chase after the girls of their sister school Raffles Girls' School.

For more information, visit the school website (requires Flash plug-in to display properly).

1 Part of the school's song lyrics are: 'They led us to the fore/ To reign supreme in ev'ry sphere'.2 The oldest library in Singapore which was named after RW Hullet, the school's longest serving principal.3The term refers to paying games such as Starcraft on a Local Area Network (LAN). The PCs are connected to a network which is supplied by the 'organiser' of the game.4Also known as Association Football.

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