A Brief History of Ai Tong School
Ai Tong School is a primary school located at 100 Bright Hill Drive, a stone's throw away from where Thomson 3 will be in the future. It is one of the five affiliated primary schools under the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, and one of the most popular and reputable primary schools in Singapore. Its name is a phoenetic translation in Chinese which means equality, love and harmony for all mankind.
Founded in 1912, Ai Tong School was initially established in a Methodist church at Boon Tat Street, where it had an initial intake of 30 pupils. To cope with a growing enrolment, the school moved to its own campus at 209, Telok Ayer Street in 1917. However, the increased costs of maintaining a full-fledged campus was too much for its owners to bear, and the school almost closed down before being financially rescued by Chinese businessman Tan Kah Kee.
The end of the Japanese occupation of Singapore brought about another problem for Ai Tong School; a large backlog of students needed an education after the occupation, as they dropped out of school while the Japanese were occupying the country. With an enrolment of more than 1600 students and inadequate campus space, Ai Tong School merged with the now-defunct Ai Hwa School to fulfill its space requirements, becoming a co-ed school in the process (it used to be a boys-only school).
In the 1960s, due to the bilingual policy initiated by the government, enrolment in Chinese-medium schools like Ai Tong drastically decreased, as people feared that a Chinese-based education would be irrelevant to a bilingual Singapore. This caused a closure of many smaller Chinese schools, which temporarily bolstered Ai Tong's enrolment to a sky-high 2360. However, Ai Tong soon faced the same problem that the other Chinese schools faced, having a total enrolment registration of 2 students in 1980.
To prevent itself from closing down, Ai Tong became an integrated school (i.e. in line with the bilingual policy) and constructed a new campus at Ang Mo Kio that opened officially in 1981. Its alignment with the government's bilingual policy, together with the hard work of the Principal and staff of the school, helped the school to regain its enrolment numbers to a staggering 2357 in 1981.
The 1990s saw Ai Tong become one of the first primary schools to be granted a Special Assistance Plan–an initiative by the Ministry of Education assisting schools with academically-gifted students to have a special focus on teaching Chinese values, cultures and language. The decae also saw the school move to its current location of 100 Bright Hill Drive to cope with the continually rising enrolment numbers.
Today, Ai Tong School continues to provide quality education and produce top students in the country's annual Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE). If you have a child and are thinking of grooming him to become a top scholar, indicating your interest for a place in Thomson 3 might be a good start to getting a place in Ai Tong School.