Saturday, September 4, 2010


exam results in the 60s




i seem to be harping back to the 60s in my last few postings. in retrospect, the 60s was a very interesting decade not only for me but for singapore as a whole. if you talk to any senior citizen, he or she will recall that particular period with nostalgic fondness because of the many wonderful memories relating to clothing, music, food, social activities and things in general.

my fellow blogger andy young has a blog dedicated to the pop music of the 60s. on the fashion scene, there are many who blog about the clothing in the 60s, one of which is this blogger. as for food, there were the real hawkers and you could get food delivered right to your door. the sellers of nasi lemak, epok epok, tok tok mee, bread, green bean soup and red bean soup peddled their ware from door to door.

another interesting feature of the 60s, which has been discontinued, is the publication of examination results, especially those of the school certificate and the higher school certificate in the straits times. the school certificate is equivalent to today's gce 'o' level and the higher school certificate is the 'a' level.

there would be a few pages devoted to the examination results. if you had made the grade your name would appear under your school name with the passing grade (1, 2 or 3) next to your name. for the higher school certificate results, it was either a 4 or a 5 next to your name. a 4 meant a full certificate. a 5 referred to a partial certificate. to qualify for a full certificate, you needed to have 2 principal level passes and two subsidiary level passes, including a pass in the general paper.

in the earlier part of the 60s, there was no junior college. the first junior college, national junior college, came into being in 1969. in 1965, for example, pre-university education was offered in about 11 schools which included acs, bartley, beatty, chij, gan eng seng, montfort, raffles institution, st andrew's, st joseph's institution, st patrick's school and victoria school.

the results of private candidates were not publicised in the newspapers but those who sat for the examinations under the lembaga gerakan pelajaran dewasa (adult education board) were.

22 comments:

FL said...

Yes, in the sixties, the govt schools had night classes conducted by the Adult Education Board (AEB)or commonly known as "lambaga" schools. The classes would be conducted between about 7pm and 10 pm. These classes were conducted for those who did not do well in the Senior Cambridge/HSC exam or for those working during the day.

PChew said...

The Straits Times published the Cambridge School Certificate examination results annually in the month of March since late
1940s. I did not expect to pass but was elated to see a 2 against my name in the papers.

Icemoon said...

This is really like the chinese saying - 金榜题名 - where your name is announced on the board.

I checked the archives and found out a sample, from the 1970 HSC exam.

Guess whose name is on the board? :)

Answer here.

Anonymous said...

For the school certificate results, a Gr 3 did not mean the scorer was lousy in his studies. What happened was that he could have got 5 As and yet he was awarded a Gr 3. This was because he had credit passes or better (6 or lower) in only five subjects. If he had only another pass, at the PF grade ie 7 or 8, he would have got a Grade 1, provided of course he collected at least a credit pass in the English Language. In those days, there were students with such grade who went on to excel in the Higher Sch Cert, better than many of their counterparts with Gr 1.

Anonymous said...

Actually during those good old days, the secondary schools' landscape was more equitable. You had students in so called top schools such as ACS, SJI, RI, VS, RGS, St Andrew's and so on, who got Grade 3 or GCE passes (for failing in English Language)in the school certificate exams. Also it was not uncommon to find students in those schools who completed their education without having passed any exam. On the contrary, we had students in the so called lesser known schools such as Beatty, Bartley, Monfort, Naval Base and others scoring Grade 1s and going on to do very well in the Higher School Certificate exams (with some awarded prestigious scholarships such as Colombo Plan) Now, can one imagine a RI student of today leaving school without at least 3 As distinctions in the GCE A Level? He would probably be deemed a 'failure'or he would consider himself as one if he does so!

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Yg, how you doin'? It's always nice to reminisce of the past of our yesteryears.
I was never given much hope of getting thru my exams, Form 5, Form 6. But sure shocked everyone when I exceeded their expectations....shocked myself too....when I got thru both with flying colours.

It was so different today than yesterday...I'm talking about Malaysia here. Just learned from a friend, history no longer in the curriculum. Holy Smoke! To think kids will be growing not knowing about their own country, but know who is Lady Gaga and Pussy Cat Dolls, ha ha.

You have a nice day, best regards, Lee.
Ps, you have 2 gorgeous daughters....no need to ask where they get their good looks from, *wink*.

yg said...

fl, yes, quite a number of my friends who attended the lembaga gerakan pelajaran dewasa (lgpd) classes, did well enough to pursue their university education.

yg said...
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yg said...

icemoon, the print was too small for me to read but i guess the name you came across was 'lam chun see'.

yg said...
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fr said...

There is a Lee Hsien Loong too.

yg said...

philip and anonymous1, i also got a 2 against my name although i had grade 1's aggregate. i did not get a credit pass for my english language paper.

yg said...

anonymous2, there was one name that made big news in the 6os. tan boon wan from naval base secondary school scored 8 a1s in the school certificate exam.

yg said...

uncle lee, i have just checked with my son-in-law, a malaysian, and he says that history is still one of the subjects in the school curriculum.

Icemoon said...

holy smoke fr, I didn't notice that. So Chun See is just two names away from PM Lee.

Lam Chun See said...

I was about to ask, is my name there. LHL was also from NJC.

yg said...

chun see, you had the same grade (4) as lhl.

小洋 said...

To the senior citizens in their sixties, the sixties are truly memorable years of their lives.
Even after our sc and hsc, we continued to obtain our exam results through the local newspaper while studying in the City of Churches in Australia. Exams then were held in November, and the results were published in the local paper a week before Christmas. The night when the results were to be released, students would mob The Advertiser printing office, anxiously waiting to get their copies of the newspaper to find out what fate befell them.
One Singaporean student whose name always made big news when the results were published was Lim Siong Guan. He created a record by scoring a top distinction in every subject throughout his 4-year engineering course.

yg said...

xiaoyang, i only heard of his name (lim siong guan) when he became the permanent secretary for the ministry of education.

Lam Chun See said...

Lim Siong Guan was one of the top studenst from ACS. I remember they mentioned about him during morning assembly. Another famous ACS boy who scored 8As and yet excelled in sport was M Jegathesan. Later he went to Msia. Recently he was in the news with C Kunalan.

yg said...

chun see, mani jegathesan is a malaysian who had his education in s'pore. today, he is known as tan sri datuk dr m jegathesan. he and kunalan were rivals on the track. both clocked 10.3 for the 100m in one race.

Anonymous said...

in old days, ACS was noted for producing scholar-sportsman such as Jagathesan and others. I believe this was also the case in schools such as RI and SJI. In VS, in the early 1960s, there was this student who represented ths school in almost all the major sports played, including football, rugger, athletics, cricket, hockey, swimming, softball and others and he was a district and combined representatives in several of these sports too. How he found the time to participate and excel in this myriad of sports and yet going on to get a good Grade 1 and full HSC passes was really food for ponder. We do not seem to have such remarkable students this day!