Principal's Welcome

Let me begin by extending my warmest welcome to the incoming batches of Year 1 and Year 5 Rafflesians and your parents to Raffles Institution!  I am glad that you have made RI your choice school and hope that you will find your learning experience at Raffles meaningful and enjoyable.

The Year 2023 is an exceptional one as it marks RI’s bicentenary. It’s a historic year not only to commemorate the school’s founding in 1823, but also to celebrate its many achievements and contributions for the past 200 years!  

The FLAME in Raffles
The Raffles school experience is truly unique and nonpareil. Successive batches of Rafflesians have all benefited from this experience and formed fond memories of their time here.  While staying committed to studies is always a priority for our students, they also participate in many programmes and co-curricular activities with their peers that make their shared memories of the Raffles school experience even richer.  This is the Raffles FLAME experience, where friendships are forged through doing activities together, where there is not just learning but also deepening of skillsets, where accomplishment is experienced both at the personal and team levels, where warm and meaningful memories of school and learning are shared with fellow schoolmates, and where the daily student life is filled with enjoyment. FLAME is the reason why the more than 100 CCAs offered in RI are the cornerstone for the remarkable and distinctive Raffles school experience for Rafflesians.  

That the Raffles school experience has always been an exceptional one did not happen by chance or coincidence. In fact, when Sir Stamford Raffles first laid the school’s foundation stone in 1823, he had envisaged RI to be a truly outstanding institution - one that would prepare her students well to serve Singapore.  For 200 years, RI has abided by these founding ideals, with staff and students striving together to always give of their best. The result has been generations of Thinkers, Leaders and Pioneers who have contributed in many significant ways to the community, Singapore and beyond. The school’s tradition of public service, the pursuit of excellence and its trailblazing spirit of innovation continue to define the Rafflesian spirit today.

Diversity, Inclusivity and Community Engagement 
Looking back to 1987 and in support of the school turning independent, an ad-hoc committee of distinguished alumni had committed to then-Minister for Education Dr Tony Tan that RI would continue to admit pupils based on academic merit, and that “no pupil who qualify for admission into Raffles will be denied his place because of his social background or financial circumstances”. Since 1990, when RI became an independent school, we have remained steadfast to this commitment, with student admission based solely on merit and not affiliation. We heeded the aspirations of our alumni for RI to remain an inclusive school, regardless of race or social backgrounds, as it has always been from the outset.

The school took on this commitment with renewed vigour in 2018 when we introduced three broad principles to guide our programming approach. These are diversity, inclusivity and community engagement (D.I.C.E). The aim is to ensure that highly capable students from less well-to-do families are not deterred from joining RI, just because they feel they may not belong here. This is the affinity gap that we continue to bridge consciously. Our belief is that students from diverse backgrounds interacting together enriches the social learning environment of RI, deepens the learning of empathy, and strengthens our social compact. 

In recent years, we introduced three new DSA domains as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusivity. They are the domains of Leadership and Character and the Elective Programme in Malay Language in Secondary Schools (EMAS) at Year 1-4, and the Malay Language Elective Programme (MLEP) at Year 5-6. These new DSA domains have enabled RI to make encouraging headway in our diversity and inclusivity efforts, with our Year 1 students today coming from about 110 to 120 primary schools.  

Inspiring the Future
As we usher in our bicentennial, our belief is that RI200 is as much about honouring the past and celebrating the present, as it is about inspiring the future. As One Raffles, we remain committed to innovation so that RI will continue to lead at the forefront of education, leveraging on technology to transform teaching and learning. The RI Teachers’ Conference on 14-15 November 2022, which was attended by many teachers from over 70 schools, is an example of our commitment to be an innovation leader for teaching and learning. Come 9-11 March 2023, we will hold the inaugural Festival of Ideas to underscore the role of RI in thought leadership, anchored on the themes of Thinkers in Society, Leaders in Sustainability, and Pioneers in Innovation.    

We are also committed to broadening the definition of excellence, from an emphasis on individual achievements to one that prizes societal contributions, particularly through our D.I.C.E efforts.  RI will start a mentoring programme in 2023 for P4 to P6 students from 10 primary schools.  This is a 10-year commitment by the school to support primary school students from less advantaged family backgrounds, so that they can make good progress in their academic learning and hopefully consider RI as a school of choice on their own merit.  

In addition, we are committed to be a change agent for sustainability by encouraging Rafflesians to ask questions curiously, seek solutions creatively and act courageously to improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of society. The 1823 Trees - Rooting for a Greener Singapore campaign, in support of NParks’ OneMillionTrees Movement, is an example of RI’s major commitment to sustainability at the national level.

RI200 Microsite
Given the significance of our bicentennial, we have launched the RI200 microsite on 23 July 2022 to provide more information on the celebration plans.  Through the five segments of Our Story, Past Events, Upcoming Events, Mosaic Muraland RI200 Message Board, we hope to connect Rafflesians across the years as we celebrate RI200 as One Raffles.  The apex of the RI200 celebrations will be the 200th Founder’s Day on 28 May 2023, which will be held at the Singapore EXPO.  We will share more information on the event in due course. 

As the first educational institution in Singapore to celebrate its bicentennial, 2023 is indeed an exciting and historic year for RI.  I earnestly hope that you are just as excited in joining the school in the countdown to RI200 with great expectations! 

Auspicium Melioris Aevi

Frederick Yeo
Raffles Institution