In celebration of DHS 55th Anniversary and the opening of our new campus in 2011, the Humanities Department has put together a booklet titled ‘The Dunman High Story’ which traces our school history from 14 October 1956 to the present.
The Dunman High Story contains interesting anecdotal accounts of both staff and students which we interviewed. Several of the stories were taken from The Straits Times and Nanyang Siang Pau, oral transcripts from the National Archives of Singapore and the National Library and translations of Chinese articles of the school’s publications in the 1960s and 1970s. These materials have given us a better insight and at the same time highlighted the key milestones events of Dunman High School.
We also seek to present the school’s unique history through multiple lenses and cover the little known facts about this educational institution which played an integral part in churning out impressive scholars and students even before the birth of independent Singapore.
For senior teachers who have taught in this school for many years, it is hoped that The Dunman High Story brings back fond memories of a place that you have called home. For newer staff, the story will help you better understand the rich and long tradition of this SAP school and its long term mission and vision.
was a tumultuous year. Singapore was caught in the maelstrom of agitation for independence from the British colonial ruler, communist-instigated labour unrest and the frustrations of discrimination expressed by Chinese-stream students who went on strikes and riots during the 1950s. Many Chinese medium secondary schools were forced to stop their classes. In an attempt to provide for other students affected by the disruption, the Ministry of Education opened several emergency Chinese secondary schools for students to continue their studies. Dunman High was thus founded on 14thOctober 1956, amidst such a state of political unrest. The campus of a newly built primary school at Mountbatten Road was borrowed and the school was named Kallang West Government Chinese Middle School（加冷西政府华文中学). Mr Sun Huan Syn 孙煥新(1956-1959) was appointed the first principal of the school. The initial enrollment was about one hundred and eleven boys and its first batch of graduates was merely four students. In its second year, girls were enrolled and the school became co-educational.
In December 1957, the school moved to Dunman Road and was renamed Dunman Government Chinese Middle School (德明政府华文中学). The then Minister for Education Mr Chew Swee Kee was the guest-of-honour of the inauguration ceremony of the 3-storey new school building. Mr Sun Hwan Sin was succeeded by the second principal Mr Chen Jen Hao 陈人浩 (1959-1969). In the 1960s, the school’s population grew and students performed very well in many areas. In 1966 the witnessed the completion of a new four-storey building by the Ministry of Education, 集思楼 which added sixteen new classrooms to the school. Shortly a two-storey building named ‘格致馆’ which consisted of 4 science laboratories, 3 Home Economics rooms and 1 AVA room. The student population increased to about 2,000 and the number of teaching staff increased to about 100.
Chinese Middle School
The school under the principalship of Mdm Shu June Mai 许锦美 (1969-78) achieved the best GCE O-level Examination results each year among Chinese secondary schools nationwide. The fourth principal Mr Lim Nai Yan (1978-1993) continued to work towards providing quality holistic education to Dunman High students. In 1976 Mr Poh Hean Lee who graduated in 1975 was awarded the President’s Scholarship. Three years later, Mr Cheng Shoong Tatt became Duman High’s second recipient. This excellent academic performance was recognized and in 1979, the school was selected as one of the nine Special Assistance Plan (SAP) Secondary School in Singapore. The school was renamed Dunman High School and offered both Chinese and English as the first language.
Dunman High School
The enrollment increased substantially and the school faced constraints in facilities and space. That year, the building of the neighbouring Dunman Primary School was taken over by Dunman High School to meet its need for more space. When the Music Elective Programme (MEP) was introduced by the Ministry in 1981, Dunman High was selected to provide this special programme for musically talented students. Upon acquiring the premises of Dunman Secondary School in June 1990, the school was able to function as a single-session school. 1n 1990 Mr Sng Chern Wei became the third student who was awarded the President’s Scholarship.
Dunman High led by the 5thprincipal Mr Cheah Chak Mun 谢泽文 (1994-98) was one of six school selected to go autonomous. With that, we now have more funds and greater flexibility to plan our school programmes to meet the needs of our students. We are working towards the objective of scaling heights in our strive for excellence and providing high quality education for our students.
In June 1995, the school moved to the new premises in Tanjong Rhu Road. The Gifted Education Programme was implemented in January the next year.
On 31 July 2004, MOE announced that Dunman High School would offer a six year Integrated Programme (IP) or the Dunman High Programme (DHP) that leads directly to a GCE A-Level certification. Dunman High School is the first government secondary school to offer IP, the announcement signaled MOE’s strong confidence in the school to provide a top class education. The school’s 6th and 7th principals Mr Tan Thiam Hock 陈添福 (1998-2004) and Mr Sng Chern Wei 孙振炜 (2004-2009) respectively played an instrumental role in conceptualizing and implementing the 6-year Dunman High Programme. 2004 also produced the school’s fourth President Scholar – Mr He Ruijie.
In 2007 and 2008, Dunman High School underwent PRIME (Programme for Rebuilding and Improving Existing Schools) and was temporarily located at a holding school situated in the former Raffles Junior College campus at Mt. Sinai Road.
In January 2009, Dunman High School’s new premises have expanded with many state-of-the-arts facilities such as an 850-seater Performing Arts Centre and Life Science Laboratory. In 2009 Tan Baojia who belonged to the first batch of IP students was awarded the President’s Scholarship. Since 1976 the school has produced five President’s Scholars. All the five President’s Scholars achieved sterling academic results, possessed a keen interest in a variety of activities, knowledgeable, as well as demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities. Additionally, they were individuals with good character and personality. Dunman High has nurtured countless students into good citizens who have contributed much to society and the country. This has been and will continue to be the driving force for all staff and students to strive for excellence in all their endeavours.
In 2010, Dunman High School welcomed a new principal, Dr Foo Suan Fong 符传丰博士, a former Dunman High student. In July 2011, Dunman High celebrated its 55 Anniversary and the official Opening of its expanded campus. 2011 also marked the establishment of the Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning for the East Zone (EZ COE T & L) at Dunman High School to support East Zone teachers to enhance professional practice in curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment.
The year saw the re-validation of Dunman High School’s Outstanding Development Award (Character Development) and Best Practice Awards (Teaching & Learning, Student All-Round Development, and Staff Well-Being). Also renewed this year was our School Excellence Award – MOE’s pinnacle award for schools. These awards reaffirmed Dunman High School’s sustained excellence in a wide spectrum of student and staff processes. In 2013, Dunman High School was awarded the President’s Award for the Environment for its sustained and tireless commitment to the environmental cause.
Ms Clara Lim Shu Qi was awarded the President’s Scholarship as well as the Lee Hsien Loong Award for All-Round Achievement. The school was also re-validated for the National Arts Education Award (Blaze) in recognition of its commitment and contribution towards Arts Education.
The school celebrated its 60th Anniversary with a Homecoming Dinner on the school campus on 10 July with more than 1800 invited guests. On that day, the school also launched the DHS e-Heritage portal, an electronic platform that archives the achievements and stories the school and its members have shared over the past 60 years.
In late 2016, DHS also welcomed a new principal, Mr Low Teck Eng Tony 刘德荣.
Ms Ong Si Hui, Olivia did the school proud by being awarded the President’s Scholarship as well as the Lee Hsien Loong Award for All-Round Achievement. This was the second consecutive year that a Dunman High student had clinched both these awards.
DHS was awarded the Lotus Award by the Singapore Environment Council, under the School Green Awards 2017. Student Ong Jia Wei Isaac was awarded the Grand Prize Winner in the international 2017 Google Code-in Open Source Competition. He was the first Singaporean student to clinch the top prize in this international competition
MOE announced that DHS would participate in the Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) from 2019, as part of the Ministry’s efforts to encourage more diversity in schools. With this move, all IP schools in Singapore would admit GCE O-Level students into their JC levels.
DHS signed a memorandum of understanding with Zhejiang University-University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Institute (ZJU-UIUC), and became the first Singapore school to collaborate with ZJU-UIUC for undergraduate recruitment. DHS will henceforth act as the recruitment centre for all applicants from Singapore, who are not Chinese nationals, for application to ZJU-UIUC.