Thursday, February 2, 2012

How old is Princess Elizabeth Estate School?

Recently on Facebook, a group of alumnus from the old Princess Elizabeth Estate School were chatting about the upcoming celebrations for the 60th Anniversary of the school.
It then occurred to some of the ex-students, especially those in the group that had celebrated the school's 25th Silver Anniversary in 1979, that the math simply didn't add up.

If 1979 was the 25th anniversary, then 2012 would not be the 60th anniversary, they queried.
If their calculations were right then it would only be 58, right?
Some had also celebrated the 30th anniversary in 1984, so that confirms the founding of the school to be in 1954. If it was founded in 1954, then the 60th anniversary should be in 2014?
How is it that they are celebrating it this year 2012?

I am not an authority on Princess Elizabeth school and the best people to answer this apparent shift in dates would probably be the current staff from PEPS at Bukit Batok.
However, by my own reckoning, I figured out that the dates are based on the following facts:-

1. Princess Elizabeth Estate School (PEES) started out as Bukit Panjang Afternoon School 2 (BPAS) in 1952. It used the premises of Bukit Panjang English School and conducted classes there whilst the building at P.E. Estate was being constructed.

PEES started out as Bukit Panjang Afternoon School at Woodlands Road.

2. BPAS shifted to the new building at P.E. Estate in September 1954. The Principal then was Mr Ponnusamy.

3. It was renamed Princess Elizabeth Estate School on moving to the new building in 1954.
However, the school was officially opened with the start of the new school year in January 1955. (The official opening date was 10th January 1955, if that matters in any way)

P.E.E.School 1955-1986.
4. P.E.E.School moved to a newly constructed building at Bukit Batok during 1986.
It was re-christened as Princess Elizabeth Primary School and was officially opened by the MP for Bukit Batok, Mr Chai Chong Yii, on 24th July 1987.

So how old is PEES?

If you base it on 1954, the year  it moved from Bukit Panjang into the building at Hillview, then celebrating the 25th Anniversary in 1979 was correct.  But the school would then be only 58 this year in 2012!

If you based it on 1952, the year the school started functioning as BPAS, then 2012 would be the 60th Anniversary. But this would mean that the 25th and 30th Anniversaries were celebrated in the wrong years!

If you base it on 1955, the year it officially opened, then PEES/PEPS would only be a young 57 this year!

Anyway, this is just my own calculations and is not a problem for me to resolve. I leave that to the celebrations committee. Good Luck.

If it can't be resolved, then maybe they can celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the opening at Bukit Batok instead ? or would that be the 26th, hmmm???

Princess Elizabeth Primary School. 25 years at Bukit Batok.


  1. Hello James,

    If I remember correctly, the school moved in either end 1985 or early 1986 because I was in P6 in 1986 and we were so excited on the first day of school. In fact, my friends and I were overwhelmed by the size of the new school building. I remember having difficulty finding my way to my class room on the top most storey of the new place. The canteen was bigger and there was even a school hall, plus there was a proper "bookshop" after many years of running to the metal stationery cabinet on level 2 of the old premise, to check if the "stationery auntie" has arrived to start business. While the building was new and huge and spacious, it lacked the cosy warmth and neighborliness that filled PEES. Besides, the school uniform was also changed from yellow top and pinafore (for girls) to white top with the collar having an inner green-colored strip.

    In 1987, I was already in Secondary One. Now that you mentioned it, I have a vague recollection that the official opening was in 1987, even though we moved in the new premises in 1986.

    I remember Madam Chan Yuet Sim (who passed away around Sep 2003) reminding my batch of students that we were the pioneer batch and had to set a good example for the younger ones.

    Best regards,

  2. AnonymousMay 05, 2012

    I was in class 6A in 1986. Had fierce and dedicated teachers, Mrs Kannan for English, Mr Tan for Math, Mr Yeo for Science, Cikgu Alus for Malay and Mr Maidin was the Pricipal.

    Not forgetting all my super smart classmates especially jokers Imran and Charanjit, pretty twins Bee Lan and Bee Peng, the 2 Siti Aishahs and many more... Sitti Aishah Hassan will always be in my prayers....


  3. I attended the Primary One Seminar at Princess Elizabeth Primary School about 3 years ago and I must add, it was very different from the Princess Elizabeth Estate School I attended in the 1960s! There were computer terminals, large concert hall etc. We were entertained to a chinese orchestra performance and other performances put up by the school's pupils. During my days, the "hall" was at level 1 next to the small library. Our assembly area in front of the school also host 2 badminton courts and not much space when the morning session is assembled. At the new school, I was intrigued with the display of old report cards from PEES etc. I still have my own report card and also the sports trophies from those days.

  4. was looking around this blog on a rainy afternoon....and came across this post.

    I think the school moved on 15 march 1986. I remembered this date because it was also the date Hotel New World collapsed..

  5. I studied in Princess from 1988 to 1993. Amazingly,the principal was my own uncle; Mr Packir Maideen.