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School History


Our Principals


Mr Leong Chin Toon 1962 - 1964
Mr Chia Meng Ann 10.02.65 - 08.02.82
Mr Bhajan Singh 09.02.82 - 31.12.82
Mdm Daulath Tajuddin 02.01.83 - 31.12.83
Mr Ng Chiong Seng 02.01.84 - 30.11.89
Mrs Molly Tan 01.12.89 - 31.12.99
Mr Tan Keng Joo 01.01.00 - 15.12.05
Mr Stephen Chin 18.12.05 - 15.12.12
Ms Chew Ing Lim 15.12.12 - present


History of Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School


Origins of the School and Its Unique Heritage

Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School started in 1963. The school was named after the late Encik Ahmad Ibrahim, the former Minister for Health and Labour, who was also the Assemblyman for Sembawang. The school is into its 54th year of history.

The school was initially located in Upper Thomson and shifted to the current Yishun Campus in 1985. Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School started out as an integrated school which offered two mediums of instruction; that means, there were classes that taught subjects in the Chinese language and there were also classes that used English language. Malay language was soon also introduced. In 1987, in line with national education policy, the school adopted English as the medium of instruction. The last batch of Chinese-educated students graduated in 1986.

A very significant fact about the school’s history is that Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School was set up as an integrated school, because a primary aim of the school when it was first set up was to bring students of different language streams together to study under one roof. The school was positioned with the key role of helping to promote racial cohesion in the early nation-building years.

Today, Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School continues to draw diverse groups of students. Culturally, we have a very diverse student profile, and you can rightly say that Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School is a microcosm, a very good reflection of the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society Singapore is. Into the 21st century, Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School continues to play its role as an institution that integrates students of different languages and cultural backgrounds.

Another unique feature of the school is that we have visually impaired students in the school. This has a long history too. In 1967 Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School was the first pilot school for Open Education Programme for the blind, whereby the visually impaired students were integrated into the main stream. Today, we continue to have visually impaired students studying together in the same class as all the other students.



Story of Encik Ahmad Ibrahim

Encik Ahmad Ibrahim was a well-respected statesman. He was admired for his invaluable contributions to Singapore’s early nation-building years as the Health Minister and later the Labour Minister. When he died at a young age in 1962, a state funeral was held for him. The school was named after Encik Ahmad Ibrahim to honour his contributions to Singapore posthumously.


Significance of the School Name – Living out the AI Spirit

Being named after Encik Ahmad Ibrahim serves as a reminder and an inspiration for our teachers and students to emulate his qualities of determination, courage, integrity and service. The school strives to live out these qualities through our core school values and school programmes.

For example, one of the school core values is Resilience, and in Encik Ahmad Ibrahim we can find a good role model who exemplified this value.

Encik Ahmad Ibrahim was appointed as Minister for Labour in 1961, the year which saw the rise of the communists in Singapore. It was a difficult time for him then. As former Minister, Mr Othman Wok, described, it was a heavy responsibility Encik Ahmad Ibrahim took on. The Labour ministry he was in charge of faced the greatest amount of pressure, but he never swayed from his duties.

In Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School, we hope to develop a resilient spirit in our students as well. So, we have a special programme, Outdoor Learning Experience or OLE in short. The students get outdoors, do kayaking and rock climbing, hike in the nature reserves, pitch tents in the Malaysian national parks. These outdoor activities stretch over 4 days, so the students learn to build up their mental and emotional strength as they take on the physical challenges. We hope that in the process, our students will develop, “the great guts” and “great determination”, qualities which our former Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew used to describe Encik Ahmad Ibrahim. Introduced in 2005, OLE has provided the unique collective memories that define the AI identity and heritage as batches after batches of AI students will remember it years after they leave school.

Encik Ahmad Ibrahim is well-remembered for his spirit to serve the people and nation. The school’s service learning programme aims to nurture in our students this same spirit of service to the community. In Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School, we take a whole school approach to service learning. Yearly, every class from Sec 1 to 5 undertakes a service learning project of their choice. It’s entirely student-initiated: the students find out about the various community groups that need help, decide which community service project they want to take up, plan and execute it. They work on it for a whole term of 8 to 9 weeks. On the last day of the 1st school term which is marked as Community Day, the whole school goes out to all parts of Singapore and carries out various community service projects. This is another way we live out the values of Encik Ahmad Ibrahim.

Key Milestones

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1963

School Opening Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School was founded. As one of the pioneer government schools in Singapore, AI was named after former Minister for Labour and Assemblyman for Sembawang, Encik Ahmad Ibrahim, for his contributions in the early nation-building years. The school was first located at Sembawang Hills estate.


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1967

First pilot school for the Open Education Programme for the blind AI was chosen as the first pilot school for the Open Education Programme for the blind, whereby the visually-impaired students were integrated into mainstream classes.


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1980

Well established as pride of the North AI was known as a well-established school of good reputation –‘Pride of the North’.


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1985

The school moved to a new building in Yishun. It was also the first school to function in that area.

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1987

AI was given the Guinness Stout Effort Award in recognition of the school’s concerted efforts in integrating visually impaired students into mainstream education through the Open Education Programme

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1998

AI celebrated its 35th Anniversary with a carnival and a musical production, ‘The King and I’. Through the 1990s, right up to 2002, AI had staged numerous plays and musicals.

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2006

AI was recognised as a Niche Programme School for Shooting, given its Shooting competition achievements and strong track record in producing outstanding Shooters for the national youth team.

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2008

Ms Deborah Ng, the school’s resource teacher for the visually impaired, was honoured with the NIE-Exxon Mobil Caring Teacher Award.

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2011

Mr Burton T S Row was honoured to be one out of twelve finalists for the President’s Award for Teachers.
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2012

AISS celebrated its 50th Year in grand fashion with Community Outreach in Yishun neighbourhood in March, a Concert at the Republic Polytechnic in April (Guest-of-Honour, Mr Khaw Boon Wan) and a Gala “Reunion” Dinner in November in the school premises (Guest-of-Honour, President Tony Tan). The school also opened its AI Heritage Boulevard and WeBreathe Room (The Student Centre) on that day. From the last three and a half decades, the school evolved from a small rural school to a modern, well-equipped and well-managed institution. In its own way, Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School now ranks among the best educational institutions in Singapore! 


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2015

AI’s signature programme, Outdoor Learning Experience (OLE), received MOE’s endorsement. The school’s Learning for Life Programme is now Character Development through OLE.
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2016

AI is one of the four schools in Singapore offering the Enhanced Music Programme (EMP) which aims at increasing accessibility to students with music talent and interest to pursue GCE ‘O’ level Music or Higher Music. Complementary is the introduction of the MusicPreparatory Course (MPC) for lower secondary students who are musically talented.


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2016

 Critical Social Inquiry and Media Literacy as AI's second niche