In our pragmatic and meritocracy-based society, the paper chase is a never-ending and highly competitive race. Lingering at the crossroads after the GCE ‘O' Levels while deliberating entry into junior college, one may not realise the existence of an alternative route to varsity education via the GCE ‘A' Levels at Millennia Institute (MI).

Located in a spanking new campus at Bukit Batok, MI is no new kid on the education scene. The school is birthed from the merger of Outram Institute (OI) and Jurong Institute (JI) just 3 years ago. MI is currently the sole Pre-University Centre in Singapore to offer a 3-year course leading to GCE ‘A' Level certification.

Abolishment of Commerce stream in junior colleges in 1999 made MI the only school to persevere in the Business stream academically for GCE ‘A' Level students. In a bid to offer a holistic education, MI introduced a customised Dual Track Programme, where students are further equipped academically, and advocates co-curricular activities, which see students excelling in niche areas outside of their studies.

Dual Track Programme
Students in MI may choose to spend their 3 years pursuing a diploma alongside their preparations for GCE ‘A' Levels. Tying up with the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS), the Asian Centre for Professional Excellence (ACPE), the Newcastle School of Management (NSM) and the Singapore Accounting Association to offer 4 business-related diploma programmes, MI is able to hone business-oriented graduates with a definite edge over both junior college and polytechnic graduates alike.

Shobana d/o Nadaraja, one of the students participating in the dual track programme, is very glad she has such a chance to pursue a Diploma in Business Administration (Business, Travel and Tourism) from Newcastle. She quips, “This diploma has made me a more confident person and allows me to venture in specific areas beyond the usual academic subjects.”

Indeed, ‘O' Level students who are in a dilemma between the Junior College route and a Polytechnic pursuit of a niche Business interest can look to MI for a solution. Armed with both a diploma and GCE ‘A' Level certification, these graduates can expect to rise up in the globally-competitive economy.

Co-Curricular Activities
Wish to witness various ethnicities demonstrating deft wushu strokes? Unusual boldness is certainly synonymous with MI where students are encouraged to think out of the box, step out of their comfort zone and do the extraordinary. The wushu team in MI hides 3 unconventional girls who are not afraid to be different.

Siti Zubaidah Bte Shaik Ibrahim, Astha Letchumi d/o Sivam and Sariza Bte Mohamad Sahdun are probably the only non-Chinese contenders in this year's ‘A' Division wushu tournament. Wielding Chinese broadswords and spears ala the characters in ancient Chinese drama serials, these 3 ladies hardly seem like the amateur they are in reality.

“I felt uneasy at first when I joined,” shared Astha, the first non-Chinese student to join the wushu team in MI and even making it to the national tournaments, “but I told myself not to be scared of communication problems.” Astha persevered on her decision to take up wushu in Year 1 despite knowing that she would face language barriers with her Chinese coach.

Siti and Sariza also entered the wushu arena because they wanted to do something unusual. “We didn't want to do the common sports or uniformed groups but when we saw wushu [during the annual freshmen CCA festival], we both thought it's something worth trying!” proclaimed Siti with much exuberance.

The girls' passion for wushu is evident in their spectacular achievements during the ‘A' Division Girls Team tournament in 2007. Siti snagged a silver medal for her 4-Duan spear performance and bagged yet another silver for Group performance in Quanshu with her comrades.