Please Mind the Platform Gap: The Humanities Programme

Reading Time: 6 minutes

By Jermaine Lee (24A01A)
Cover picture credits: Shannen Lim En-Qi (24A01A)

What are you passionate about?

This is the question we had to ask ourselves when we wrote our application essays for HP. More than just looking at your academic abilities, HP wants to know what you care about and what you think about the world around you. 

So, what is HP, exactly? This guide is not all-encompassing by any means, but I hope it gives you a general idea of our programme. 

Requirements for HP 

Besides taking an arts subject combination, HP also requires you to study H2 English Literature. Additionally, you will have to take two other H2 Humanities subjects. You can take either H1 or H2 of your contrasting subject, whether that be (most commonly) Mathematics, or Knowledge and Inquiry (KI). 

If you didn’t take Literature in Y3-4, rest assured that you won’t be significantly disadvantaged. You’re not alone — many HP students have had the same experience. Literature in JC differs greatly from what is taught in secondary school, and everyone is relearning how to write their essays. Your teachers will be here to support you and help you develop the necessary skills. 

However, if the prospect of memorising Shakespeare and analysing metaphysical and/or love sonnets sounds horrible to you, you’ll want to give HP a pass. 

H2English Literature
H2Economics, Geography, or History
English Language and Linguistics,
Mother Tongue Language and Literature,
Japanese / French / German / Spanish, or
Music / Art
Contrasting subject H2/H1Mathematics, or
H1 Project Work, and
General Paper, and
Mother Tongue (if without HMT at O level)

A quick summary of subject combinations

If you are a Singapore citizen, you must apply for the MOE Humanities Scholarship Programme with HP. If you aren’t accepted into HP via the internal selection round, you can still get in if you are offered the scholarship. 

Features of HP


Situated in the elusive J-Block, many RI students know that HP students exist but have never seen our faces. I’ll admit that I’m exaggerating, but J-Block is quite far away from the classroom blocks (namely Blocks A, B, D and Raja). 

“Wow, I haven’t seen you in a while,” is something I often hear from my secondary school friends when I bump into them in the canteen.

However, if you’re looking for tangible perks to boast about to your Raja Block Level Seven friend, all five HP classrooms are located on Level Three and are near the canteen and MPH (where weekly assemblies are held). J Block has also recently been renovated, so our classrooms look especially nice.

This certain level of “isolation” does come with its cons. For those of us with friends from secondary school, you might struggle to keep in contact with them in other classes. Traversing the entire campus is a task not for the faint-hearted. 

Nonetheless, it’s not impossible to keep in contact with friends. For me, I meet up with my friends before school every day. There are also plenty of opportunities outside of HP to make new friends, such as CCA, VIA, and other extracurricular activities.

Combined Civics

Every week, we have Combined Civics, where our teachers invite guests, many of them HP alumni, from all walks of life to share their experiences with us. This year, we’ve had the privilege of listening to presentations by many speakers, including former Attorney-General Walter Woon, Managing Director of Khan Academy India and Vice President of International Operations for Khan Academy, Mr Sandeep Bapna, and Mr Lim Jingzhou, who works with the Cassia Resettlement Team to mitigate social isolation in the elderly. 

Our speakers delve into a diverse range of topics, including AI, how existing policies tackle inequity, and how inclusive Singapore is to people with disabilities. Our speakers break down topics to make them digestible for us and let us ask them questions about their work and the issues they face daily.

One of my most memorable Combined Civics lessons was “Critical Thinking through Popular Cinema: Law and Justice in Superhero Films” by Ms Nurul Ain and Mr Wong Wei Li. We discussed how the Batman movie “The Dark Knight” was influenced by 9/11 and President Bush’s War on Terror. Combined Civics challenges our views on issues and compels us to think in new ways. There are always new things to learn and more perspectives for us to consider every week!

The Raffles Asia Programme (RAP)

The RAP is a student-directed, independent research project undertaken by every Y6 HP student on a topic of their choice connected with Asia

Students are guided in research skills and academic writing and supported by mentors who are experts in their fields of interest. This research will culminate in a student-run symposium, where every student will have the opportunity to present their research findings to an audience of their peers, students and teachers from secondary schools and other HSP centres. 

Check out Raffles Press articles on the RAP Symposiums from 2021 and 2019!

Outings and End-of-Year Trip

The HP teachers frequently organise trips for students to experience an array of cultural events beyond what we learn in our academics. They help us to appreciate the arts scene in Singapore better and deepen our love for the arts.

This year, we watched the play “Betrayal” by Harold Pinter, directed by Gavin Low. We were also given a tour of the Peranakan Museum by its curator and witnessed the glorious spectacle of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” at Shakespeare in the Park. 

24A01A at the Peranakan Museum!

The Y5 batch also gets to go on year-end trips to any country in Asia. This trip is subsidised by the HSP scholarship (if you receive it). This article will be updated after the Y5s go on their trip to Seoul this year, the first since COVID began!

The Humanz Initiative (THI)

Every HP batch is also in charge of The Humanz Initiative. This community service project has been passed down by our HP seniors for many years. At the heart of what we want to do is to give back to society. THI has organised projects with migrant domestic workers as well as underprivileged children to raise awareness and funds for their causes. 

So, why HP? 

“I chose HP because of the curriculum — I knew that it would provide the intellectual rigour to help me extend my understanding and love for the humanities. I thought being part of a community similarly passionate about the humanities would be really cool.”

Cai Sijia (24A01A)

A legacy from our fun and quirky seniors.

HP can seem very intimidating at first. Many people think of HP students as geniuses who start intense discussions at the drop of a hat. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. 

All of us have one thing in common: we love the humanities. That doesn’t mean that all of us have stellar GPAs — we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and like everyone else, a lot of us have grades in certain subjects that may not be generally considered “good”. 

Most of us are also introverts. Outside of discussions about what we’re passionate about, a lot of us are quiet. That doesn’t mean that we’re left out — as I said before, HP is accepting and inclusive of everyone.  

“What if I didn’t join HP has been one of, if not the biggest “what if” I’ve asked myself. The life (and regular school) lessons I’ve learnt, the friendships I’ve formed, and the memories I’ve made are things I will treasure forever and are an unforgettable part of the HP experience.”

Jordan Chiam (24A01A)

In many ways, HP isn’t just an enrichment programme. For its students, it’s a place where we not only grow, but belong. We are all very different people with a diverse range of interests, views and experiences, but these differences are precisely where we derive our synergy. We respect one another’s opinions and actively learn from one another. There is nowhere as productive (or pleasantly chaotic) in RI as an HP classroom.

So, what are you passionate about? If you’re looking to bring your love for the humanities to the next level and meet others like yourself, HP might just be the place you want to be. 

More information to accompany this article: 

Details of the Raffles Humanities Programme

Details of the MOE Humanities Scholarship

Raffles Press’ 2014 HP Introduction

Please Mind the Platform Gap: Choosing Subject Combinations (Part 2) – The Arts Combinations

481710cookie-checkPlease Mind the Platform Gap: The Humanities Programme


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