• Vol. 34 No. 6, 114C–120C
  • 15 July 2005

The History of Surgical Teaching and the Department of Surgery



Undergraduate surgical teaching in Singapore began 100 years ago, when the Medical School was founded. A significant step had been taken to enable local students to be trained in and to attain the diploma of Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery (LMS). Plans for postgraduate education were temporarily derailed when the Japanese occupied Singapore in 1942. Postgraduate surgical teaching received an official boost when the primary Australasian examinations were conducted in Singapore in 1957, providing a platform for surgical independence when the higher degree, the Master of Medicine (M Med) in Surgery, was established in 1970. Currently, the Joint Committee on Specialist Training, comprising the Division of Graduate Medical Studies, the Academy of Medicine, Singapore and the Ministry of Health, oversees the training of surgical specialists in Singapore.

On 3 July 2005, the Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS) and NUS will be celebrating their centenaries – a hundred years since the founding of the Medical School in Singapore in 1905. What a proud moment it will be for students, teachers and graduates. It will be as memorable a moment for us as it must have been for Mr Tan Jiak Kim, a local Chinese, when he successfully rallied the community to raise $87,077, a significant sum in 1905, to further his dream: “Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that Your Excellency [Governor Sir John Anderson] will give this matter your earnest consideration and take steps to get a proper scheme framed for the establishment of a Medical School in Singapore”.1 A significant step had been taken.

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