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Malaysian Mission Schools News Archive

SUNDAY STAR, Nation, April 17, 2005
Help for mission schools, too

PENANG: Devastated during World War II, the rebuilt St Xavier's Institution (SXI) is trying hard to retain its 153-year-old tradition started by the La Salle Brothers in 1852. 

A lack of funds seems to be taking a toll on the school, which is the first in the country to be run by the La Salle Brothers. 

“The roof in parts of the school is leaking. We badly need to improve the infrastructure,” said principal Rev Bro Paul Ho, who is among the five Christian Brothers still living in the school. 

The good Brother had reason to smile yesterday, following the Education Ministry's announcement to assist schools of over 100 years to continue producing students with excellent results. 

“We are happy that the ministry is taking mission schools into consideration, and hope that the assistance will come soon,” added Bro Ho. 

Although the three pioneer Christian Brothers took over the management of the school after they arrived in Malaysia in 1852, SXI was founded earlier in 1787 as a Malay-medium school in a jungle clearing. 

In 1825, it became an English-medium school and was renamed St Francis Xavier's Free School at Bishop Street. 

The La Salle Brothers relocated the school to its present site in Farquhar Street in 1857 and the school has since been known as St Xavier's Institution. 

During World War II, SXI was taken over by the Japanese and turned into a naval base. It was bombed twice, first by the Japanese and again by the Allied forces which completely levelled the school. 

After the war, classes resumed in attap huts until the school was rebuilt in 1953. 

Meanwhile, in Ipoh , former SM Anderson teacher Datuk N.S. Selvamany said that schools of over 100 years old needed to be valued as they produced many leaders in the country. 

He said the 98-year-old SM Anderson had withstood all trials and tribulations and had produced judges, heads of states, ministers, and various professionals. 

“Providing aid and recognition for such schools is an excellent thing to do,” said Selvamany, who taught at the school from 1952 to 1972. 

Buntong state assemblyman Datuk Yik Phooi Hong welcomed the news and said the decision would preserve the traditions of all schools over 100 years old so that they did not “lose their character”. 

Yik, who had studied for two years at the 109-year-old SMK Methodist Ipoh (ACS) from 1967, said ACS was traditionally famous for its plays, choirs, extra-curricular excellence and academic achievement. 

In Malacca , the Malacca High School, St Francis Institution, Methodist Girls School and Infant Jesus Convent are among the schools which are over 100 years old. 

The St Francis Institution is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. 

Brother director Ambrose Loke said this was welcome news for the missionary schools. 

“The schools need a lot of funds to maintain the buildings, including one which is nearly 100 years old,” he said. 

St Francis' Parent-Teacher Association chairman Dennis Casimir Lee said this was a great relief to missionary schools, which had to look for funds to maintain the building and infrastructure. 

He said that if the measure comes through under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, it would indicate the Government's sincerity and acknowledgement of the role played by the missionary schools in the field of education.


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