By Tay Choon Neo
DATE: 26 – 27 June 2009
VENUE: Olympic Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
THEME: The Role Of Mission Schools In Nation Building
ORGANIZED by the Malayan Christian Schools’ Council and the Mission School Authorities of Sabah and Sarawak under the auspices of the Christian Federation of Malaysia
To promote greater understanding, cooperation and cohesion among mission school authorities in Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah (including Labuan)
To obtain a wider perspective of management, role and direction of mission schools
To generate resolutions for the Government to act on for the welfare and betterment of mission schools in the country
To establish the Federation of Christian Mission Schools Malaysia
Praise the Lord for this landmark meeting of all Christian Mission School Authorities in the whole of Malaysia. The conference was convened by YB Tan Sri Bernard Dompok who had taken a great interest in Mission Schools in Malaysia.
This was graced by the Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, at St John’s Institution, Kuala Lumpur on 27th June 2009 at 11.00 a.m. In his speech, the Prime Minister acknowledged the role and contribution of mission schools all these years. He said that the ethos and traditions of the schools must be maintained and promised that the government will cooperate wherever possible.
Outcome: By the end of the conference, a list of resolutions had been agreed upon by the participants. These were refined by a subcommittee who presented the Conference Resolutions to Tan Sri Bernard Dompok on 7th of July 2009, who will raise them at the Cabinet meeting.
The process of forming a federation of Christian Mission Schools has begun, possibly after the model of Malayan Christian Schools’ Council (MCSC). Sabah and Sarawak nominated four representatives each to meetings. There was an invitation to have another gathering in Sabah in October 2009, when the CFM next meets.
If the resolutions materialise, exciting times lie ahead and the Mission Authorities must prepare themselves. By the Grace of God, the mission of the founding fathers will continue on and brought to a higher level.
To God Be The Glory!
Forty one representatives from Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia representing 425 mission schools throughout the country meeting at the Conference of Christian Mission Schools on 26 – 27 June 2009 at the Olympic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur were encouraged, affirmed and united by their common concern in improving their current high standards of education and providing the best opportunities for the children attending these Schools.
It was resolved that the best possible scenario ultimately for the involvement of mission schools in education in Malaysia would be for the mission schools to be allowed to operate along the lines of the system practiced in Hong Kong where the Government fully funds both the development and operational expenditure of the schools. The schools prepare the students for a common examination mandated by the Government under a common curriculum.
In other words, the policy is set by the Government whereas its implementation is almost entirely left to the mission authorities which will hire (or fire) all the teachers and administrative staff.
While waiting for the Government to study the above-mentioned proposal, the Conference unanimously agreed that there are other issues which could be addressed immediately by the Government and these have been summarized as follows:
- The principle of maximum consultation between the Ministry of Education and the Mission Authorities in the appointment of Principals / Head Teachers be strengthened.
- Preservation of the character and ethos of mission schools; That Boards of Governors continue to preserve this legacy.
That the capital grants and full grant-in-aid which mission schools are entitled to, according to the Education Act 1996, be implementedMission schools have been unjustly denied assistance due to them in the last 13 years since the Act came into force, and even before that.
Students in mission schools are citizens of Malaysia and a majority of them are Bumiputra especially in Sabah and Sarawak. Every student in this country has a right to receive quality education guaranteed by a just and equitable allocation of resources.
- A Special Unit in the Ministry of Education to deal with matters related to mission schools.
- Designate selected mission schools to meet the special needs of under-achieving students who are unable to fit into the normal schools’ academic, exam-orientated curriculum.
Mission schools envisage “a recovery of our historic mission to help the poor, the helpless and the marginalized of society”.
- Restoring the multi-ethnic character of Mission schools in terms of student enrolment and teaching staff.
- Mission schools built on leasehold land: that existing leases of mission schools to be renewed at nominal premiums.
Leases of mission schools which have lapsed to be renewed at nominal premiums.
- Ministry approval and financial allocations for Meeting of Mission School Heads and administrators for discussion of common challenges and resolving of issues peculiar to Mission schools.
- Every Mission School shall have a fully functioning Board of Governors regulated by an Instrument of Government as required by the Education Act 1996 Chapter 11, Para 53 Management of Educational Institutions.
That the Board should be fully functional and open a Bank Account for the management of funds accrued from Bookshop, Canteen and other sources related to the use of grounds and buildings.
- That mission authorities / head teachers be given the discretion of 20% of pupil enrolments at Std 1 and Form 1; that all Primary VI school children move automatically to the corresponding secondary school.
- That upon written request Christian Clubs and Societies be given approval to function in school and recognized as part of the school co-curricular activities.
- While we do not agree to students offering 17, 19 or 21 subjects, we propose the maximum number of subjects a candidate can offer in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia be capped at 12.
- That the subject, Bible Knowledge, be taught to Christian students in mission schools in place of Pendidikan Moral.
- That selected mission schools capable of financing themselves be allowed to operate as private educational institutions.