By Tay Choon Neo
The National Education Symposium organized by the Federation of Councils of Christian Mission Schools, FCCMSM, was held on the 18th and 19th of September 2014 at Methodist College Kuala Lumpur, Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur. The theme was “Mission School Aspirations and the National Education Blueprint”.
It was attended by 173 people from throughout the nation composed of Clergy and lay representatives from the Mission Authorities, FCCMSM representatives, Educationists from Mission Schools and other Educational Institutions, Parents, School Board of Governors, Mission School Alumni and others who are concerned about Mission Schools in this country.
There were many distinguished representatives from the various Mission Authorities: Catholic Archbishop Julian Leow said the Opening Prayer. FCCMSM Chairman Rev Moses Chin (Anglican Sabah) gave the Introductory speech. The Closing Prayer was said by Bishop Datuk Dr Thomas Tsen of the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia. Methodist SCAC President, Datuk Dr Su Chii Ann shared a devotional message on the second day.
Deputy Minister, YB Datuk Mary Yap graced the occasion. She said: “The historic contribution of Mission Schools in the educational development of Malaysian society is well-known. This historic contribution and the continuing role that mission schools can play today and in the future have never really been forgotten by the Government. Admittedly, in the rapid educational development during the last 20 years or so, mission schools were somewhat left in the backwaters. Inadvertently, this has, in part contributed to their decline and caused much unhappiness among those who cared deeply about the future of mission schools.
However, many positive changes have taken place over the last few years. Without much fanfare, high level officials of the Ministry have been engaging in consultation with mission school representatives on many of the issues faced by mission schools. As a result, the Government has been able to address many of these grouses.”
There were 2 forums conducted on the 2 mornings. The excellent speakers enabled a lively open discussion on the topics.
1st day Moderator Mr Yap Kok Keong linked the theme Mission School Aspirations with the key areas of focus in the Blueprint: Shift 2 “Proficiency in the English Language, Bahasa Malaysia and a future third language” and Shift 3 “Values Driven Malaysia”.
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam – “Memartabatkan Bahasa Malaysia dan Memperkasakan Bahasa Inggeris”. He emphasized that the Mission Authorities must with missionary zeal, soldier on for a better future, play a greater advocacy role, not give up.
Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim “What Does English Medium School Mean to Me” was an inspiration to us all to pursue teaching and learning in English.
Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria “Ethnic Diversity in School” said that the Mission Schools have always stood for social inclusion of ethnic, cultural, religious, gender and socio-economic diversity and the under-achiever. We must continue to move with appreciation of the other.
2nd day theme: The National Education Blueprint and the future of Mission Schools Moderator Rev. Moses Chin mentioned some breakthroughs the Mission Schools have managed in the recent years: fund allocation, maximum consultation for appointment of Heads, ethos and character of Mission Schools, Clubs and Societies (including Christian Fellowship), 10% intake of students by Board Of Governors, Bible Knowledge allowed to be taught on school premises, take up to 12 subjects for SPM.
Bro. Anthony Rogers “Key Elements in Transformation of Mission Schools” Tan Sri Bernard Dompok “Public Private Partnership”. He said that after 51 years it was time to re-set things and that there must be readiness on the part of the Mission Authorities. Encik Wan Saiful Wan Jan gave an interesting presentation of “Trust Schools: An Alternative Model” .