August 21, 2008

Mission Schools’ Council Welcomes Ministry’s Help

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malayan Christian Schools' Council has welcomed the Education Ministry's plan to help all 410 mission schools.

It said that mission schools found it challenging to maintain their facilities and education standards in the wake of rising inflation and the growing expectations of parents.

Chairman Yap Kok Keong said the schools had been kept afloat through donations channelled through churches.

"For far too long these churches have been helping the schools through the generosity of their parishioners," he said on Monday.

Last week, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said the ministry would assist the mission schools to retain their leases and renew them at a nominal premium. He also stated the ministry planned to keep their annual quit rent at RM1.

The ministry is working on a blueprint to provide grants for the maintenance of these schools as well as Chinese, Tamil and religious schools.

Yap said some schools were in a state of limbo as their leases had expired. "They have been trying to renew their leases and their future depends on how the government responds."

He said all the mission schools needed to create a good learning environment for their 241,000 students.

"We have the same goals as the national schools to provide good learning tools like computers and maintaining the facilities of the schools."

He said many Malaysians were the product of mission schools, which were started long before Merdeka, some even a century ago.

"Mission schools are multiracial and the council feels they provide a good environment for the younger generation to overcome racial polarisation."

The fact that the "Christian-ness" of the mission schools was disappearing was lamentable, said Yap.

He said the schools found it a challenge to instil moral values like tolerance, sacrifice, kindness and patience in students due to the lack of Christian teachers and headmistresses or headmasters.

"We hope the government will consider increasing the number of Christian teachers or, at least, maintain a Christian headmistress or headmaster in each mission school who could help to shape the character of the future generation."

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