Convent schools closure: Don’t jump the gun, says Penang Education director

 |Nov 3, 2017
Convent Light Street in Penang. – File pic credit

GEORGE TOWN: Former Convent Light Street (CLS) and Convent Pulau Tikus (CPT) students in Penang have voiced their sadness after learning the schools will soon be closed down once it stops taking on new students next year.

“This is so sad.. it’s like part of my childhood and teenage memories are gone but Convent Light Street will always be in my heart,” wrote one Shalini on Facebook.

The schools are said to face closure as the land owner, Sisters of the Infant Jesus had written to the Education Department seeking to acquire their land back.

Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey, who is also a CPT alumni, confirmed that the owner of the lands the schools sit on, is taking the land back.

“As far as I know, the Sisters are taking back their land, so they won’t be taking on new students,” she said.

She said the schools affected are SK Convent Light Street, SMK Convent Light Street and SMK Convent Pulau Tikus.

However SK Convent Pulau Tikus, said Yap, may not be affected as reported, because the land no longer belongs to the Sisters.

A state education department letter dated Nov 1, 2017 addressed to Convent Light Street, both primary and secondary, and the Convent Pulau Tikus secondary school, had advised them to start phasing out student intake.

When contacted, Penang Education director Shaari Osman said there have been premature panic about the matter as no decision has been made by the state education department and the Education Ministry yet.

“We’re still at the negotiation stage with the church,” he said, adding that they want to prevent the closure of the schools if possible.

“We’re looking at all ways to prevent this and also in the letter written by the church, they did not mention immediate acquisition of the land; it will be done through a staggered method.

“And also they only applied and it doesn’t necessarily mean we have accepted their application,” said Shaari when contacted.

He stressed that it should be made clear that it was the church which wrote to the education department seeking to acquire back the land the schools sit on.

It was reported that both schools have stopped taking in students for Form One in both secondary schools and Year One for the primary school.

It is unknown why the Sisters of the Infant Jesus had wanted to take the land back nor has any plans with the land been revealed.

CLS is believed to be the oldest missionary school for girls in the country as it was established on April 12, 1852 by the Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus Mission.

CPT was established by Reverend Mother Saint Hermine in 1922 as the Sekolah Convent Infant Jesus. – MO