Sunday, May 29, 2011

Methodists to open private schools as public standards fall

The Malaysian Insider news

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — The Methodist Church in Malaysia believes private schools are a solution to the declining academic standards in public schools, and have begun building them in areas where there is an absence of government schools. The Methodist Church, together with other Christian denominations, has been involved in education since the 1800s when the British first came to the Malay Peninsula. The Church has 26 secondary and 42 primary schools assisted by the government, six private schools and a private college.

Bishop Dr Hwa Yung said the Methodist Church’s mission now was to build a “string of private schools” so that Malaysian youth would have the best possible education. “We have now also begun building private schools which seek to contribute towards raising academic standards in this country, something which unfortunately seems to have gone into freefall in the last few decades,” Yung said in his foreword of the Methodist Boys’ School Penang’s 120th anniversary souvenir programme.

The Penang school celebrated its anniversary yesterday in a dinner attended by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. Hwa Yung lamented the fact that most mission schools were now under government control and run according to policies which were not too “sympathetic” to this category of schools. However, he said the Methodist Church had begun setting up schools for rural folks who have no access to government schools, and that one of these “private schools” has been recognised by the local education department and its students have been allowed to sit for year six and form three exams.

“We are seeking more human and financial resources to begin work in other areas of special needs, whether they be poverty, physical or developmental disabilities,” the bishop added. According to the Church, its sixth-form college, the Methodist College here, is aspiring to reach university college status by the next decade.

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