GEORGE TOWN: News of the possible closure of three convent schools in Penang has dismayed many parents, alumni and students of the schools.
The stakeholders feel that the buildings, which have rich historical value, should be retained.
Mohamed Rizwan Abdul Ghafoor Khan, 34, who has a daughter and niece studying in SK Convent Light Street, said the schools should not be closed as they serve the schooling girls living in the George Town World Heritage Enclave.
“I was saddened by the news, which I learnt two days ago from my daughter and niece.
“The girls told me their teachers mentioned the matter in classes, but they were not told the reason for closing the schools,” said Mohamed Rizwan, who is Indian Muslim Community Organisation Malaysia president, when met outside the school yesterday.
He added that his wife and her siblings were all alumni of Convent Light Street, which they love because it is a high-performance cluster school of excellence with beautiful surroundings in the heart of George Town.
“I heard my daughter and niece will not be able to continue at SMK Convent Light Street, but I have no idea where I would send them for secondary education.
“They might need to go to a secondary school that is further away,” he said.
He added that as a member of a non-governmental organisation, he strongly opposed any move to sell the schools to a developer.
Northeast district office officer Mohd Shazly Zainudin, 35, who sends her eight-year-old daughter to SK Convent Light Street, said news of the school closing had been circulated widely over the past few days.
“My mother was a senior assistant in this school before being transferred to another school. She also heard the news from her former colleagues.
“Convent Light Street has rich historical value. No matter what, the school buildings should not be demolished so that the history of the schools will not be lost,” Mohd Shazly said.
Form Four students Teng Zhi Yi, M. Theerthana and R. Sujithra were also saddened by the news.
Teng, a prefect, said she heard about it from her teachers.
“I heard that they might consider turning the school into a private institute.
“I feel sad, but it is okay if they can make the school better,” she said.
Theerthana said she had studied in Convent Light Street since Year One.
“Why do they want to close the school? This is a nice school,” she said.
SPCA Penang administrator Leng Lily, also an alumnus, expressed disappointment over the news.
“I was with the school from Year One until the end of Form Five,” she said.
Teacher Annie Khoo, an alumnus of Convent Pulau Tikus, said they would lose their alma mater and place to gather.
“We sometimes go back to the school and get together with juniors and seniors.
“Now that it’s closing down, we will lose a place for us to get together and reminisce about our school days.
“We can do nothing about it, but it is still painful to know we are losing our alma mater,” Khoo said.
Some also questioned why the schools should be turned into private institutions, making education into a business.