PETALING JAYA: Student enrolment in the three convent schools in Penang has been declining in the last 10 years, says its owner Sisters of Infant Jesus Malaysia.
"In the last decade, the continuous drop in enrolment of students has been a matter of concern and has been monitored closely.
"The escalating cost to maintain the over one and a half century of school buildings at Convent Light Street is another major worry," Lady Superior of the Society of Saint Maur, Sister Mary Thresa Chua said in a statement.
However, the statement did not disclose the number of enrolment nor the cost of maintenance.
Sister Chua also noted that the purported closure of the IJ Sisters' convent schools attracted a lot of interest, as SMK Convent Light Street is not only the first convent school in Malaysia, but also the oldest IJ Convent in South-East Asia.
However, Sister Chua also reaffirms that Convent Light Street is not for sale.
"There is no intention to sell the land and buildings of our convent schools for redevelopment," she said.
The Star, on June 20, reported Penang Education Department director Dr Mahanom Mat Sam as saying that the three schools – SK Convent Light Street, SMK Convent Light Street and SMK Convent Pulau Tikus – would be closed down and the land returned to the Sisters of Infant Jesus Malaysia.
Approval to close the schools was given late last year, with SMK Convent Light Street and SMK Convent Pulau Tikus to be closed in 2023 and SK Convent Light Street in 2024.
Sister Chua also reiterated that they will continue to advocate wholesome education in their mission schools.
"The IJ Sisters' intend to embark on a transformation effort to continue and preserve the tradition of learning that is dynamic, progressive and relevant, through the creation of richer syllabus content, while maintaining the character and ethos of convent schools.
"The IJ Sisters are firm believers in education and will continue to advocate wholesome education in their mission schools," she added.
Sister Chua is scheduled to meet Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow on July 19.
Chow had said that the state government would appeal to the Education Ministry to relocate the schools, and was willing to look for suitable land for the purpose.