Thursday, June 18, 2009

The future of La Salle Schools?

Well written letter in the Star by Dr. Goh Cheng Teik on the future of La Salle schools in Malaysia. I think his suggestion of handing back the administration of these schools to the 'brothers' is interesting but I'm not sure if there are enough 'brothers' around to administer these schools. I'll reproduce the letter in full below. (BTW, I was from La Salle PJ, primary and secondary, until Form 3)

Thursday June 18, 2009
Hand back ‘Saint’ schools to the La Salle Brothers

YOUR report “An end of an era for La Sallians” (The Star, May 1) stirred deep emotions in the hearts of those who had studied at the 50 La Salle schools in the country. The exit of Bro Paul Ho, the last Brother Director from St Xavier’s Institution does look like the end of an era.

But Old Xaverians and Old Lasallians do pray that Bro Paul’s retirement would not be the end of the involvement of Christian Brothers in Malaysian schools. At the recent Yayasan La Salle Board meeting on June 6, former UPM Vice Chancellor Tan Sri Syed Jalaluddin, an Old Xaverian, made a passionate plea for the Christian Brothers to stay engaged in Malaysia. The meeting was chaired by Tan Sri Kamarulzaman Shariff, another Old Xaverian and a former Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, who mandated Syed Jalaluddin to sketch out a road map for the coming years.

Old Lasallians like Syed Jalaluddin and Kamarulzaman value what the Brothers have done and wish that they can do more. Unfortunately, the congregation of La Salle Brothers worldwide has shrunk. F

ewer and fewer youths in the modern world are prepared to embrace the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for the sake of educating children from impoverished families. The Brothers have to conserve their manpower and deploy their resources smartly.

The present thinking is that Old La Sallians who have friends in high places should convince the Government to hand back two schools, St John’s Institution and St. Xavier’s Institution, to the La Salle Brothers to manage and administer. At the same time, the Government should convert both schools from being sekolah bantuan modal into sekolah-sekolah bantuan penoh.

Schools like St John’s and St Xavier’s have shown that they have withstood the test of time. After all, St John’s has produced Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the present Prime Minister; Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Home Minister; Datuk Sri Nazir Tun Razak, the banker and younger brother of Najib and Raja Nazrin Shah, the Raja Muda of Perak.

St Xavier’s has produced Karpal Singh, the opposition leader; Tun Hamid Omar, the former Lord President; Tan Sri Nor Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Both schools can be depended upon to make proper use of the financial resources and enhanced powers given to them. They should be challenged - at the right moment - to bring back the academic and extra-curricular excellence that they had enjoyed in the past. These include competency in the English language, both written and spoken.

I believe making St John’s and St Xavier’s fully-aided schools and mandating the La Salle Brothers and the respective boards of governors to administer them is the answer. Taking both schools private sounds great in theory but in practice, funds would have to be raised all the time. Fees have to be charged and revised upward regularly.

Those students who cannot pay would have to be barred from attending classes. The La Salle Brothers would not be comfortable with a fee-based regime. Their philosophy is to provide education to those who need it, not only to those who can pay for it.

Syed Jalaluddin’s mission is delicate and important. As someone who had studied in a La Salle school and who had worked as a Vice Chancellor of a public university, he can bridge the communication gap between the La Salle Brothers and the politicians and civil servants.

He can get a dialogue going. For all you know, he may find an ally in the person of the PM since Najib is an Old Lasallian.


Kuala Lumpur.


Chew said...

Cheer cheer and courage displayed
Come on you La Sallians join in the fray,

As you can see, I'm a ex La Sallian too, from primary to form 3, under Brother Leo and Brother Felis.

My kids are in a private school but if the brothers were to take back control and head La Salle PJ again, I would place my son in it like a shot.

A true La Sallian education is priceless and cannot be replicated in any school, even a high price elite school.

I should know, I went to La Salle and later to a boarding school in England. And I can testify that although the public school in England had the most fantastic facilities with dedicated teachers, it didn't have the La Sallian spirit and ethos.

And if Assunta PJ was under the sisters again, I would put my daughter in it.

Both schools under the brothers and sisters regime, produced excellent academic results coupled with sporting excellence. And it didn't costs an arm and a leg.

And now more then ever, Malaysia need schools like La Salle under the missionary brothers and sisters. They were colour blind and made us all feel colour blind. We were La Sallians, first and last.

Anonymous said...

OOOOOOOOOO,,,ur that Lassalian who used to go disturbing the Assunta girls. No wonder...
I was your teacher who made u stand up on the chair for making noise in class

Ah Non said...

A badly written and ill advised letter by a certain Goh. Talks about unity... if given back to the La Salle brothers, it's all about Christianity. Unity can only be achieved if all schools are standardise. just look at Indonesia, a good example.

Anonymous said...

I was educated in La Sallian. I am a muslim. We praise the missionary schools not because they try to convert or evangelical but by the quality of teaching and discipline

Anonymous said...

Obviously, the person who equate La Sallian with Chritianity was not a La Sallian, or else he would not be saying such tripe.

As to his saying that unity can only be achieved if all schools are standardised, and quoting Indonesia, he obviously has not met with Indonesian Chinese either. Please go and talk to an Indonesian Chinese, and learn the facts!

If Indonesia is such a good example, then why was it that there were race riots in 1998 when Suharto fell? Why was it that there were pogroms against the Indonesian Chinese who were massacared, so much so that they fled to neighbouring countries? Where was the unity?

Pity the Indonesian Chinese, they can't speak Chinese, have Indonesian names and basically gave up their identity on foced assimilation into Indonesian society. Yet, they were still made the scapegoats in times of strife.

Coltz said...

To connect Indonesia with "unity" is just sad.

Anonymous said...

dang. that's juz sad mate. relying on the christian brothers to maintain la salle's previous achievement is juz plain sad.

we dont need la salle to excel in life.
this over idolization may work to stir up a swarm of uncalled for zest at the 'kedai kopi'. but it shore(sure) won't impress the intellectuals.

Mudah said...

I agreed that Malaysia need more schools like La Salle. They were colour blind and made us all feel colour blind.

Unknown said...

Today, May 21, 2010 marked a great milestone for the La Salle Christian Brothers' schools in Malaysia.

For today, St John's Institution in KL was declared a National Heritage; which means it will forever be treasured as part of Malaysia's rich heritage. It will not be torn down to make way for commercial development and be rebuilt elsewhere and renamed as was done to BBGS. Nor will it be let to ruin due to the lack of funds for its upkeep. For today, the Min of Information, Communications, Arts & Culture has adopted the school to preserve it for future generations.
Long live St John's. Long live the La Salle spirit!

Gerard Benedict