Wednesday, February 19

Govt not closing down SK St Faith – Dept


KUCHING: SK St Faith, the primary school located at Kenyalang Park Kuching, can still be saved if the people concerned have the will and pool their resources together in concerted effort to keep it alive.

Yesterday, the state Education Department issued clarification that they are not the ones which want to shut down the school next year.

But even if St Faith Parish, which manages the school had wanted it to be closed down in several phases starting in 2006, the department will not deregister the school.

The department assured they have no intention to close down any school, be it government or government-aided school.

SK St Faith Kuching only runs Primary Six classes, since Primary One to Primary Five classes were eliminated in phases over the years.

If nothing is done positively, the school which started receiving students from a house in 1950, will be history next year.

“The government has no intention to close down any school, especially government-aided schools. In this context, the ceasing of operation of St Faith Kuching is due to the request of the Diocese of Kuching (Diocesan Standing Committee) in 2006. They agreed unanimously that Primary One classes be closed in 2007 and so on,” he said.

“The decision is to enable parents to find alternative schools for their children. Nevertheless the government will not deregister the school, even if it will ceases to operate,” the department said through a press statement to clarify the matter following a publication of an article to highlight the fate of the school yesterday.

The department also assured the school board of management at SK St Faith Kuching that the state education department is ever ready to assist in financial terms.

“If funds are needed from the government, then the school board of management should apply for it. In this case, the board had not made any application, perhaps because they are contemplating that the school is going to cease operation,” the department said.

The Borneo Post yesterday reported that the school has had its share of achievements and even the headmaster Richard Sageng Anyi lamented that he was sad that the school is going to cease operation next year.

Because of the current situation, he is the headmaster of only 33 pupils in Primary Six classes only, a very unique scenario indeed.

Sageng said he did not know of any reason why the school is going to close down and that he was not aware if there was any attempt or attempts to save it.

This year is only his second year as headmaster of the school.

However a parent said the school has a rich history and thus people should try to save it from extinction.

According to him, the school is going to be phased out because of lack of funds and shortage of students.

A source close to St Thomas’s Church, the parent-church for

St Faith’s Church said that the school has been in a run-down state for years.

It would be a pity if it ceased operation next year because the place is in a strategic area, near to Kenyalang Park Commercial Centre as well as being in the heart of the Kenyalang Park residential area, with several roads conveniently linking the school, ample parking spaces and last but not least, it has a good track record .

It would not be in its current state if there was sufficient funds to run the school, he claimed.

The school fared well in public examinations throughout the years, he said.

The establishment of the school was mooted by the late

Datuk Barbara Bey alias Mendu in 1950.

It started from her home in Jalan Mendu.

In 1959 it was relocated to the current site which has a large compound consisting of three acres of land.

The site was donated by Barbara’s husband.

It was first named St Thomas Primary School, Sekama.

The school was administered and managed by St Thomas Parish Board of Management.

In 1960, a new school building was constructed with a cost of about RM46,000 because it needed to cater for around 250 students and six teachers, back then.

It was equipped with six classrooms and an administrative block.

In 1967, the school management was transferred to St Faith Parish.

It was subsequently renamed SRB St Faith.

This means that it was a government-aided primary school, like any other mission school in Sarawak.

The school has recorded some achievements as it has produced many excellent students who are now successful in their careers and life.

In 2003 it was even upgraded to a Grade ‘A’ school.

According to a source, in 2006 it has 15 teachers, two administrative staff and 243 pupils.