Putrajaya accused of discrimination as mission schools’ grants dwindle

A. Ruban
Putrajaya was urged to conduct a complete study of the mission schools and hold dialogues with stakeholders to understand the challenges faced by these schools. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — The Education Ministry has been told not to marginalise government-aided schools or mission schools when it comes to allocating funds to maintain these places.

In a statement signed by La Salle Brothers co-ordinator Andrew Loke, Infant Jesus Sisters provincial Theresa Chua and Canossian Sisters provincial Christin Low, the representatives requested for the ministry to provide sufficient funds to meet their monthly utility bills.

“Mission schools’ utilities bills should be paid in full by the government.

“The obligation of the government to provide full support for mission schools is set out in the Education Act 1996,” they said.

They referred to the electricity disruption at St. John’s Institution on August 20 as “a disaster waiting to happen” due to years of insufficient allocation of grant-in-aid by the federal government.

They explained that the disparity in allocation was because of the classification of national schools as “government schools” and thus such schools were fully subsidised by the government.

However, they said mission schools were classified as “government-aided schools” and thus only received grants on the discretion of the ministry.

“Why is there this discrimination and disparity against mission schools?” they said.

They pointed out that grants from the ministry have consistently reduced for some schools since 2015.

They said SMK Canossian Convent Segamat in Johor received RM27,000 from the government in 2015, but only got RM20,000 in 2016.

“This year until August the government only gave RM4,000 for half year,” they said.

Currently, they said, mission schools have no say in collecting student fees.

The directive from the ministry, they said, was to channel all receivables to the parents-teachers’ association.

“The mission school boards have zero power to seek supplemental fees from students to meet the expenses or even to instruct for the same,” they said.

“With a new government elected by the people, we call upon the newly appointed minister of education to revisit the status and position of the mission schools,” they added.

They urged Putrajaya to conduct a complete study of the mission schools and hold dialogues with stakeholders to understand the challenges faced by these schools.

Related Articles New education adviser wards off attacks over old comment on Muslim prayers Maszlee: 43 education initiatives implemented during Pakatan govt’s first 100 days Sabah seeks autonomy on education from federal govt