GEORGE TOWN, Nov 3 ― Two former missionary schools for girls ― Convent Light Street (CLS) and Convent Pulau Tikus (CPT) ― in Penang are headed for closure as both schools will start phasing out student intake from 2018 onwards.
Both schools have stopped taking in students for Form One in both secondary schools and Year One for the Convent Light Street primary school.
A state education department letter addressed to Convent Light Street, both primary and secondary, and the Convent Pulau Tikus secondary school, directed them to start phasing out student intake.
Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey, who is also a CPT alumni, confirmed that the owner of the school lands, Sisters of the Infant Jesus, is taking them back.
“As far as I know, the sisters are taking back their land, so they won’t be taking on new students [for Form 1 and Standard 1],” she said.
She said the schools affected are SK Convent Light Street, SMK Convent Light Street and SMK Convent Pulau Tikus.
“SK Convent Pulau Tikus is not affected because the land no longer belongs to the sisters,” she said.
She added that the Sisters of the Infant Jesus did not share its plans on what it intended to do with the lands it is taking back.
“I'll be writing a letter to them and hopefully be given the opportunity to express my sentiments as an alumni which I'm sure is shared by many other alumni,” she said.
She said many CLS and CPT students have become valuable members of the community and the alumni of these schools will want to know what will happen to these schools.
“Together with other great schools in Penang, CLS and CPT are also instrumental to bringing Penang to where it is today.
“I'm sure many of our former students are making Penang and Malaysia proud every day, whether locally or overseas,” she said.
Both schools are expected to be fully closed and the lands returned to the Sisters of the Infant Jesus in four years’ time.
CLS is believed to be the oldest missionary school for girls in the country as it was established on April 12, 1852 by the Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus Mission.
At that time, the school was an orphanage with a baby hatch at the front entrance so unwanted babies could be safely placed there. It also used to be a boarding school for girls from wealthy families.
The Holy Infant Jesus Mission bought Government House along with its expansive lands in 1859 where the founder of the British colony in Penang, Francis Light, had lived when he arrived in George Town.
The historical Francis Light’s well within the school compound was dug for the colonial official’s use and still remains on the school grounds till today.
CPT was established by Reverend Mother Saint Hermine in 1922 as the Sekolah Convent Infant Jesus.
It was originally located where the current SK CPT is located before a new building was built for SMK Convent Pulau Tikus in 1950.