*Dah nak kena register Eugene masuk sekolah primary one, tapi belum finalise lagi nak hantar dia kat sekolah mana, aduh...macam nie?
KUCHING: The St Joseph secondary and primary schools, among the oldest here, are going private.
It is learnt that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese had obtained the necessary licences to take back the two mission-turned-government schools.
The archdiocese had revealed its plan during a parish dinner in January.
When contacted, Kuching Archbishop John Ha refused to comment about the move.
“We have a committee working on it but you will have to wait until the ‘launch’,” he said, without going into the details of the ‘launch’.
The Archbishop is expected to formally announce the changes to the schools in late March or early April.
“It (the private schools) will start from next year onwards and the fees have already been worked out,” said a source.
He said both schools would go by the name Sekolah Menengah Swasta St Joseph and Sekolah Rendah Swasta St Joseph respectively.
When contacted, Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datin Fatimah Abdullah admitted that she was aware of the archdiocese’s plan but refused to divulge any further information.
The change in the schools’ status has become a cause for concern for parents as many students feared that the school could be closed.
However, a senior staff of the school told Star Sarawak that there was no truth to talk of the schools’ closure.
“They will continue to run as usual for now,” he said.
SMK St Joseph currently has over 1,500 students whereas SK St Joseph has 855 pupils.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Teachers’ Union president William Ghani Bina believes that change in the schools’ status would not have much effect on the teachers and students if the school’s management planned the transition well.
He added that if a government school became a private school, teachers and students would have the option to either remain with the school or be transferred to a government school.
“If the teacher wants to stay on, then he would have to resign from the government. If not, then it would be like any other transfer,” he explained.
As for the students, he said their studies would not be interrupted since all government schools used the same textbooks and teachers were trained on the same syllabus.
“The only thing they might face is familiarising with their new environment and having to make new friends,” he said. SMK St Joseph is considered to be one of the most distinguished schools in the state, having churned out several high profile individuals including Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan and former State Secretary Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Hussain.
The school which was built in 1882, also has a reputation of producing top scorers one of them include ex-national squash player June Tiong who is currently studying Chemistry at the prestigious Harvard University in the US.