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KOTA KINABALU – In an Oct 25 meeting called by Archbishop John Wong with all Principals and Guru Besar of all Mission Schools under the Archdiocese, it has, for the first time in its history, resolved to form a Committee of Principals and Guru Besar in response to the call of the Federation of Council of Christian Mission Schools (FCCMSM) who urges each Church authority to do so.
Purpose of formation of the Committee
1. To create a liaison body between the Church authority and the Education Department.
2. To provide a networking platform to help all Mission heads to produce superior performance in academic and non–academic achievements.
3. Formation of clubs and societies (Circular Mar 18, 2011) To make use of this platform to ‘put God back into the classroom’ through Catechism classes.
The historical event, which took place in the Sacred Heart Cathedral Centre, saw the Principals and Guru Besar coming together with their respective Boards for a fruitful, informative and friendly gathering and ultimately forming a committee of heads of schools, of both the primary and secondary level.
The FCCMSM, which was formed in 2010 as a result of the resolution of the conference in June 2009, was a pivotal moment for the Mission Schools in Malaysia. It brought together the three Councils of Mission Schools in Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak and West Malaysia) which then empowered FCCMSM to represent all the 438 Mission Schools in Malaysia. The unity and collective efforts of all the Councils are to be commended. This vehicle collectively enabled and paved the way for significant progress with the Education Ministry.
Over the needs and concerns of Mission Schools of special mention is Tan Sri Bernard Dompok who has has gone out of his way to bring many of the key meetings to pass at the ministerial level.
Fourteen memorandum resolutions were brought and discussed at the MOE and seven of these were fulfilled:
1. Maximum consultation for the appointment of School head by the Church authority regularized via official circular in Jan 31, 2013.
2. Federal Funding – As of 2009, all Mission Schools received annual capital funding which is directly channelled to the Board of Governors (BOG) via FCCMSM and each Mission Council facilitation.
3. Ethos, a Character of Mission Schools. The Prime Minister, Tan Sri Najib Bin Abdul Razak and his cabinet, including the Education Minister, has given an assurance at a luncheon meeting with heads of Churches on Jan 4, 2012, that the Ethos special character and traditions of Christian Mission Schools be maintained in order to preserve the identity of the Mission Schools. This booklet has been circulated to the MOE, STATE and PPD (District Department).
4. Club and societies – Circular Mar 18, 2011 regularized this; the School heads have the final authority, not the local PPD.
5. Bible Knowledge – Circular Apr 27, 2011 specified BK classes can be conducted in the school premises.
6. SPM subjects – Circular Jan 13, 2010 allowed students to take 2 additional subjects up to a maximum of 12.
7. Intake of Students – Circular Mar 18, 2011 gave Board of Governors and managers the prerogative on 10% of intake.
At the Oct 25 meeting, the Panel comprising of the Archdiocesan Education Commission (AEC) and Archbishop also highlighted on:
1. Training of prospective Principals and Guru Besar by attending NPQEL and PRIME. Teachers who wish to apply, and those who have applied before but were rejected, are encouraged to send their particulars to AEC through email: email@example.com with details –Name, School, Position, Grade, File No., I.C. No., Contact No., Rejection Letter or References, to reach the AEC office by Nov 30, 2014.
The Commission would then compile and send to the MOE before the end of the year.
2. Archdiocesan Catholic “Noble Education Service” Every 5 years the Archdiocese’s rewards and recognition program called “Noble Education Service” would nominate a well-deserving candidate who has served in the field of Education as well as contributed in active service to a parish or chapel. Nomination papers are available from the AEC office. Nominations are to be submitted by February 2015 for the committee to finalize the selection.
The meeting concluded on a promising note with two schools sharing their success stories on how they conduct Catechism classes on Fridays after academic classes for an hour. Catholic students attend these classes and related activities. It has generally been well received by students. Some parents, and even Board members, have caught on the ‘fire’ and have contributed their much needed help and support. Some parents have even been identified as those who have lapsed in their Sunday Mass attendances and noble efforts are being made to reach out to them.
The successes in these schools must provide the impetus for all schools to take up courage to ‘put God back into the schools’ in order to re-create significant trends that challenge our notions of traditional education, as well as our definition of what it means to be Catholic, both for the educators as well as for the students. – Sr Rita Chew