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Joint working committee formed to deliberate on MoU between Education Ministry and Mission Authorities

KUALA LUMPUR  – The Memoradum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Education Malaysia and Mission Authorities on Cooperation in Education has yet to be formalised.

During the meeting on 10 April 2017 between the representatives of Mission Authorities and the representatives from the Ministry of Education Malaysia, it was decided to form a joint working committee to deliberate on the MoU based on the verbal agreement made between the government and mission authorities in 1971.

Present at the event were the heads of Mission Authorities from the Churches including the representatives from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, and Minister of Education YB Dato’ Seri Mahdzir, who was accompanied by YB Datuk Paul Low, and other representatives from MOE.

Archbishop Julian Leow of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, in his introduction, explained that the reason for the Mission Authorities to be present for the meeting was an expression of their concern of the current state of affairs in the Mission Schools today.

One such concern was the maximum consultation between the Government and the Church regarding the appointment of School Heads.  Another concern was regarding the sanctity of ownership of church lands and buildings used by government-aided schools, for which a written document in print is to be formalised.

Other areas of concern touched on federal grants, maintenance and refurbishment of the schools, enrolments of students, fundraising projects by schools, the academic management of schools, the need for a liaison officer from the MOE, etc.

Archbishop Leow clarified that the formation and establishment of the FCCMSM in 2009, which was consented to by the Prime Minister, was to look after the interests of Mission Schools and to act as a liaison between the Mission Schools and the Government.

The objective of the MoU is a desire of the Mission Authorities to continue to work in partnership with the Government in providing affordable, accessible education of children of all racial, religious, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.

Formalising and documenting the arrangements reached between the parties would go a long way to addressing the recurring issues and problems faced by both the Government and the Mission Authorities.   It would also enhance cooperation in education efforts to meet the changing needs of the nation.

It also sets out the understanding of the Mission Authorities and the Government on the position of mission schools within the national system of education.

It defines the relationship between the Mission Authorities as owners of the school land and building, and the Government which runs the schools, in particular, the sanctity of land ownership and the rights of owners, the preservation of the character and ethos of the mission schools, and the renewal of leases and other relational matters.

Archbishop John Wong was represented by Franciscan Sister Rita Chew at the meeting. – CS

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