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End of the road for two Penang girls’ schools, one of them perhaps country’s oldest

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.


Both SMK Convent Light Street and SK Convent Light Street, established since 1852, will be closed as the schools stop taking in students from 2018. ― Picture by KE Ooi

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.

image: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/uploads/articles/2017/2017-11/convent_pulau_tikus_0311.jpg

Convent Pulau Tikus is facing closure in four years time. ― Picture by KE OoiConvent Pulau Tikus is facing closure in four years time. ― Picture by KE Ooi

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.

image: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/uploads/articles/2017/2017-11/convent_pulau_tikus0211.jpg

The old Convent Pulau Tikus back in the 1920s. ― Picture courtesy of Marcus LangdonThe old Convent Pulau Tikus back in the 1920s. ― Picture courtesy of Marcus Langdon

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.



Convent schools no longer taking in students, Penang Education Department confirms


Shaari said other schools have been allocated for students moving up to Form One next year from both SK Convent Pulau Tikus and SK Convent Light Street. ― Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 3 ― Penang Education Department Director Shaari Osman today confirmed they have stopped student intakes for SMK Convent Pulau Tikus (CPT), SK Convent Light Street and SMK Convent Light Street (CLS) for the school year starting 2018.


He said the department has already allocated other schools for students moving up to Form One next year from both SK Convent Pulau Tikus and SK Convent Light Street.

The department has also stopped intake of Year One students for SK CLS from next year onwards.

“Penang has a lot of schools in close vicinity of each other so we will not have problems placing the students in other schools,” he told the Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

When asked if the schools will be closed by 2022, Shaari said he could not confirm the closure yet.

“There is no confirmation on this yet,” he said.

The education department recently issued letters to the schools instructing them to stop intake of students for Form One and Year One (SK CLS).

image: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/uploads/articles/2017/2017-11/convent_light_street0211b.jpg

An old picture of orphans playing at Convent Light Street circa 1920s. ― Picture courtesy of Marcus LangdonAn old picture of orphans playing at Convent Light Street circa 1920s. ― Picture courtesy of Marcus Langdon

According to the letter, the landowner of the school lands, Sisters of the Infant Jesus, are taking back the lands.

Yesterday, Pulau Tikus assemblyman Yap Soo Huey confirmed the matter, but said she did not know what the Sisters had planned for the lands.

CLS is believed to be the oldest missionary girls school in the country.

It was established on April 12, 1852 by the Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus Mission and the school was once an orphanage and later a boarding school for girls from wealthy families.

Back in 2005, the school launched a heritage trail within the school grounds as it comprised several blocks of heritage buildings including the former Government House.

Amongst the historical relics that still remain within the school compound are the Francis Light’s well, the Beeham Combe Hill Bell and handwritten messages on some of the walls of the classrooms by prisoners of war during the Japanese Occupation.

CPT was established by Reverend Mother Saint Hermine in 1922 as the Sekolah Convent Infant Jesus.

It was originally located at the grounds where the current SK CPT is located before a new building was built for SMK Convent Pulau Tikus in 1950.

The Sisters of the Infant Jesus no longer owns the SK CPT land so the primary school is not affected.

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