130-year-old Penang school may close

GEORGE TOWN - The historical Pykett Methodist School, which was founded as part of the Methodist Boys' School or the Anglo-Chinese School here in 1891, is heading for closure.

Some parents are aghast that the missionary school with a rich history has stopped enrolment for Year One pupils from next year.

Book contractor Mohamad Amin Abdul Kadir, 35, said he applied to enrol his youngest son at the school now known as SK Pykett Methodist early this year but was told last month to send him to another school.

"I registered him at the school early this year but a week before the school break, they gave me several other options," he said.

Mohamad Amin added that he then enrolled his son at SK Wellesley.

"I am really disappointed because I have another son studying in SK Pykett. My youngest son was actually looking forward to joining his brother," he said yesterday.

It is understood that the landowner wants to take back the land on which the school stands.

The state Education Department issued a letter dated Nov 12 to the school, stating that a dispersal would take place in phases from 2015 to 2020. Students who are currently at the school will not be affected.

Another parent, who declined to be named, said she had transferred her older son to his younger brother's school so they could study together.

"I'm truly disappointed," she said.

Retiree S. Murali, 43, said he was saddened that the school would be phased out. "This school has been there for so long," he said.

Attempts to contact the church for comments were futile.

Meanwhile, state education director Datuk Osman Hussain said new students had been channelled to nearby schools.

"We are in the midst of looking for a new location for the school," he said.

The primary school was founded as part of the Anglo-Chinese School Penang of Methodist Boys School founded by Reverend B. H. Balderstone in 1891.

Reverend G.F. Pykett took over from Balderstone in 1892 and the school was housed in three shophouses in Carnarvon Street.

The pupils were moved to a building in Chulia Street in 1920, before the school was relocated to Suffolk House in 1945.

The school was renamed Pykett Methodist School and relocated to its current location in Westland Road in 1957.

Its former headmasters included D.S. Ramanathan, the first mayor of George Town and founding member as well as the first chairman of the Pan Malayan Labour Party.