Historic school in Malaysia to shut down in 2019

GEORGE TOWN - Classes will be over at the 124-year-old SK Pykett Methodist school once its final term ends in 2019.

Studies at the historic school will continue until the current batch of Year Two pupils complete their primary education. The intake for Year One pupils was stopped this year.

Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia Dr Ong Hwai Teik said its education council had been in talks with the Education Ministry to phase out the school since 2010.

"It was finally decided by the authorities that SK Pykett Methodist Penang will be phased out gradually within the time frame of five years (2015-2020).

SK Pykett Methodist was founded as part of the Anglo-Chinese School Penang of Methodist Boys School by Reverend B. H. Balderstone.

The school's enrolment, said Dr Ong, had been dwindling over the years.

"This is a phenomenon that seems to affect schools located within the inner city - not only in Penang but in other urban centres in the country," he said in a statement here yesterday.

The council, said Dr Ong, was also aware of the aspirations under the National Education Blueprint, which sought to maximise the use of human and financial resources.

"We believe that the decision by the ministry to phase out the school is in line with such considerations," he said.

However, Dr Ong gave an assurance that the phasing out of SK Pykett Methodist would not diminish the church's commitment to its education mission, especially in Penang.

"The Methodist Church has and will continue to contribute to the field of education.

"This has been our mission for more than a century and SK Pykett Methodist, set up in 1891, is a good example.

"But times are changing and we will have to adjust our strategy and make new plans to continue with our mission," he said.

The future of the school's site at Westland Road, said Dr Ong, would be made by the relevant authorities.

"We have not reached that stage yet," he said of the land that is owned by the church.

It was earlier reported that several parents were shocked and disappointed that the school was being phased out.