SJKT St Joseph’s plight highlighted AGAIN

January 21st, 2013 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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I searched my own blog and found that SJKT St Joseph was in the limelight way back in January 2011. Its been 2 years since then, and we just at the stage of  “identified land for relocation” and “waiting for decision”. Aren’t we ashamed to say such things? By now the new building should be under construction lah!

The school boasts of high achievers who had gone on to be politicians, newscasters, businesswomen etc, but their alma mater is still like this.

This school is took the best SJKT award for best UPSR results and percentage of “cemerlang A” for 2012 (refer here). In my books this is a high performing school. Nothing much given, yet able to get some good results.

I hope we don’t read about the same problem in another 2 years time!


Stuffy: The store room doubles as a library but because of the lack of space, the pupils have to take their books outside to read them.

Stuffy: The store room doubles as a library but because of the lack of space, the pupils have to take their books outside to read them.

THE Tamil primary girls school in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur may be sitting on prime land in the bustling new township with modern facilities, but there is nothing modern or new about the school which still stands on wooden stilts.

Old, rickety and leaking, the 89-year-old SJK(T) St Joseph, like the proverbial grandfather’s clock, is still ticking, but barely. And parents are pleading for a new building with proper facilities for their children.

Built in 1924, the school does not have a canteen, field, library, science lab or computer room.

Termite-infested: The original facade of the 89-year-old school sits on stilts until today.
Termite-infested: The original facade of the 89-year-old school sits on stilts until today.

Its pupils sit under trees to eat their lunch and have been using the roadside for sports activities for the past nine decades.

What’s worse, matters have come to a head now because the owner of the land has told the school authorities to relocate.

“We are in limbo,” said the school’s parent-teacher association (PTA) chairman Alice Fatimah.

“The land belongs to the St Joseph’s church and they had allowed us to stay here all this time.

“Now, we have been told to move. We have been asking the government for a new site but nothing has happened,’’ said the 42-year-old.

The situation has made the school’s predicament worse as it is unable to even upgrade its faciltiesnow.

“We received some funds from the Education Ministry last year to repair the leaking roof and termite-infested building, but we do not know what to do now,” she said.

PTA deputy chairman Kobi Subramaniam said there was also talk that the school may be shut down for safety reasons.

“This has led to a drop in enrolment. We used to get 190 pupils per new intake but now, the number has dropped to 135,”’ he said.

Former student Parameswary Thanapal, 48, said she was disappointed that her daughter, Sanjena Kumari, nine, was suffering the same fate she did almost 40 years ago.

“There were no basic facilities then, no canteen, library or a proper toilet during the 1970s when I was schooling here. To see my daughter having to go through the same situation is just not right.’’

Sharing Parameswary’s sentiments is Vijaya Letchumi, 53, whose daughter had studied at SJK(T) St Joseph and now, her granddaughter is a pupil at the school.

“It breaks my heart that my daughter had to suffer such discomfort just to get an education and now, it’s my granddaughter. Things must change,’’ she said.

A check by StarMetro showed that the school is in a dilapidated state, with leaking roof and toilets.

The stilts that hold up the structure are termite-infested.

An old steel cabinet is the “Kedai Buku’’, while a storeroom has been turned into a mini library.

“As you can see, there is hardly space for the pupils to read here. They have to take the books outside and find a place to read them,’’ said Alice, adding that as there was no science lab, experiments were conducted in a classroom, posing danger to the children.

The school also does not have a computer room and the teachers staff room is cramped.

Despite these problems, school headmistress B. Valarmathi said the pupils were doing well in their examinations.

“We have produced high-achievers,” she said proudly, adding that some had even become politicians, newscasters and businesswomen.

“We have been judged as the best Tamil school in terms of academic results for several years in a row now,’’ she said.

“Imagine what these girls can achieve with better facilities.’’

The partially-aided school has five classrooms, 135 pupils and 15 teachers.

Meanwhile, Deputy Federal Terri-tories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk M. Saravanan said the government had identified a three-acre land near the Batu People’s Housing Scheme (PPR) in Kuala Lumpur to relocate the school.

He said the land belonging to the Education Ministry would be ideal for the school and could also accommodate a football field..

“We are waiting for a decision and hopefully, it will be positive,” he said.