So as our Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the education minister, announced the 20 Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi (High Performance Schools) yesterday, I can't help but to feel shocked and sad at the same time, upon knowing my former school, Sekolah Tuanku Abd Rahman wasn't on the list.
It took me some times to digest that information and to bitterly swallow the truth, that our school is no longer perceived as one of the top schools in Malaysia. Sheer disappointment, indeed.
So here's the list:
10 Sekolah Berasrama Penuh (fully residential schools), and the rest are day schools. Reading up the list, our most bitter rival, MCKK is there. So are our fellow premier school brothers, SDAR and SAS. Not forgetting our favourite all-girl schools, TKC, STF and SSP. Inclusive of our school, these 7 schools share special bonds as the single-gender fully residential schools, with students are chosen from the best UPSR and PMR achievers from all around Malaysia.
Not to belittle the rest of the SBP schools, namely MOZAC, and SMSAH, but as I mentioned before, we share the same special bonding of being the single gender fully residential schools, and being the only school missing from the list, is surely not a good feeling.
As mentioned by Muhyiddin, these schools:
- have attained outstanding academic achievements
- created distinctive personalities
- won national and international awards
- formed relationships with institutions of higher learning
- had a strong bond with communities
- solid network with local and international schools
- were a benchmark for other institutions inside and outside the country
And the perks?
- each school will be allocated RM1 million annually.
- given free rein as to how to spend the money
- have the autonomy to innovate and improve the quality of their students
- will also be free to allow bright students skip a grade
- have flexibility in organising and managing their curriculum
- allow them to hire staff based on performance, not seniority and pay/reward them based on performance
- principals will be able to transfer out non-performing teachers and assign staff roles based on academic and non-academic functions
Even though I can take comfort with the facts that they are increasing the numbers to 30 next year, and 50 the year after, I still hope this will be a wake-up call to the teachers and staff of my beloved school, as it's time for us to examine what went wrong and it's time for us, the Old Boys to offer whatever assistance we have on our shelves.
And oh, congratulations to all the winners. :)
''Rouse up young Starians all"