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By Peter Sibon
SERIAN, July 27: Serian MP Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem says he will meet up with St. Teresa’s Primary School Board of Management this coming Thursday (July 30) to find the best solution to retain the name of the oldest school in the district.
“St Teresa’s School is very close to my heart, very meaningful and historic. It is to me is a heritage because to me, I spent Primary Five and Primary Six way back in 1963-64. Because of that I raised in it up in Parliament.
“I had a meeting with the PPD (district education officer) on my request this morning and they briefed me on the chronology of events.
“And after personally having conversation over the phone with the Archbishop of Kuching Archdiocese, His Grace Simon Poh, who is the owner of the land, I still hope and wish I can convince him to retain the name of school,” Riot told reporters at his service centre here today.
St Teresa Serian, which has not taken any new students due to its dilapidated conditions has 262 pupils with 26 staff. It is one of the oldest schools in Sarawak and the oldest in Serian District.
While the teachers are still attached to the school, most of the pupils, however, have been temporary placed to nearby primary schools in the district.
The school which was established in 1933 by the Mill Hill missionaries, has been synonymous with education for the people of the district and has produced many prominent leaders over the years.
Last week, Riot highlighted the matter in Parliament and hoped that the school which is now in dilapidated state will be upgraded to ensure that it will continue to provide the education needs of the local populace.
He suggested that while the upgrading works are ongoing, the school could rent private premises in Serian town
“I was informed that the school will be closed due to its dilapidated conditions and deemed unsafe to be used. I, as one of the alumni of the school do not agree with the closing of the school.
“Even if the buildings are deemed unsafe to be used, why not we rent other premises while the government build a new one? I disagree with the idea for it to be closed because it is nostalgic and very meaningful for us who are former pupils of the school. There are some premises which could be used as a temporary measure.
“As such, I want the St Teresa School to be retained and I don’t want it to be extinct,” said Riot when debating on the Royal Address in Parliament on July 22. — DayakDaily