Boarding schools getting popular - Abdullah Ahmad

10 Aug 1996

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I must declare my inclination, however.

I also want to say that the residential system is good for Malaysians because they have more to offer young Malaysians and their parents, such as understanding and esprit de corp which transcend racial barriers. One need only to look at the Royal Military College in Sungai Besi.

In a boarding school such as the MCKK, the Dato' Razak school in Seremban and the Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Ipoh, education is offered within a harmonious community and an environment where leadership sportsmanship and good learning are prized as highly as in all good schools.

I need to stress that the only difference between a boarding school and a day school is that there is a greater opportunity in a boarding environment for the development of a strong sense of values, leadership and coping with the challenges in life.

Of course, nowadays people tend to mock leadership and the inculcation of values, but parents should seek to uphold these qualities which are very important for us from traditional families.

Some Malaysians are fond of drawing attention to the fact that the number of prominent people in politics, civil service and the corporate world come from certain s chools such as the MCKK, Penang Free School (PFS), St John's institution, Victoria institution (VI), Sultan Abdul Hamid College and Chung Ling.

Whatever these people want to insinuate I just want to say this: Doesn't it also occur to them that the MCKK, Chung Ling, and VI have taught their students well to cope with the leadership and responsibility thrust upon them?

Pupils in boarding schools and premier schools are usually equipped with the dynamics to cope with changing situations and, more importantly, they have the capacity to take responsibility and the ambition to do so.

In boarding schools, students are encouraged or should be encouraged to possess an all-rounded personality. By this, I mean combining the richness of knowledge, arts, music, drama and sporting activities. They should be allowed to flourish to acquire sophistication and intellectualism.

I believe that, at the end of the day, an employer, whether the government or the private sector, will look not just for paper qualifications when seeking to appoint people to positions which bear great responsibility.

As long as boarding schools maintain their outstanding reputation they will continue to receive the support of discriminating parents whether they are Malaysians or British.

The MCKK Tuanku Kursiah, Royal Military College, Chung Ling, VI, Penang Free School and several other schools, despite lean times and restrictions, still offer a sound and good education. There is more in these schools than you think.

It is true and, like those schools, there is more in you than you think. It is entirely up to you what you make of yourself.

Dato' Abdullah Ahmad is Malaysia's Special Envoy to the
United Nations

(This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Sun )