Friday, 28 November 2014

Penang Free School (PFS) school register

I've been making some visits to the Penang Free School archives to look up some of the old materials and documents in preparation for the PFS Bicentenary book that's due out in October 2016.

Of course, while looking through the mouldy old documents, I couldn't help looking at the old school registers that recorded our entries as pupils into this school. In particular, of course, the entries of all my old school mates that had entered Penang Free School from the Remove classes in 1965 till the Upper Six classes in 1972.

Extracted out the whole list of them. All in, we were 566 names strong, of which 291 had entered Form One together in 1966. We had another 150 who joined the school in 1965 as Remove class pupils but I don't remember all of them going on to Form One because when I joined Form One, there were only seven afternoon classes. Even assuming that each class consisted of 45 pupils, that would mean only 315 pupils. Thus, it was only a handful of Remove class pupils that were promoted to Form One at the Penang Free School in 1966. So what had happened to the rest of them? Dropped out? Transferred to another school?

In 1967, four more pupils joined our batch in Form Two and in 1968, so did another four pupils for Form Three. In 1969, we were in Form Four and the school register showed that we welcomed 30 more pupils that had transferred to the Free School from various other secondary schools in the state and elsewhere.

Form Five in 1970 was our Malaysian Certificate of Education year and there were four more pupils that joined our batch. In 1971, the school received 81 pupils - now young men and young women - into our Lower Six classrooms and in 1972 when we sat for the Higher School Certificate, two more joined our Upper Six classes.

In all, as I mentioned earlier, we were 566 names strong. Unfortunately, the register did not record those who had left the school at different paths of their education.

Also, I suspect that the school clerk did not record the names of anybody who had joined the school on Day One but had left almost immediately. I know of at least one friend who did that. He entered Penang Free School on the first day of school but left on the next day as his father had registered him into a Singaporean institution. His name was missing from the school register.

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